Have you bought a present for your direct reports yet? While it's not obligatory, it is rather traditional. However, it's better to give nothing at all than it is to give the presents these bosses gave.
I asked people about the worst present they've ever received from a boss. Here are 30 of the worst.
- My boss bought me candles that smelled like men's armpits. She apparently loved the smell.
- I seriously received a gift I had given her about four months earlier. She said, "I hope you like it! It reminded me of you!"
- Victoria's Secret gift card. Thought maybe his wife did the shopping until he added the comment (I had just gotten engaged) that he knew there were certain things I needed to buy. He was twice my age. I recently told this story at his retirement party.
- An ice scraper with the company logo on it.
- A Christmas knick-knack with a candle in the center. The knick-knack was full of dust and pieces were broken off. The candle was melted from being in the person's attic for storage. It was obvious this was someone's decoration they decided to get rid of.
- Last year, a CD from an unknown singer. Everyone got one. Every trashcan was full of them by the end of the party.
- I got a big box of Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates. Seemed extravagant!! Later realized the expiration date had passed by three-plus years!!! I think she'd been gifted the chocolate some years ago, still had it in a cabinet, and regifted it to me.
- Worst was a card that had his name on it with a $10 McDonald's gift card inside.
- One of the bottles of wine I bought and wrapped for him to give to his execs.
- Everyone in our small department got a stocking filled with candy. Because I was on a diet, mine was filled with a bag of baby carrots. I probably talked about my diet too much I guess!
- A Christmas ornament. Specially chosen for me in purple so that it wasn't too Christmassy. Because I'm Jewish.
My manager gave me a Dunkin Donuts gift card for $25 (big money, I know). I decided to use it to get doughnuts and coffee (box of joe on me) for the entire team and when I got to the register the card had no money on it. So I ended up paying for breakfast--no big deal. A week later, I casually brought it up and she just shrugged her shoulders at me and walked away.
Worked for a small mom-and-pop business. One year we were given $100. Then the manager (the owner's daughter) expected each of us to donate $100 to the purchase of a BBQ grill for the owners (her folks).
A bottle of wine and a hoodie with the company's logo on it. I don't drink, and the hoodie was five sizes too big.
How about this--I got fired three days before the Christmas party that I planned!
A giant heavy personalized beer stein (I don't really drink) with my last name spelled incorrectly.
My regional director once got me a bag with lotions and body wash, which was fine. But she handed it to me and said, "It's hard to shop for someone you don't know very well..." I mean, I had been working with her for a year at that point, so maybe do better and get to know me.
A gym rag. That little tiny towel you use to wipe the exercise equipment down with after you use it. And it had the logo for a local yard care company on it. Not even my company. They gave out a hundred of them and nothing else.
I got an insulated lunch box -- the kind companies give you as a gift when you order something in bulk. It was oddly shaped and the handles were already fraying.
I received a two-piece candy box from my boss who just returned from a European vacation, during which she had me manage a huge project. When I updated her on the project, she told me I did it wrong. The project team and I were shocked.
My boss at one of my jobs when I was a teenager gave every employee an ounce of silver as a Christmas bonus/gift. He said if we just hung onto it long enough we would all be rich. It was worth about $6 to $8 then, and 38 years later, it is worth $20.66.
Not a gift, but I have been getting regular emails from my employer, a hospital, asking me to make a tax-deductible donation to them. Dude, I don't even get a discount in the cafeteria.
Pens. And not the nice ones; the exact same ones found in the office supply closet. I'm talking the standard black-ink Bics.
I received a toilet seat! I have to hope his intention was good but the guy was kind of a jerk!
It was a Cabela's (re)gift certificate that still had his name and the name of the sender when he gave it to me.
Expensive liquor, decanter, and tumbler set. I am and was a recovering alcoholic then too.
I got movie gift cards for a chain that was over an hour away.
A $5 bonus that was taxed.
A package of diapers. And no, I wasn't pregnant and had no kids.
I received this paper mache night light that looked like a toilet paper roll. I was like you are a Director and this is what I get for a Christmas gift!!
If you're still shopping for presents, double-check this list to make sure you don't end up on next year's bad gift list!