Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This feels awkward to me.

An email from the secretary at my job:
Dear (my name),

it's your birthday again next week - so what would you like for a birthday present? Everything is possible worth € 10,00. It may be a voucher also.


(the secretary)

Is this not a bit awkward? I even feel a little funny if family members ask me what I want!
One thing I am sure it means is that I will not get out of bringing cake in to the office.


  1. It seems a bit odd, to me, that she would announce her intentions so boldly.

    And so inexpensively.

  2. :-)

    But hey, everything is possible!

    No, there's no real way to get out of bringing in a cake. Although back in my office days it was often breakfast instead of cake, i.e. Brötchen für everybody with a platter of cold cuts, cheese, jam, etc. But if your colleages have brought in cake then you should, too.

    Happy early birthday :-) I could *never ever* get away with saying that to a German!

  3. Could you ask her to use it to buy the cake?

    When clients make noises about my bday, I sing Datenschutz. If they're very loud, on a random date I bring cookies to whatever department management kicks around.

    That took care of work things. I'd never understood why my xMIL kept harping on me to celebrate my b-day. Turns out she'd expected me to host an open house. My bday falls when the xPILs usually have lots of houseguests, and b/c she'd been blown away by the reception my parents threw for us, she presumed I'd do bdays big.

    Thanks for letting me vent! And good luck on getting someone else to make your cake.

  4. How about cash? No shopping required, lol ;-) (Jeesh, if you were only spending 10 bucks, would you tell the recipient???)

  5. Ha, ha, that's a funny note. I also like the wording "it's your birthday AGAIN next week", as though she's tired of birthdays or something.

    Take the cashiola... reply to a bold note with an equally bold request. And bring pumpkin pie - Germans for the most part don't like it. So you can have your cake... well you know the rest.

    Happy birthday!

  6. That is a cool letter. The epitomy of German efficiency. They have a knack for thinking of every little detail. It does make life simpler on the actual day of the B-day.

    Considering budget cuts, global economy, etc. it's nice that the company does something at all.

    Definitely get the cash though.

  7. Adam: Well, at least she was clear about it, I guess!

    Martina: I was hoping no one would find out my birthday at all...but the secretary was right on it!

    Molly: I thought of that - please bring in cake instead of giving me 10 EUR! I think that's what the gift is intended to do anyway - defray the cost of bringing in cake. I don't think it would fly, though.

    Naechste: Yup...as above, I think it's really more of a cake-cost defrayal than a gift. And it's from the department money, not something passed around for everyone to chip in. More than my department in Boston gave us! (nothing!)

    Debbie: I don't think cash is an option but I will probably go for a certificate somewhere. To pay for a small slice of something.

    Bad Homburg: Even funnier is that I wasn't even working there yet on my birthday last year...so for mine, there is no AGAIN!

    Gardner: Yeah...as I mentioned above, it's more than my last employer gave. They didn't give Christmas bonuses there either. So I'm still better off :)

  8. I also agree that it's a bit odd for her to be so bold and ask like that.

    As far as the cake thing goes, I just tell them that I'm American and that rule doesn't apply to me. It works.


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