Author Topic: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?  (Read 2863 times)

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OSUJillyBean

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Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« on: December 27, 2013, 05:30:24 PM »
One of my coworkers has designated herself the office hat-passer.  Anytime someone has a birthday, she emails the rest of us and coordinates buying the birthday person a gift.  That is fine and participation there is voluntary. 

This year is my first Christmas with this company.  I am told by Hat-Passer that everyone is to contribute $10 to the boss's gift.  it should be noted here that boss is also in the secret santa pool but as she'll be reciprocating there, I didn't think too much of it.  however for the Boss's gift, Hat-Passer decided what we were giving and then told everyone how much they should contribute.  Anyone who couldn't contribute the full $10 was asked to give "what they could". 

One of my new coworkers (transferred from a different department, not by choice.  The company moved her) had worked for boss for less then an hour when Hat-Passer informs her of the $10 gift.  New Woman has a spine of titanium, informs Hat-Passer that she did not have cash at the moment and would probably not contribute much if anything to a gift for her boss.  I was admiring her spine but caved myself and gave over the $10 as Hat-Passer is good friends with the boss and anyone who crosses HP can count on not being in good graces, so to speak.  Later, New Woman concedes as well and gives $5.

Boss is very thankful for her gift (pedicure and mini-massage or something to that effect).  The next day she has a thank-you card, addressed only to those who gave the full $10.  New Woman is not thanked in person, nor is her name on the card.  We are supposed to pass the card around to everyone whose name is on it.  So she never saw the card nor did she know of its existence. 

Boss also gives us small gifts (mine was a very cheap dragonfly charm that I have no use for, although of course I thanked Boss appropriately)  I was mad.  My gift was not the same value that I had given to the boss.  That sounds petty but this woman is making s lot more money than me, is the person who signs my paychecks, and she can't be bothered to give me a gift I might enjoy (we just did Secret Santa and she had 36 hours with everyone's wishlist, although the timing is weird as SS was done before Boss was given her gift).

New Woman is of course angry about the whole stupid mess and vows to never again give to any extortions from Hat-Passer.  I am really uncomfortable having seen the whole thing played out and wishing my boss knew enough to not accept gifts from those under her, especially those who have barely met her!  Is this something I should bring up with HR?  Hat-Passer is sort of the office money police but she has no actual position over the rest of us. 
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 10:27:27 AM by OSUJillyBean »

otterwoman

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013, 05:44:39 PM »
Gifts should go downhill, from boss to employee, not the other way! I've been the boss, I gave gifts to my employees. I was uncomfortable when some gave gifts to me. I made more money than they did, it wasn't right.

Your boss shouldn't have differentiated on the thank you card, but I would guess that the money person gave her the list of people who donated and left off the "less than $10" people.

If there are no repercussions, I'd just drop it. Next year, don't kick in the money. You might try to get a sense of what your company's culture is, if it's frowned upon for a boss to receive a gift, perhaps you can drop a hint to HR to pass that along.

aussie_chick

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013, 07:08:18 PM »
Boss would only know who gave what if Hat-Passer told them. Hat-Passer is a snake in the grass and one to be watched in that environment I think! HP could have just said "this is from everyone" but has obviously chosen to be specific or deliberately leave out people who did not give the same amount.

Boss is incredibly rude for identifying individuals like that. The card could have been addressed to everyone for their kind wishes and thoughtful gift.

It's a silly boss who takes the word of one within the workplace. HP has an agenda and I wouldn't be surprised if eventually it catches up with boss!

weeblewobble

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 09:40:17 PM »
In Boss's defense, she may not know that the others contributed to the gift.  OP, were all contributors allowed to sign the card for boss's gift?  It's possible that HP only gave Boss a list of names of those who contributed the requested $10, i.e. gave in to HP's demands.  So those were the only people Boss knew to thank.

Luci

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 09:54:39 PM »
Before I graduated from college at a part time job, I was told to put a bit into the gift for boss. No way in hell I could afford that!  I just passed the envelope on without signing it. I have done that ever since and have never had repercussions. After 5 jobs later - one of them for over 20 years, I'm still fine.

cicero

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2013, 03:34:44 AM »
I'm assuming that HP told boss who gave and who didn't so I can't completely fault her for that, however she seems to be encouraging a really unhealthy work environment and speaking from experience it will only get worse. HP will be the getting any perks, and those who don't bow down to her will be prevented from advancing etc. BTDT. In fact, this was one of the reasons I left my previous job, especially after our very own HP had a huge fight with me.

