Birthdays in Nuffnang is a really special thing.
We have a rule in the company that nobody is allowed to come to work on their birthdays.
Everyone automatically is required to take the day off on their birthday, a day off that is not deducted off any annual leave.
My birthday however was a little different.
I woke up in the morning like any other day and went to office in the morning. It was my birthday and I at least wanted to spend half a day with the people that mattered to me ie all my colleagues at Nuffnang that I see every other day.
I also had a meeting on that day.
Two weeks ago, one of my clients scheduled an important meeting in KLCC that happened to coincide with my birthday.
I was a little cautious the morning I walked into the office on my birthday because I kinda knew that the Nuffnang team was planning something for me.I discovered their plan by accident.
The week before when one of my colleagues were out of the office, I went over to his computer to make sure he sent an e-mail out to a client or not, an e-mail he was supposed to CC me but I didn't get. There I saw an e-mail that said "Boss's Birthday".
I was tempted to open it, but I decided not to spoil it for everyone (including myself), so I left it as it was and didn't tell anyone about it.
But I knew they were planning something (I had intended to keep my birthday quiet but I guess Facebook gave me away).
So in the morning I was on FULL ALERT.
And true enough, the surprise turned up.
One of them asked me a little later in the morning
"Did you see your blog? There's a surprise there for you".
I went in and I saw that my leaderboard ad unit on top of my blog had a little birthday banner on it. I smiled and said "Thank you everyone".
Then I turned on to ask one of my colleagues
"Am I getting paid for this ad?"
Then later on in the morning while I was on the phone with a client, we received a delivery from one of our very nice clients. A string of balloons tied on a basket with a nice card and chocolates.
I was happy. Enough surprises for the day. I thanked everyone, including the people who sent the balloons and I rushed off for my meeting at KLCC next.
The meeting was scheduled for 12.30PM but my client wanted to meet me a little earlier to buy me a birthday lunch at San Francisco Steakhouse there at 11.30AM.
At first I said "No need lar.. not much time left also.. we go Food Court can already".
But my client said
"What?! It's Friday!!! Do you know packed KLCC Food Court is on Friday lunch hour ?"
So fine we went to San Francisco Steakhouse.
As I sat down, she looked at me and said "I have some bad news for you. Apparently the CEO of the company has just decided to cut all advertising on blogs for whatever reason.
This company that my client represented was one of the largest ad spenders in the country and it had taken us the longest time ever to actually rope them in as a client of Nuffnang and now they were telling us that they were cutting all spending on blogs.
I was shocked but still not too worried since Nuffnang fortunately isn't dependent on one big client for its survival.
Probably seeing that I wasn't worried enough, she added more salt on to the wound.
"They've decided that not only are they going to cut all future ad spending on blogs but also cancel all the current campaigns that are running now".
That was when I started to panic. How do I go up to all our bloggers who were supposed to participate in a campaign that is running now and tell them that "Oops.. sorry, client changed their mind".
My mind raced for solutions and at that point, all I wanted to do was get out of that damn lunch and back to the office to do some damage control.
Then suddenly from behind me, I heard a small crowd sing
"Happy Birthday to you.... Happy Birthday to youu...."
See how surprised I was!
I turned behind to see some of my other clients, friends and the Nuffnang team from our KL and Penang office walking towards me with a cake. The first thing I did was turn back to my client and asked
"WOI!!! SO REAL OR NOT WAN?!?"
She smiled and said
"No it's just a joke... we just wanted to make you really sad before we surprised you".
For someone who was expecting some sort of surprise, I really really didn't see that coming and I guess it felt so real for me because they managed to get my clients in on the game with them. ISH!!!
Well done guys... a very good surprise.
We had a nice lunch and I took the rest of the day off. I went to The Curve (Duhh.. my favourite hangout place) to watch Kung-Fu Panda and then came back into the city for a dinner I had with a few good friends and clients at Michaelangelo at Pavilion.
It was at that point when I realized that I am indeed the luckiest man in the country.
It's not because I'm part of what is the fastest growing internet and most exciting internet company in the country nor because I love my work... but because many of the people I work with today, be it the bloggers, clients or colleagues... all are the very best of my friends, something that I most certainly can't take advantage of.
After dinner ended that night, I headed off to Poppy to meet some other friends to dance the night away, waking up the next day to have another small dinner with Kenny Sia and Ringo who had just gotten back from Bali.
To all my dear friends... from those who were there to celebrate with me to those who were kind enough to leave me wishes online or via SMS, thank you for being such a wonderful part of my life.
And finally to Kenny, Ringo and PinkPau who had planned another small surprise for me the day after, thank you.
I am now 24 years old.
See? They even got me a behloon for my birthday.