Post # 1
I started a new job earlier this year and have found that my coworkers like to exchange/give gifts to one another and our boss. We did a White Elephant at our holiday party, so I was a bit surprised that people exchanged additional gifts closer to the holiday. At Christmas, my boss gave me (and other coworkers) a very thoughtful gift. I did not give her anything. My boss’s birthday is this weekend and I have heard my coworkers talking about the gifts they are giving her (individually, not a group gift). I was considering getting her some flowers, as she liked the flowers we bought her as a group for Boss Day, but am not sure what to do. Aside from exchanging the occasional gift with a coworker, I have not regularly exchanged gifts with coworkers and definitely not my supervisors at previous jobs so this is new territory for me.
So Bee’s, do you give your Boss a gift at the holidays or their birthday? If so, are flowers a good idea or do you recommend I get her something else?
Post # 2
Generally speaking gifts flow down, not up. So in other words it is perfectly acceptable that your boss got you gifts for a holiday, but in certain areas of business it would be considered inappropriate for a boss to even accept gifts from a subordinate for fear of looking like someone is seeking favor.
This may certainly depend on your specific business environment and relationship, but generally speaking I think in most environments at most of the boss gets a group gift for things like bosses day and maybe their birthday or a seasonal holiday. Now I personally give my boss a gift for some occasions, not every occasion. But she is also a friend outside of work. And I generally Reserve that for non-work times and only give things that maybe more work appropriate during business hours. For example a group gift or if I bake for the holidays I might make a tin of cookies for her just like I do for many other people in the office and my neighbors
So basically, I wouldn’t sweat it if you weren’t planning to get them something on your own. You may want to suggest group gifts instead or go in on one, but generally speaking gifts are not something most bosses would be expecting in the first place.
And I probably wouldn’t get her flowers unless your work team went in on flowers. I’d probably just buy a small thing of her favorite candy if you know it or a pastry.
Post # 3
annabananabee : Thanks for the feedback- that’s what I thought, but do know that different work environments do different things. I was pretty surprised to learn how many people give her gifts.
Post # 4
everyone loves a thoughtful card, but truthfully, nothing is required.
Post # 5
I think it is inappropriate that exchanging gifts is so common in your workplace. It puts people in an awkward position (as is clear by your post). I would say that unless you want to get sucked into the constant back and forth of giving gifts to everyone all the time, don’t start. If you just don’t participate right from the beginning it won’t be expected of you.
Post # 7
Thank you all for the great feedback. I ended up not giving a gift because a group of us took her out to lunch and split the bill. I had attended previous birthday lunches and we never split the bill. I assumed the company paid for those lunches, but perhaps my boss personally did (she organized them). Anyways, I consider that to be enough of a “gift” and plan to stick to that and a card moving forward.