Gag certificate for co-worker
March 3, 2011 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Ideas for joke award/certificate to present to co-worker on his 60th birthday?

Please suggest what to put on a gag award or certificate to be presented by our Team Manager to a developer colleague who turns 60 tomorrow. He’s been with the company about 5 years, is extremely hard working (comes in at the crack of dawn, leaves in the early afternoon to collect his granddaughter from school but then continues working from home for hours, even on weekends). Fun fact: he and his wife have a skinny dipping ritual once a year at a lake in Maine.
posted by Dragonness to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This begs for a funny Latin motto in script across the bottom.
posted by hermitosis at 12:48 PM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: Whether or not you also make a certificate, you need to give him a child's birthday card reading something along the lines of "Look Who's Turning 6" with a "0" crudely added in.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:50 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think its awesome that you have a friendly enough rapport with this dude that you can do that.

Just make sure that this guy KNOWS you appreciate his hard work as well. You don't want this dude sitting on a chair one night, looking at his "Happy 6oth birthday" card as a summation of the appreciation he gets from work.

Also..."most gas passed in the office" would be funny. Just because he's old and he's there a lot. Whatever you do, make sure he can take it. You don't want to be all making fun of his eyesight if he has an eyepatch or something.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:58 PM on March 3, 2011

How about a certificate that says something like:

To the Hardest Working Guy in the Office

(lots of official looking stuff)

Then down at the bottom in little letters "We know while you're here you'd rather be in Maine skinny dipping, but that's okay with us." or "We love you, but knock it off already. You're making the rest of us look bad."
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:03 PM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Another vote for playing it straight. No jokes are necessary.
posted by notned at 1:10 PM on March 3, 2011

Is there a reason it has to be a joke and not just a straight up sincere appreciative gesture?

I've a good relationship with my employees, but man I hate gag/jokey work related stuff. Perhaps he is different and it is appropriate, but even then I'd wager something heartfelt would feel better in the long run. imo.
posted by edgeways at 1:13 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The heartfelt angle is really nice, thank you for suggesting it. I have put it to the Manager and will see if he likes the idea. It may be he doesn't want to upset all the other hard-working people on the team, in which case gag/joke is back on the table, so please keep the ideas coming.

The team is not awfully close-knit, we couldn't get away with anything rude for sure.
posted by Dragonness at 1:19 PM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: A copy of the Art of Swimming which features nude swimmers, signed by the entire team, thanking him for showing up at the crack of dawn, without his "crack" shown...
posted by Debaser626 at 1:31 PM on March 3, 2011

Best answer: I think if the team isn't closeknit, that makes joking risky.

I am not your 60-year-old colleague, but if I were, I personally wouldn't want to have my workplace make a big deal of my age. Partly because it feels kind of generic (like, "I am known as the old guy"), but also because I would worry about stigma. I don't think you were suggesting age-related jokes in particular, but in case that's a possibility you're considering, I'd recommend avoiding it. It just feels potentially awkward and uncomfortable.

I vote straightforward love and appreciation, if you can :-)
posted by Susan PG at 1:41 PM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I've discussed it with my Manager and indeed the appreciation angle won't work for our situation. I know it's lame and not fair, but I can't force the matter.

I do want to share another idea with you that was suggested by a friend of mine and that my boss did like:

A framed Onion front page, with a prominent article with the co-worker's picture, titled:

"Local Man Takes Well-Earned Monthly Half-Hour Off"
posted by Dragonness at 2:14 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the suggestions. The only reason everyone doesn't get a star is because some ideas aren't usable in our particular case, but I did enjoy them all.
posted by Dragonness at 2:53 PM on March 3, 2011

The harassment training videos they show us at work specifically say not to do this.

Play it straight.
posted by schmod at 2:57 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have been to a birthday party at work where there was a tombstone cake. It's fodder for a harassment suit. It's also kind of mean, and the poor guy has to laugh so he doesn't get labeled as "can't take a joke." it's okay to just say Happy Birthday, with no angle.
posted by theora55 at 8:01 PM on March 3, 2011

Yes, be careful -- no age jokes.
posted by salvia at 11:33 PM on March 3, 2011

Response by poster: The rest of the team already bought a whole assortment of age-related gag gifts from iParty. I suppose they feel it's okay since we do have two other 60+ employees in the group.

Mine seems completely tame by comparison - it's a picture of the co-worker at a company picnic with this text on an Onion front page:

“Local Man Takes Well-Earned Annual Half-Hour Off

[City, State] – [Company]’s employee [name], 60, of [City, State], enjoyed his annual half-hour off at a work-related get-together in [City, State], early afternoon yesterday. “I will be away from my desk from 1:30 to 2:00 PM, but will be checking my email regularly”, [last name] noted in his Out-of-Office message.

See LOCAL page 3C”
posted by Dragonness at 9:17 AM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

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