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OSUJillyBean

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 09:45:50 AM »
In Boss's defense, she may not know that the others contributed to the gift.  OP, were all contributors allowed to sign the card for boss's gift?  It's possible that HP only gave Boss a list of names of those who contributed the requested $10, i.e. gave in to HP's demands.  So those were the only people Boss knew to thank.
I never saw any card.  Hat-Passer must have told Boss only the names of people who gave the full amount.  After this incident I have decided to follow previous advice I've gotten on here.  Namely, "No is a complete sentence."  HP will be upset but I see that as her problem and not mine.

Samgirl2

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014, 06:50:11 AM »
There is no way you should be forced to contribute to presents by or for anyone. It should be voluntary and other posters are right, it should really go down the chain not up.

In past jobs I've had, bosses have tended to give a box of chocolates or bottle of wine to employees or nothing. Employees have usually given nothing back, unless they get on really well and then it's maybe a box of chocolates or biscuits etc.  My previous boss I got on really well with and it was just the two of us in our dept. He earned considerably more than me and would always give me a bottle of wine and a gift card. I usually bought him a tin of fancy biscuits or chocolates for him to share with his family.

My parents both manage teams and they usually do the wine thing. Except for when my Mum just had one PA and she would by her a necklace or a giftcard to something. Spending more because it was only one person and she really valued her. They don't expect anything back, but sometimes they get something small.

My current boss is more like yours and it really annoys me. I had only worked for her for a month when it was Christmas the first time and wasn't planning to get her anything. But she kept saying how she had got me a gift, repeatedly dropping it in conversation, and how she'd got one for her boss as well, and so I felt I had to. I bought her a box of chocolates. Her gift to me was one handmade chocolate (1!!) in a tiny coin purse that I have no use for.

Then came her birthday. She made such a deal out of it being a big birthday and she was going to throw a little party in her office for everyone that a colleague felt we should have a collection. We bought her some jewellery which she obviously hated and has never worn. After that I vowed never to by her a present. Last year I didn't, but my two colleagues did and she got snitty with me.

This year was the third Christmas and a full week before we finished for the holiday she brought our gifts into the office and made a big show of giving them to us.  My two colleagues said they had both got her something because they felt they had to, so of course I cracked and gave her a box of nice biscuits, just so she wouldn't be snitty with me.

When I unwrapped her gift to me it was 3 coloured biros and a notebook! To make it worse, the three of us all got the exact same thing.  She earns 10,000 a year more than me, and 20,000 a year more than one of my colleagues. It just felt like a total insult.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2014, 09:56:12 AM »
Gifts should go downhill, from boss to employee, not the other way! I've been the boss, I gave gifts to my employees. I was uncomfortable when some gave gifts to me. I made more money than they did, it wasn't right.

Your boss shouldn't have differentiated on the thank you card, but I would guess that the money person gave her the list of people who donated and left off the "less than $10" people.

If there are no repercussions, I'd just drop it. Next year, don't kick in the money. You might try to get a sense of what your company's culture is, if it's frowned upon for a boss to receive a gift, perhaps you can drop a hint to HR to pass that along.

I so agree with this.  Now, the past few years, I have received a Christmas gift from my staff.  I am very grateful that although a very nice gift (last one was a little Starbucks gift assortment), I have been able to discretely determine the cost, and at most they are spending $2 - 3 each, so I don't feel guilty.  And even if they are not contributing equally, it is presented to me as such.  Our HP is very considerate and diplomatic (and restrained, which helps also).
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shhh its me

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2014, 11:47:50 AM »
  I don't think token gifts going up the chain are inappropriate.  I used to give my staff $50 gift cards , lunch and made sure the week before Christmas there were seasonal snacks; cheese trays , meat and cracker trays , nuts , candies, cookies etc.  they gave me as a group a bottle of perfume and blouse (which I thought was a too much)

siamesecat2965

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Re: Mandatory Gifts for the Boss?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2014, 12:14:40 PM »
  I don't think token gifts going up the chain are inappropriate.  I used to give my staff $50 gift cards , lunch and made sure the week before Christmas there were seasonal snacks; cheese trays , meat and cracker trays , nuts , candies, cookies etc.  they gave me as a group a bottle of perfume and blouse (which I thought was a too much)

I've always given my boses token gifts. I feel badly getting something from them, and not giving anything in return.  That being said, when they've given me things such as a nice gift card to a dept store, or some fancy pricy bath stuff, I've given either chocolates, or a nice ornament, or something along those lines.