It’s Her Party — she can cry if she wants to

Elle writes:

This might not be catty and more of a “post secret” type thing, but here goes. We always have a little ceremony when people reach certain employment milestones with my company. My 5-year work anniversary was July 16th and no one has said anything to me, despite my dropping hints to 3 people. My feelings are hurt and sometimes I feel like the red-headed stepchild (sorry, no offense) up in this place.

Elle-

Having gone through something very similar myself, I totally feel your pain! You are absolutely not being catty. Unless your hints have been more like, “Hey Robin, remember that time I threw you a party when you finally got your GED after 5 years of going to school online?” I feel like your feelings of what about me are absolutely normal and completely founded, and even though non-catty, I wanted to respond.

My first instinct is to ask you who is in charge of planning these anniversary parties? Do you normally organize them for your department, or is it someone else? Maybe the team has dropped the ball because they are each expecting someone else to take care of it?

I’ve been in a similar situation myself where I kept up with birthday and milestone celebrations for my group at work. When it came time to celebrate our supervisor’s impending grad school graduation, a fellow co-worker asked to take the lead. Always overly busy, I was more than happy to let her plan everything. However, she seemed to forget that I had completed my degree the month before. I felt completely invisible. I should have been one of the honored guests and not one of the ones donating to the boss’s graduation gift, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. And since I didn’t have the guts to speak up, I felt like my only option was to let it go. And maybe pout a little. Okay, a lot – but only to my parents and friends outside of work.

If someone in management is responsible for throwing these celebrations, perhaps you could ask your supervisor if the company has changed their policy on celebrating anniversaries. At the organization level, my job recognizes milestone employees once annually with a large reception and a gift based on tenure. Maybe your company started planning them quarterly rather than individually to conserve funds? Hopefully just posing the question this way will make your supervisor realize your party was overlooked and that will fix everything.

But if the lightbulb doesn’t go off and you find there’s been no change, and it is that important to you to have a recognition of your company and coworkers, flat out ask if you can coordinate your own party. If there is anyone else with a milestone, mention celebrating them as well. Maybe this action will be the eye-opener and someone will say, “Dont be silly! I will take care of it.”

If neither of these options seem viable – similar to my situation – just let it be. You can bury it inside to occassionally remember that time so-and-so really made you feel snubbed, but quickly move your focus to something more positive. Be sad, be annoyed, be angry – then move on.

Invite your closest friends over after work for some wine and cupcakes. Be around people who appreciate you, and want to celebrate your successes and achievements. Try not to let the disregard of your work colleagues get you down too much. Life is too short to focus on the negative, and wine tastes so much better when consumed with friends.

photo credit: http://delacasa.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/red-wine-cupcakes/

To be honest, I let my experience get to me so much that I started looking for a different group of co-workers. Much easier said than done, we should truly only focus our energies on the things we can control. I realized I couldn’t control what happened with the graduation party, but I could control how I responded to the situation and (to an extent) where I worked within my company. I actually requested a transfer and ended up in a department where things aren’t celebrated and we aren’t as close. While not my original preference, it has turned out to be a trade off that has actually made me happier. No parties for me to coordinate and no feelings to get hurt when someone didn’t take over to celebrate my birthday, promotion, etc.

Sometimes all we need is a good venting to get it out of our system. Cry, scream, throw things – whatever you need. But I think celebrating yourself in your own way sounds like a better way to spend a weekend. Let me know if you want to invite me to the wine and cupcake thing – I will celebrate you like nobody’s business!

Good luck!

And keep us posted,

~Rebecca
AIBC Team Member
‘ZenKitty2’

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