Baker resents being de facto office caterer
Dear Miss Manners: I made a birthday cake for a co-worker who is also a friend outside of work.
Our office has a friendly atmosphere, and this is not unusual. She, in turn, shared that cake with our other co-workers, as she is a giving and outgoing individual.
Shortly after that, another co-worker announced that her birthday was the next day, and that she wanted me to make the same cake for her.
I was taken aback, but, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, I agreed.
Now it seems that I have become the office baker.
Without protesting that my budget does not support everyone’s “special” day, nor do my time limits, how do I politely rebuff this trend?
The audacity to make such demands on your co-workers without consideration puts me off and I am left stuttering.
I’d like to add that at the time I presented the second co-worker with her cake as demanded, I also attached a recipe card. This subtle hint apparently went unheeded, as I have had several of these women state quite blatantly that they do not bake.
What is a polite but firm response for next time?
Gentle Reader: Try shifting the blame to a higher authority. Tell your boss that the team has expressed a desire to celebrate birthdays in the office, but that you simply do not have the time and resources to supply all of the catering.
Perhaps there can be a company-funded party committee where everyone takes turns — including your boss, so that she does not miss out on the fun.
She will either facilitate its forming or, more likely, reject the idea entirely as not the best use of company resources.
At which point, Miss Manners recommends that you celebrate with your co-workers-who-arealso-friends safely outside of work.