Birthday Surprise

It all started with Kim. She loved to elaborately decorate people’s desks with balloons and streamers for their birthday. I was never a part of it, as I wasn’t on her team (I only knew her through the social committee), but it was nice to see the awesome photos. Eventually, Kim left, but the tradition has continued, with Albert taking over. However, for his birthday, to get “revenge”, a bunch of people on his team wrapped everything in wrapping paper. His chair, his mouse, his phone. Even the pencils and coat hanger on his desk. I think they said it took them an hour to get it all done (they had to wait for him to leave first, so ended up staying quite late).

Ever since then, he has been trying to get them all back, and this year, for some reason, I got roped into the whole desk decoration thing by having my desk decorated. I’m never one to miss an opportunity for surprises, so for Albert’s birthday, I had something more elaborate planned. I had already organised with another co-worker to do the standard streamers and balloons, but as Albert and I are both fans of The Office, I wanted to go further.

Inspired by Jim’s prank on Dwight where he puts his stapler in jelly, I asked the help desk for a broken keyboard and mouse and used that instead. I tried to get two keyboards, as I needed doubles of H, A, P and Y to spell out Happy birthday with the keys, but was only able to get one in the end, so I ended up using other keys and writing my own letters for the duplicates.

If you ever want to do this, learn from my mistake: keys float. So I started with one layer of jelly (500ml), just so the mouse and keys would be suspended in the middle. Then I placed the mouse and made another layer (which only went halfway up the mouse). Lastly, I got the keys, placed them down and poured two layers’ worth of jelly (1L). To my horror, the keys floated to the top of the jelly and it took me a long time to press them down into the first two layers before they stopped floating back up (which is why the keys are in such a messy arrangement). I also ended up adding a couple of packets of gelatine to make it a bit more solid.

It was a lot harder to get out of the container than I thought, so it ended up having ugly cuts on the side, instead of a smoother surface like I wanted.

But oh well, I got the effect I wanted:

Through some research for my last interview, I ended up finding out that person’s birthday, which was today. So I put some streamers on his desk as well. As I’m currently recovering from a virus, I didn’t want to blow up any balloons, but I talked someone else on his team into blowing them up for me. I thought it’d be fun, as we’ve talked to each other twice in the entire time we’ve been on the same floor (once when I asked him to do the interview, and once when we did the actual interview), so I didn’t think he’d suspect me at all.

I managed to get away with it for most of the day, until around 4pm, when I got an email from him saying, “Thanks for the streamers” and he attached a song that he had written (not one that he had written specifically for me – I learned in the interview that he writes music as a hobby).

LoL Mark observed that I am a lot more enthusiastic about these little side-hobbies than I am about my own job. He told me that I should do something else. I still don’t have the motivation to leave. I’m starting to think that I’m the worst employee someone could have, in the sense that I’m at that point where I’m not engaged by my job, but I feel safe there. There are things I feel like I should care about, but I don’t, as I don’t fear being fired. If it weren’t for the fact that the quality of my work is important to me, I’d probably be that useless person in the office that just barely scrapes by and everyone hopes would quit or get hit by a car.

My boss has been trying though. I think he put me up for this delivery lead stuff because he thinks it’ll help me develop. But to be honest, the past few weeks have been pretty miserable for me. I have learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in a project, which is good, but it has further reinforced my belief that management is not for me. I don’t know why everyone I work with seems to think I’d make a great manager, despite me telling them that I won’t. Maybe when this project crashes and burns, they’ll finally believe me. :(

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