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?

  • 2
    The cake is a lie.
    – It'sPete
    Jul 11, 2014 at 15:49
  • 1
    @It'sPete How can you say this? Buddy I am facing it. Stop joking if you can't help Jul 11, 2014 at 16:30
  • 3
    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, 2014 at 16:43
  • @ankitsuhail - You said that you said no politely. Please tell us how you said no, just so that others can be sure if there is no way your words could be misinterpreted. Anyway, if I was in that spot I'd probably say something like this "I love birthdays and cake! I wish I could get the cake this time. But, I have too much work and a crazy deadline. Is there anyone else who could help this time ?" PS - How long does it take to order a cake ? You could have done it if its a 5 minute online order. Anyway, I wish HRs would take care of these things. Sometimes, they don't really have much to do. Nov 5, 2016 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


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)

  • 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, 2014 at 21:17
  • 1
    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, 2014 at 22:00
  • @gnasher729 - plus I wonder how busy the hr of a "small" company could be. I know some hr of a small company that have a lot of free time on their hands and pretend like they have a lot of important work. Nov 5, 2016 at 23:04

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.)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .