My first holiday season in the office
The dreaded question… what the f*@k do I get my boss for the holidays?! I’m going to lead this one with a quick (but worthwhile) story:
I’ll never forget my very first year at my very first job I worked on a large team of about 50 people. The team was filled with a lot of different personalities. There were a few warm and fuzzy people, but more tough, hard working finance people than anything else. I didn’t know what standard protocol was for gifts around the holidays and I didn’t know who I could ask. One thing I did know, however, was that I didn’t want the holiday season to slip by without my teammates knowing how appreciative I was for my new job.
It was the week before everyone was leaving for holiday vacations and finally, an idea came to me. I would find beautifully decorated holiday cookies, wrap them up in cellophane with a big bow and write a personalized hand written note with each. I wrote about 15 notes. I wrote one to a senior woman I desperately wanted to learn from (we ended up working together for over 5 years!) I wrote another to an analyst a year above me who I could tell didn’t like me from the moment I started in an attempt to to make a peace offering, I wrote one to my “work husband” who always had my back and I wrote another to the head of my team thanking him for taking a leap of faith on a girl with zero finance experience.
To this day, barely anyone responded to my cookies. I don’t know if they were appreciated, or if people thought they were “weird.” I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, or if I was viewed as a “kiss ass.” Maybe they were juvenile, and something that should have been saved for school? Regardless, I’ve learned through the years that a thousand emails will never have the same impact as a hand written note and have no regrets in my strange, slightly cheesy, holiday treats.
There are too many times in a career where you’ll be asking for something: a new manager, more support, higher compensation, more responsibilities… etc. There are too few where you look around, appreciate what you have and just say thank you. The holidays are a great reminder to do that. I may have been the only analyst in history to distribute cookies to the team, but at least when I made that next ask (which I definitely did not long after) I had said thank you first.
Don’t let time, budget, or lack of ideas get in the way of doing something nice. Think about how good it feels when someone says thank you to you and remember to give thanks to someone else.
But how… you might ask…
Colleague gift guide
There are different gifts to get for different types of colleagues. Here are some ideas based on who the gift is for:
THINK OF THOSE WHO AREN’T BEING THOUGHT OF
When I was an analyst working really late hours, there was a man who came by every night at 9:30PM to clean the office. He could not have been warmer or friendlier and even brought my friend back a small gift from one of his vacations. Every year, the whole team chipped in (it doesn’t have to be much) to give a small gift to him. This is not necessary, but I think its important to think of the people who aren’t being thought of and I know this man so much appreciated us thinking of him.
$35 AND UNDER
Shout-out to my beauty expert friend Rachel Green for the beauty recommendations!!
- Hot chocolate mix and customized mug: Who doesn’t love hot chocolate this time of year!? Especially a really lux, high quality one. I also received a mug like this from a colleague years ago that I still use to this day to hold my pens on my desk!
- Holiday reading book: Books are a great, gender neutral gift that make you look smart! Rethink by Steven Poole is all about how innovation steps from past ideas. It was on the J.P. Morgan 2017 reading list so comes highly recommended 🙂
- High quality candle: These are the best candles. They are so high quality and smell delicious. This scent is perfectly festive and the candle comes in different sizes if you wanted to spend more or less.
- Cool cookbook: I LOVE food52. It is one of my favorite websites to find recipes. I always prefer using a cookbook to a website so was thrilled when Food52 came out with some of their own!
- Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Sheet: What we love about this mask is that you can use it 3 times, and it gives you super smooth, glowing skin perfect for event-night makeup application. The fact that it is dry (vs. soaked with serum like other sheet masks) makes it great for wearing while you get ready for holiday parties without having to worry about getting your hair or clothes wet with product.
- SK-II Hydrating Mask: This kit is AMAZING and comes with a face sheet mask and eye gels for only $18. This is a great deal because the individual sheet masks usually sell for $17 alone and you can’t get individuals of the eye masks ever. These are super luxurious and hydrating, great for winter skin and travel.
- Fuzzy socks: Whether you’re traveling, trekking through bad weather, or lounging at home, fuzzy socks are a must around the holidays!
- Chanel gloss: The color is sheer but buildable, and is smooth, not ticky. Every color it comes in is gorgeous, but we love “Heart Beat” for a festive-but-not-too-intense holiday red.