Author Topic: Gift giving at work  (Read 2121 times)

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dragon_heart

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Gift giving at work
« on: August 24, 2013, 08:12:35 AM »
I ran into this situation in a previous company.

Brief background: The office I work at has no walls that divides our tables into cubicles. Its just desks arranged side by side.
I can stretch my arms sideways and be able to touch my co-workers. It is a medium sized company, with around
20-25 people per department. End background.

During Christmas season, it was common practice for co-workers to give each other small gifts, worth less than $3 each.
The gifts would be left on the desks of the recipient by the giver. The problem was this. The gift giving became the source
of rifts and drama in the workplace.

You see, if co-worker A has a problem or a rift with co-worker B,  she would give a gift to everyone but not give one to co-worker B.
Now it wasn't just co-worker A and B who did this. Almost everyone did. As such, when I arrived for work, I would immediately
notice who got a gift from whom and who did not( due to no cubicle walls ). Just by the gifts alone, I would know that Jane is not
in good terms with Alice and so forth, something I do not wish to have known.

It was awkward after this in the office. I remember asking if I was in high school all over again. Now I know that a gift is a gift,
and it is up to the person who she wants to give a gift to, and it is not anybody's business. But the bad part is that some of
us have to work together and it is difficult to work with someone who you know has a problem with you.

Now I could just ignore all of this and act as if nothing has happened. Our supervisor just ignored the whole thing anyway.
Also I gave gifts to everyone, I preferred the all or nothing approach. I think this is the best way to handle this.
Any thoughts?

AvidReader

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2013, 08:47:48 AM »
Sounds so "high school" drama and the lingering effects are not very good for morale.  I propose a grab-bag approach.  Each person who wishes to participate brings a gift that is put into a pile or if small enough, a big bag.  Those who brought a gift, may select a gift from the pile or bag. You can draw numbers from a hat/basket to determine the order. The gifts are small and generic and usually less than $10, which if I've done my math correctly, is a lot cheaper than buying a $3 gift for each of 20-25 people.  Typical: a bottle of wine, set wine glasses, small box of upscale chocolates, seasonal decorations or table service items, a store gift card, etc.


POF

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 08:50:55 AM »
And this is why I banned public gift giving in my departments.  if you want to have a gift exchange - you do it at lunch or after work.  My staff think I am the scrooge - but after dealing with gifting drama - I ended it.

camlan

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 10:58:41 AM »
And this is why I banned public gift giving in my departments.  if you want to have a gift exchange - you do it at lunch or after work.  My staff think I am the scrooge - but after dealing with gifting drama - I ended it.

This.

People are giving gifts to their friends. It does not have to be done in the office.

And if people are using the gifts to fan the flames of office drama, which they clearly are in the OP, then the easiest way to deal with the issue is just to ban exchanging gifts in the office.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Aquamarine

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 12:29:44 PM »
IMHO all gift giving should be done outside of the office environment with the possible exception being a going away gift for a coworker.  Even a going away gift/party would be best done outside of the workplace if at all possible.  I think it's a big mistake many employees make to bring personal celebrations into the workplace, the two should be kept separate.

Never underestimate the ability of even the most benign celebration to degrade into high school mean girl antics in the workplace.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

veronaz

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 12:50:13 PM »
Agree with PP.  Keep it outside of the office.

dragon_heart

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 02:00:59 AM »
And this is why I banned public gift giving in my departments.  if you want to have a gift exchange - you do it at lunch or after work.  My staff think I am the scrooge - but after dealing with gifting drama - I ended it.

This.

People are giving gifts to their friends. It does not have to be done in the office.

And if people are using the gifts to fan the flames of office drama, which they clearly are in the OP, then the easiest way to deal with the issue is just to ban exchanging gifts in the office.

True, but what if they bring said gifts to the office and display them at their desks?

camlan

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2013, 01:39:06 PM »
And this is why I banned public gift giving in my departments.  if you want to have a gift exchange - you do it at lunch or after work.  My staff think I am the scrooge - but after dealing with gifting drama - I ended it.

This.

People are giving gifts to their friends. It does not have to be done in the office.

And if people are using the gifts to fan the flames of office drama, which they clearly are in the OP, then the easiest way to deal with the issue is just to ban exchanging gifts in the office.

True, but what if they bring said gifts to the office and display them at their desks?

But the gift would not be immediately obviously a gift, just a new thing on someone's desk. And if a co-worker asked about it, there's a difference between someone saying, "Oh, Lucy gave me that for Christmas" and seeing every single employee in your department with a gift-wrapped package on their desk while your desk is empty.

The co-workers who bring in gifts for all but one or two people are breaking a social code that is so basic it is taught to everyone in kindergarten--you bring enough to share with everyone, or you don't bring anything.

If you really hate Susie and don't want to give her a gift, fine. But you don't bring in gifts for everyone else except Susie and distribute them publicly. That's mean. And rude.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


shhh its me

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 01:56:57 PM »
   If you give someone a gift because they are your friend you do it outside work. If you are giving gifts to co workers you do so to all equal co workers.  I can give just my assistant a gift because they are my only assistant or everyone on my floor in my dept whatever but the line need to be work related not "I don't like you , I do like you."  or via gift exchange where everyone is allowed to participate but not required to.

veronaz

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 03:13:56 PM »
Long time ago I worked in an office where people did this kind of nonsense with invitations to parties or whatever.  They made a big production of passing them out and then not giving one to someone they were mad at or didn’t like.  Funny thing was a couple people said “No, thanks” and returned the invitations.  >:D Finally the supervisor put a stop to it and they had to pass out their invitations after hours outside the office.

(corrected typo)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 06:41:12 PM by veronaz »

POF

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 06:02:57 PM »
Long time ago I worked in an office where people did this kind of nonsense with invitations to parties or whatever.  They made a big production of passing them out and then not giving one to someone they were mad at or didn’t like.  Funny thing was a couple people said “No, thanks” and returned the invitations.  >:D Finally the supervisor put a stop to it and they had to give pass out their invitations after hours outside the office.

Hey - its cool that your office employees 5 year olds.

veronaz

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 06:44:39 PM »
Long time ago I worked in an office where people did this kind of nonsense with invitations to parties or whatever.  They made a big production of passing them out and then not giving one to someone they were mad at or didn’t like.  Funny thing was a couple people said “No, thanks” and returned the invitations.  >:D Finally the supervisor put a stop to it and they had to give pass out their invitations after hours outside the office.

Hey - its cool that your office employees 5 year olds.

It was over 15 yrs ago, and I was happy to move on.  I was thinking they were jr high students, but maybe you're right - 5 yr olds was more accurate.

Another funny thing was I was always booked/had other plans on those party dates.   ;)

dragon_heart

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Re: Gift giving at work
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2013, 11:09:18 PM »
I honestly thought the movie Mean Girls was just limited to high school, but I was surprised to find
out that it extended to the workplace. Glad to know that it wasn't just me who experienced this.