By Jonathan Tay
To many people, the impending Christmas season is a time of buying gifts, sharing, and flying off to a tropical island to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Despite our Asian culture, gift-giving has slowly but surely become a part of our lives and has been known to cause heart palpitations to some. In particular, one may find the process of choosing the right gifts extremely vexing. This ordeal can be especially distressing if your boss is among the recipients in your gift list.
Selecting an appropriate gift for the boss can be an extremely delicate affair. An overly exorbitant gift might immediately grant you the "bootlicker" tag by co-workers while an inexpensive gift may come off as insincere. It is no surprise that many would decide to avoid the complication altogether and convince themselves that the boss is an unfeeling cyborg who can afford better gifts himself or herself.
Well, office etiquette does not dictate that you have to get your boss a gift. However, if you happen to have a change of heart (or if the Ghosts of Christmas decide to pay you a visit), here are some pointers to keep in mind while carrying out your mission of sharing the spirit of giving with your superiors.
Avoid getting something too personal. You may have a relatively close working relationship with your boss. But it would only be appropriate to maintain a certain level of professionalism. He or she is after all the boss and would like to be respected as such. Giving something too personal might send a wrong message or cause awkwardness between the both of you. Some gifts you may want to consider avoiding would include:
- Self-made items
- Fashion accessories
- Personal care products
Avoid provocative gifts. Don't get gifts which touch on discriminating issues like gender, religion or race. You may find it amusing but your boss may not share your level of humour.
An expensive gift may be too good for your own good. You may think that getting a gift befitting to the status of your boss is only right. Well, to your colleagues, you may simply appear as a show-off trying to get into the boss' good books. Your boss, on the other hand, may not be too keen to accept such a gift if it has the potential to stir controversy among the team.
With that being said, how much exactly would then be the most appropriate amount to spend on a gift to your boss? Based on the result of the poll by JobsCentral, 40 per cent of the respondents who are getting their bosses gifts agreed that a range of $20 to $49 would be a reasonable amount to work on. For this price range, some gift ideas which you may want to consider are:
- Planner /organiser
- Luggage tag
- Coffee-mug warmer
- Thermos flask
- A book, perhaps management-related
- Coffee powder / Tea leaves
Be modest, please. The entire office does not need to know that you are giving your boss a gift, unless you misunderstood the company's policy of declaring favours. A potentially attention-catching gift would only bring about bad publicity for you. So stay far away from the helium-filled balloons and carol-singing greeting cards. Give these to your crushes, not your boss.
Share a gift if you are shy. If the idea of giving your boss a gift gives you as much jitters as it does when submitting your latest report, you could consider sharing a gift with the rest of the team. This would allow everyone to participate and, it also wouldn't make you appear like you are trying to stand out if nobody actually prepared anything for the boss. Nevertheless, the best thing about this idea is -- if the boss doesn't like the gift, you are not alone.
The JobsCentral Group, a CareerBuilder company, is the owner of JobsCentral.com.sg, one of Singapore's largest job and learning portals. Get a free career personality test and more career- and education-related articles at JobsCentral and JobsCentral Community.