I celebrated my birthday on Friday (it was lovely, thank you). I worked in the morning then took the afternoon off and went hiking.

When my birthday falls on a weekday, I never take the day off. I always felt like taking your birthday off was a newish trend for young millennials and Gen Z-ers and admittedly was a bit judgmental of the practice.

When I turned 23, I was working as a health educator at Planned Parenthood of Delaware. My job required me to travel the state teaching sex ed to various audiences like middle and high schoolers, attendees at AA meetings, Americorps trainees, and adjudicated youth. I was one of three educators, and we had some system for assigning teaching jobs as they came in. My colleagues, Tiffany and Shameka, knew my birthday was on January 28th (which was on a Monday, according to the internet), and they were quick to gift me with an easy day at the office instead of traveling and teaching.

And let me tell you: that was the most boring birthday I ever had. (Rivaled only by my 11th birthday, which was eclipsed in my household by the Super Bowl.)

Since then, I vowed to always treat my weekday birthdays like any other day.

But at my current job, my colleagues tend to take their birthdays off, and it’s pretty much the expectation; I was in a meeting on Friday and everyone was surprised to see me.

I don’t know why, on my 23rd birthday or since then, I hadn’t considered the third option of taking my birthday off instead of treating it like a regular workday or going to work but doing nothing and being really bored. I’m a big fan of mental health days, or calling in well and seizing a beautiful day, so why not take the time to do whatever you want (weather-/budget-/pandemic-allowing) on your birthday?

My half-day was perfect. Imagine what I could have done with a full one (and a three-day weekend, to boot). So, next time my birthday falls on a weekday (in 2025, apparently), you can expect to get an out of office response from me.

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