My company gave me a birthday card today.

Normally I enjoy getting birthday cards because it’s a sign that someone thought of me and took the time an effort to find a card and put it in an envelope and deliver it to me. This card didn’t inspire those feelings for a number of reasons.

First and foremost it was given to me a full 8 days ahead of my actual birthday. Today is August 17th and my birthday is August 25. If the reps didn’t come around but once every couple of weeks I could understand it being so early, but there are company reps on site all day every day so there’s really no reason to deliver it so early other than they aren’t really paying attention to when my birthday is, which shows that it was less a thought on their part and more of a this-popped-up-on-my-monthly-to-do-list.

Secondly the card is pretty much an advertisement for the company itself. The front is decent enough with a picture of a cupcake with a birthday candle in it. All in shades of blue, which is the officially company color, and the words “happy birthday” printed on it. The inside is blank other than the company name/logo in the lower right hand corner. If not for the attempt at personalizing it by the staff it would just say “company name” inside it as though I needed reminding of what company I worked for.

The personalization itself is the sort of generic thing you write—we hope you have a great day—for someone you know nothing about, which is the case here as the reps don’t interact with us techs often enough to know more than our names. Which makes it feel more like a perfunctory exercise more than anything else. The sort of thing you do because you think you’re expected to do it and not because you actually give a shit.

The back of the card again carries the company name/logo along with a listing of the various services they provide (staffing, professionals, etc.). It’s there so that if I should happen to stand the card upright on my desk the little ad pushing the company’s services will be visible to any who approach my work space. Though you’d have to bend down and squint to read the tiny listing of services.

It’s probably yet another sign of my cynicism that the card has the opposite effect on me than what they were probably hoping for. It was supposed to be a nice little acknowledgement that I managed to keep breathing through another calendar year and a small sign that the company cares. From where I’m standing it’s a perfect example of how the company doesn’t know a thing about me and doesn’t really care yet still feels the need to waste paper in an attempt to give me a warm fuzzy. I would’ve felt better if they hadn’t bothered trying in the first place.

A couple of weeks back on Twitter I mentioned the company’s attempts at attaboys that I thought were ridiculous. It was a sheet of paper with a simple block design on it in the company’s colors with the company name/logo prominently displayed on it that said “Good to Know You!” Um… OK. Not “Good Job” or “Excellent Work” or “That’s Some Right Fine Laboring You’ve Been Doing!” No, it said “Good to Know You!” It was like they had the ghost of Mr. Rogers design their attaboy.

That sort of thing just irritates me. All it takes to let me know I’m appreciated is popping your head in the door and saying “You’re doing a good job, keep it up.” If you really feel the need to do more than that then take me out to lunch or give me a few bucks on a gift certificate. Or, best of all, a raise. Popping out a preprinted attaboy with an inanely generic message and the company logo all over like it’s more advertisement than recognition will just kick up my cynical side and make me write bitchy blog posts.

8 thoughts on “My company gave me a birthday card today.

  1. Well what do you expect, look at your title of your blog. smile Just kidding.

    I used to get cards for EVERY occasion from my mom and sisters’ church, I guess they found out I’m an atheist because I don’t get them any more.
    I have a pet peeve of my own. Forwarded e-mails. (mass)I get multiple e-mails of the same thing. Sucks.
    Oh, and Happy Birthday if I don’t visit here on the actual day. *snort* I won’t say, “have a great day!” because I don’t know you from Adam! smile

  2. Forwarded emails is a pet peeve of mine as well. There’s several blog posts in the archives recounting how I pissed off some extended relative by hitting Reply All and debunking the bullshit claims/stories therein. I don’t get many forwarded emails these days as a result.

  3. The first time I got a birthday card from my job I thought it was really cool until I opened up. It said Happy Birthday…. don’t forget to get your yearly TB test done this month!  :-{

  4. Those robo-cards are rather patronizing. I’ve received more than a few from employers over the years. Don’t take it too personally…it’s just marketing.

    I do agree that some genuine kudos from a higher-up once in a while would go a lot farther toward boosting one’s work attitude. Never mind my birthday, just tell me how I’m doing.

  5. It’s the fact that I recognize it as “just marketing” that pisses me off about it.

    Though in all fairness they did hand out cupcakes to everyone today. With little toy rings on them in the shape of Transformers, Dora the Explorer, or Finding Nemo-ish fish.

    And again the feeling of being back in kindergarten came flooding back.

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