Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy My-Birthday To YOU

We have an interesting ritual here at work. When it's your birthday, you buy a bunch of candy (lollies), cookies (biscuits) and other snacks and you put them on a table in the common area of the office. After that, you send an "It's My Birthday, Snacks At The Regular Place" email to the whole company who then stampedes over and loots the table of goodies. If they pass by you, they'll wish you Happy Birthday. Maybe they'll send you a "thanks" email too.

My first impression was that this seemed incredibly backwards and very odd.

Then it was explained to me like this: "If everyone bought someone candy on their birthday, they'd have too much candy and it'd be too big of an expense for everyone to constantly be buying candy for everyone all year long. Plus most people wouldn't remember your birthday, anyways. If you buy it for everyone on your own birthday, then over the course of a year it all evens out."

It kind of makes sense!

I'm wondering if this provides a keen insight into the Kiwi mentality, or if it's just one policy at one company and reflects the utilitarian philosophy of a specific group of people.

I like the policy, though. It downplays the individual in favor of the group while still offering recognition and celebration of a happy event (survival of life's dangers and miseries for yet another year.)

It's the notion "what goes around comes around" in a very real and tangible form.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. When I was in the work world that's the way we always did it too. Didn't the birthday person bring the treats on their own birthday in your U.S. employment experiences?

Jacob said...

Sounds very hobbit-like to me.