B.Y.O.B. at The Barn

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Most companies I've worked for have had some customary way of celebrating birthdays. Typically people kick in a buck or two and someone buys a cake or balloons. If it's a big company or department, maybe there's enough money for donuts or bagels. About four years ago, the IT department where I work instituted new policy: B. Y. O. B. (Bring Your Own Bagels)

It doesn't have to be bagels, of course. It could be bagels or donuts or cake or coffee or fruit salad or whatever you want to bring. It could be nothing at all, but if that's your style, you probably shouldn't eat a bagel on everyone else's birthday. Some people make cookies or cake, but most people buy stuff to bring. Parties have been as small as a box of munchkins and as big as dozens of bagels with lox, cream cheese, butter, coffee, donuts, fruit, and various juices. 

The "bring-your-own" idea serves two good purposes. First, it allows each person to decide how big of a deal they want their birthday to be. Some people don't like to be the center of attention or don't like to recognize the passage of time. Others love it. Second, it makes sure nobody gets forgotten or ignored. Everyone remembers their own birthday.

It started small, at the helpdesk, but now it has nearly reached full departmental adoption. Try it at your job. It's easy to start - just bring breakfast on your next birthday. I'm thinking of hiring an omelette chef next year.

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