For some strange reason, we have a national day of observance for bosses.Yes, indeed we do and it was observed this past week. One day this past week and I couldn’t tell you which one as I am too lazy to try to figure out which day it was. Back in my last job, I actually got taken out for lunch at the lake, received a nice bottle of my favorite rum, and got tons and tons of candy. This year, I was in a new place and didn’t even have time to go into the office. And that was fine with me.
Here is the deal. No one likes their boss. One can argue that one gets along well with the boss but there is always that little issue of the boss title. That tittle connotes a power dynamic. It’s awkward to give your boss a gift on boss day. It is not natural. In many etiquette books, it actually notes you shouldn’t gift upwards. I think that is crap as well. I have given gifts to some bosses. Not all, that’s for sure. But again, why would we create such an odd dynamic?
If someone gives you too nice a gift, it can be misinterpreted. If it’s too personal, it can be misinterpreted. Workplaces are rife with misinterpretations. Why muddy those waters even further.
Now, I love, love giving out gifts. I tend to give one to each of my staff for the holidays. I think through them carefully and try to get things specific to each person. I love seeing the delight in people’s faxes when they get something that is “so them.” I have to admit there have been a few occasions where I didn’t quite get a gift right. For instance, there was one time where I gave someone a holiday card that I accidentally left blank. Oops. She noted it was blank and I couldn’t think of a single thing to quickly put in. That person was soon gone (not related to the card incident but not unrelated either on a subconscious level).
Here is my proposal. How about we set a day aside where we just do something nice for a co-worker day and we leave it at that. The card need not even exist. Why give Hallmark yet another marketing gimmick. Be genuine and to thy own self be true.