With potential land-mines everywhere you look, navigating the workplace is a truly tricky thing. And in Lebanon, getting yourself into trouble is well, literally a piece of cake. That is, if you don’t eat any.

For those fresh to the workforce, let me explain: if someone at your office happens to be celebrating a birthday, an engagement, a wedding, or a baby shower - you will be offered cake. And you will be expected to eat it. And if you have a large number of colleagues and a decent turnover rate, you may find yourself celebrating something every week.

On these occasions the conference room will be transformed into a den of forced fun and obligatory calorie consumption in an effort to boost group morale. If you do not cheerfully participate in this tradition you risk crossing a major red line in the game of office politics. And heaven forbid you say you are on a diet. Nothing will ruin the office buzz faster.

Cake-gate could haunt you for years, reducing your chances of career development. Reluctance to participate could even pop up in your annual review as evidence of being an uncooperative team player.

On top of the fact that these office parties take away from valuable time that could be directed toward something productive, employees are typically solicited for donations (usually not less than 10,000LL). Adding insult to injury, the cake is usually just plain terrible. Who could possibly eat that Kit Kat/M&M’s concoction more than once a year?

Now don’t get me wrong, having fun in the workplace once in a while is a great way to build a sense of camaraderie, but every week? It’s simply too much. Perhaps birthday celebrations ought to be grouped together by month or zodiac sign. This will be more time efficient and much gentler on our waistlines and our wallets. This way, we can have our cake and eat it too.

[Image taken from here.]

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