Does your workplace have a tradition of employees giving a Christmas gift (er, holiday gift … um, scrupulously secular seasonal transfer of goods) to the boss?
Although many work environments leave it up to employees whether or not to give an individual gift to their superior, at my “day job” of nearly 20 years, we always pool our money and present the head honcho with some token of our esteem.
In such workplaces, most employees are only too happy to chip in. But you have to watch the people on the opposite extremes.
For instance, there’s always a perpetually effervescent company cheerleader like Debbie Dovetonsils, who encourages co-workers to give until it HURTS. (“But just walk off the pain, because an increase in medical expenses would cut into Mr. Bigdome’s year-end bonus, y’all.”)
Bless her heart, Debbie always makes it back from her annual tour of the boss’s gastrointestinal tract just in time for the fundraising drive.
On the other extreme, the clock-watching malcontents who are lucky to have a job are the ones most likely to grumble, “He sees me when I’m sleeping, he knows when I’m awake — can’t we just get the tyrant some milk and cookies?”
Bosses get different amounts of respect and generosity according to how they arrived at their position. There are the single proprietors who have built the business from the ground up. There are go-getters who have climbed the corporate ladder. And then there are the bosses who survive solely on the basis of nepotism. (“I WOULD chase all you loafers away from the water cooler, but I seem to have stapled my necktie to the desk. Mommyyyyy….”)
Engraved gifts can really open up a can of worms with employees’ passive-aggressive tendencies. (“Thanks for everything, Koss… er, Moss, um, Loss…Boss. How do you like it when I can’t remember YOUR name?”)
Yeah, I’m talking about the boss who always blows you off with, “Take that up with Numbers Resources… er, I mean HUMAN Resources.”
Old stand-by gifts such as “World’s Greatest Boss” plaques and coffee mugs can leave the more clueless bosses shaken. (“I was visiting our biggest competitor the other day and you’ll never guess what HIS coffee mug said! I must’ve entered an alternate reality or something.”)
Some bosses react to the “surprise” gift with a display of humility, such as “Aw, you shouldn’t have.” (They learn the hard way not to be so meek. In the new year, everyone will forget “Unplug that skill saw before you clean it” and “Do not under any circumstances call attention to our biggest client’s unibrow” but remember the “Aw, you shouldn’t have.”)
More narcissistic bosses really push their God’s Gift To Mankind delusion. (“Oh…a collectible pencil sharpener. I was sort of hoping for the Bottomless Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh gift card…”)
Some bosses are right in the middle, gushing “I couldn’t have done it without you. There is no ‘I’ in team,” before switching over to “But there is an ‘I’ in GIMME! Fork it over!”
Whatever your unique situation, make the most of it. Try not to get run over by reindeer — or by that fireball Debbie Dovetonsils.
“Clean as a whistle, Mr. Bigdome. You won’t need that colonoscopy this year, either. More money for your bonus. A spritz of hand sanitizer and I’ll be ready to sell cookies for your landscaper’s granddaughter…”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.