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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Giving without going broke

It's a classic office etiquette dilemma: to give or not to give a gift to the boss, a co-worker, a helpful receptionist. On one hand, this is a great time to score points. On the other hand, you really don't want to go broke, especially when you have family gifts to buy.
Remember, the most important thing is to make your co-worker, boss , assistant feel special or appreciated. And that doesn't necessarily require a lot of money.
* This may sound corny but I tried it and it works: bake something, or have a friend bake something -- present it during that 3 o'clock lull when everyone needs a sugar rush. My specialty is chocolate covered pretzels, always a hit!
* While a gift certificate to a restaurant is nice, words go a long way. A card with a personal note will be the part of they gift they most appreciate.
* Order lunch in, your treat. (Their favorite food) It says something about the effort you make for them.
* Consider going in as a group for the boss' gift. Pass an envelope around with a note about what the money will be used for and everyone chips in what they want. No need to embarrass that co-worker trying to pay off a student loan by requiring a specific donation.
* For anyone you work with a gadget, paperweight, calendar, picture frame, pen and pencil set, or book are useful low cost gifts.

What if you receive an unforeseen gift? Do you reciprocate? " There are several viewpoints on this:
I think you could," says Deborah Brown-Volkman, a career coach in East Moriches, N.Y., and author of the forthcoming book "How to Feel Great at Work Everyday."
Dr. Randall Hansen , Founder of Quintessential Careers, writes: "Don't feel pressure to run out and buy a gift for the boss or a co-worker if he or she gives you one. But do send a thank-you note acknowledging the gift and expressing your gratitude.

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