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How to Throw an Awesome Office Birthday Party

How to Throw an Awesome Office Birthday Party

Vicki Santillano | Divine Caroline

My first glimpse of an office birthday party was via the movie Office Space, when the corporate drones stand awkwardly around the cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to their boss in monotone voices.

Flash forward seven years: the first company I worked for as a recent college grad had its monthly birthday celebration, and I had an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. There wasn’t anyone named Milton complaining about a lack of cake, but the fumbling attempts at small talk and the clumsy passing around of sheet-cake slices were one and the same.

Why is it that, wherever you work, office birthday gatherings have the same atmosphere of awkwardness? We see these people every day, and yet the situation feels different when we’re holding small paper plates and plastic forks. Is it the guilt that eating all that sugar and butter provokes? Is it because the personal quality of birthdays feels odd in a professional environment? Regardless of the whys, I think there are ways around the awkwardness—if you’re willing to break a few office birthday party rules, that is.

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