ExpectationsPosted: November 5, 2010
I have reached and passed the milestone called “Forty” whilst travelling a roller-coaster of varying emotions mainly due to me having unrealistic expectations and of course there’s nothing like a little health crisis to shake one’s feelings all around.
I was back at work by halfway through the week of my birthday even though I was still on anti-inflammatory medication and wasn’t supposed to be doing any “heavy lifting”. This meant that even though we were in preparation mode for a major event at work, that I had to be very selective about which tasks I took on. I was doing some “mental heavy lifting” though because at that time, even though I didn’t realise it I was carrying a large load of expectations about celebrating birthdays in the workplace. Having worked in the education system for many years I had always previously been in the situation that no matter what day your birthday fell on, you turned up for work and in most school settings one’s birthday would be celebrated with colleagues to some extent. You had to be there if it was a week day and working in the Catholic culture with a good dose of “pastoral care” thrown in usually meant that there would be a cake at morning tea, perhaps and announcement made and some sort of recognition. If it happened to be one of those “zero” birthdays and especially if you had worked at the same place with the same people, for many years you could multiply the possibilities.
Suffice it to say that in the public service, and I’m sure in many other occupations, the situation is entirely different. Many people arrange to not be at work on their birthdays and if they are, their work doesn’t take up so much of their life that they feel the need to celebrate anything with their colleagues. In some places there are indeed ways of recognizing such events but if someone has only been with an organisation for a short time there should be no expectations.
Then there is much less risk, of disappointment, tears and making a total and complete fool of oneself in front of one’s colleagues. My birthday ended in tears and I ddi the best the wipe it from my memory banks. The bits I’d like to remember are the beautiful Pandora bracelet from my family and a beautiful floral arrangement delivered to my workplace from some very dear friends.