Imagine for a moment that you’re a personal assistant, and further, that you share the same birthday as your boss.
You’re totally excited for your boss’s birthday. They’re a wonderful person. They pay you well. They even give you your joint birthday off.
But every year in the days and weeks leading up to your birthday, every call, every office visit, every delivery comes with someone saying “Tell your boss Happy Birthday!” There’s nothing wrong with it, though after a few years of it, you do feel a bit invisible.
So you decide, hey, it won’t hurt, so when people say “tell your boss Happy Birthday,” you good-naturedly respond. “Of course I will. It’s my birthday, too!”
Some people say happy birthday back to you.
But then you get that person who snipes back, “I’m RSVP-ing to your boss’s party, not yours. What, am I supposed to go to a birthday party for you, too, at the same time?”
And you calmly tell them, “Well, no. You should go to the party for the person you’re celebrating.”
“Do you hate your boss?”
“No, they’re great.”
“But you need me to wish you a happy birthday, instead.”
“No. I don’t want to take away. I just figured, in addition, since we were in a celebrating mood–”
“Why does this have to be about you?”
“That’s not what I meant at all.”
“Tell. Your. Boss. Happy. Birthday.” And they hang up.
You mention this to your boss, who brushes it off. “Honestly, you should just assume that anyone wishing a happy birthday is wishing it to both of us.”
“Even when they say it’s just for you?”
“Totally. That’s what I do.”
“Do people tell you to wish me a happy birthday a lot?”
After this, there are people who remember, who say “Happy Birthday to you both,” which is not only just as easy to say, it’s a little breath of fresh air in the flurry of the other people. But when people only wish your boss the happy birthday, you know, thanks to your boss, that it’s really for both of you.
Kind of. But not really.
What’s this little parable got to do with anything? Probably nothing.
In any event: Happy Holidays.