Gift-giving at work is a heartwarming gesture that can build rapport and even repair strained relations in the office. But there is such a thing as a bad holiday gift meant for one’s employees.
We use gifts to foster personal relationships, but the workplace threatens this act with interpersonal weirdness. The strictures of a corporate culture and a hierarchy among adults can make some gifts for employees seem superficial or even patronizing.
Examples include a company-branded gift, like a trinket or clothing item carrying the company logo. This can send a message of unwillingness by a boss to spend their own money on a gift, or that a worker’s value lies only in their contribution to a boss’ advancement. Lottery tickets are another gift whose attempt at holiday cheer can fall flat. Bosses usually make more than their employees, and lottery tickets rarely win, thus they can feel like a patronizing tease toward lessening the income disparity between manager and worker.
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