A coworker recently commented to me on the strangeness of a common office ritual. Why is it that offices so frequently use an employee’s departure as an excuse to eat cake? I don’t know if had ever occurred to me before how backwards this is. Doesn’t it make more sense to throw a party for your new employees to say “Hey! Welcome to the family! We’re so glad you’re here!” rather than throwing a party for people who are leaving you for someone else? It’s almost like saying “Thanks for going; obviously we didn’t appreciate you enough before or you probably wouldn’t have left. Honestly we’re all just glad to have an excuse to eat cake.”
While I have partaken in many a goodbye cake, I have never seen an office bring in a “first day” cake to celebrate new employees. I even had one job where I arrived for my first day and no one even knew who I was or why I was there (the person who had hired me was on vacation and had apparently forgotten to inform the staff about me). In contrast, when I left that job I got cupcakes and a goodbye card.
I think it’s time we start a new trend: the first-day cake. Who’s with me?