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First of all I don't know that such a question can be posted here or not but seeing the quality of answers, I had to ask.

I work as a software engineer in a small organization and here everyone knows everyone. My HR representative asked me to order a cake for a team member's birthday (yes! I have been doing this for quite some time. And no! It's not a part of my work). Now because of the work load I refused to do so this time (I said it very politely).

He asked someone else to do it. During lunch hours I inquired about the cake but my HR rep rudely said that it doesn't concern me and I should stay out of the matters in which I have not put in any efforts.

The consequences: The team started avoiding me, now I have my lunch alone as he is the HR rep, and going against him can be a threat for your job.

I am not sure that should I talk about this to my director or not. Please advise how to get out of such a situation. Is switching my job the only option left now?

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The cake is a lie. – It'sPete Jul 11 '14 at 15:49
@It'sPete How can you say this? Buddy I am facing it. Stop joking if you can't help – ankit suhail Jul 11 '14 at 16:30
I am helping. I've upvoted the correct answer. Maybe there's more going on here... like how you can't take a joke or maybe you don't read people well. At any rate, I hope your cake adventures go well. Good luck with the conversation you have to have. – It'sPete Jul 11 '14 at 16:43
up vote 26 down vote accepted

First, I would talk to the individual in HR. You probably just pissed them off because they grew used to just pushing this off on you and it gets done. Instead they wound up with more on their plate.

I would simply politely and sincerely say, "I'm sorry I couldn't help with the cake, at the time you asked me to assist I was tied in my primary duties and couldn't break away" (or something similar, the point is you want to try and massage things to end this strife and gently remind them that your primary responsibilities come before cake)

If things don't improve then you should probably explain things to your supervisor. Your HR person is out of line, and while HR handles hiring and firing they are rarely the ones who actually are the decision makers there, and most of the time HR answers to the various departments and managers not the other way around.

If your boss is happy, that's what counts. Mention to your boss this tension with HR is causing others to ostracize you purely because it's the HR person. If your boss is a good one they'll take corrective actions to rectify the situation. I will also say any conflicts between HR and staff tend to work in favor of the staff. (One of HR's primary responsibilities is preventing conflict in the office, when they are causing conflict it demonstrates a failure an their part)

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Making your supervisor aware of the problem is usually very effective because managers are usually in a state of Cold War with HR anyway. By design, HR and management have an antithetical relationship so managers are usually quite willing to defend their people. – TechZen Jul 10 '14 at 21:17
It's the job of HR to sort out that kind of problem. In this case it is HR creating the problem. That's bad. That's deeply unprofessional. If anyone in a company behaves that way, that's bad. But if someone in HR does it, that's totally unacceptable. – gnasher729 Jul 10 '14 at 22:00

So your friends don't like you because you didn't participate in their cake party? Easy, just have your own cake party and invite everybody. Everyone will love you, office people love cake for some reason.

Make up some excuse (dog's birthday, wife won the lottery, etc.) and bring cake to celebrate.

(Although, in my opinion, cake is for fat people. I always bring a bowl of fruit when I want to celebrate. In your case though that's going too far, you can only do that when they already like/trust you.)

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Please avoid using comments for extended discussion. Instead, please use The Workplace Chat. Comments are intended to help improve a post. Please see What "comments" are not... for more details. – Monica Cellio Jul 11 '14 at 23:11

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