Awkward at Work: Who Wants Cake?


Work can be awkward. Thus the need for a countdown of top awkward work moments. Number five on the awkward list was the post-bathroom handshake. Number four on the list — the office birthday party.

Or Christmas potluck/sing-along.

Or July 4th Barbeculooza.

Basically any work-related Food-a-thon where everyone tries to drown their jobs for thirty minutes with chocolate icing.

If you eat that giant piece of chocolate cake barely contained on your tiny styrofoam plate, then no awkwardness ensues.

But if you have the audacity to turn it down. Oh, oh, oh…no you didn’t. Sit back and watch the awkwardness multiply like an amoeba in a high school test tube.

Office Birthday Cake - Picture of Awkward

Picture by Lynac – Creative Commons

You thought your days of peer pressure were over along long ago with the Trigonometry Finals and the Acne Flare-ups.


Now instead of getting pressured with beer and pot from Jimmy across the street, you’re getting hit up for a quick fix of pizza and Skittles by Sally from the front desk.

“Just one bite. I promise you’ll like it. C’mon, everybody’s doing it.”

Don’t get me wrong, I like junk food as much as Chuck Norris likes kicking terrorists. But it only took me the first six months of office life (my butt failing to fit in the chair it never left) to realize that the rare party happened about 357 days a year.

And the moment you turn down that corner piece because you can no longer fit into your corner office, it’s precisely at this moment you get The Look.

Office birthday party

Lori W via Creative Commons

The same look you got at sixteen in Freddy McKinnely’s basement the night you tried turning down a Keystone Light.

Because for every person who doesn’t eat a piece, is a direct insult on every person who does.

How to Say No?

But with Christmas just around the corner as I wrap seven extra pounds around my waist, I say no more.

So go ahead, ridicule me. Call me Organic Boy and hide carrots in my desk.

But please…

I can’t take one more bite.

Anyone experienced the same awkwardness? Please share any tips for avoiding the awkwardness of turning down junk food in the office.

Photo Credit: Lynac via Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Lori W via Creative Commons


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  • http://Website Morgan

    Paul, the only reason I come to work somedays is for the cake!!!!!!
    P.S. I liked the Occupy Sesame Street article. Good one. My mom says I watched too much Mary Poppins because I believe work should be fun.

    • admin

      Ha! Thanks Morgan

  • Megan

    My dislike for almost all things chocolate has gotten me out of a lot of these awkward situations. For other tasty treats, I’ve found that a little trickery goes a long way. I accept a piece, pretend I’m all excited to eat it and say that I’m going to take it back to my desk to enjoy it a little later. Then it goes in the compost an hour later when no one is looking because they’re face down in their keyboards due to food coma.

    • admin

      Megan – Ha. Great strategy. Creativity goes a long way in thwarting office awkwardness.

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  • http://Website Amber

    Tell them you have “blood sugar problems.” Everyone who OD’s on sweets does, so it is not lying. It’s also not preachy. People take it more like a medical condition than a “well, I am being healthy and you are not.” So they don’t feel insulted and they take you more seriously/pressure you less.

    • admin

      Strategic cake deflection. Love it Amber