The humble birthday cake is touted as the low cost option to recognise and motivate employees. Nothing tells an employee how unique and special they are to an organisation than the monthly birthday party where the diabetic, celiac sufferer, vegan and chocoholic share the same birthday ‘treat’.

On the probablility that your firm beats the odds of having no over-lapping birthdays and splurges for an individual cake, it becomes a passive aggressive opportunity for management to inform the employee how valued they are in relation to their collegues. The $5.98 mud cake from Woolworths compared to the $30 Torte from the Cheesecake Shop speaks volumes . Its the sacharrine 360 degree peer review.

Let us not forget the birthday card. Apart from the complete violation of privacy that the general broadcast of your birthday represents do you really need half a dozen or so handwriting specimens of ‘Happy Birthday’?’ No, didn’t think so.

Whether your cake has real cream or not is a predicator of how the performance review will go. Happy Birthday, dear cubicle slave, Happy Birthday and may your cake have real cream.*

*On the assumption there are no dietary restrictions!