I had not seen my boss for 6 weeks. It was his birthday July 15 so I tried to get people to celebrate it with him as he travelled to corporate events and department meetings. We finally saw each other Tuesday and I came ready. Alan had been egging me to give him a thank you card at least for being so understanding during our childcare crisis while waiting for Mom to return. I was at a loss as to what to get him. While we have become very comfortable as principal and assistant, we are still getting to know each other, having worked together for less than a year. So a bright idea hit me and I got him 2 of his favorite cookies from PAX Foods. For his birthday present, I bought a decent bottle of Merlot from Napa Valley. (You can never go wrong with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon for a red wine bottle to give away.) I even put it in a very nice bottle bag.
I picked simple cards and opted instead to write a lengthy dedication. I wanted him to know I appreciate how good a boss he has been to me.
I got a cake from Zaro’s for him as well so we could greet him as a group. I got all these in the morning — picking up the cookies first, rushing into Grand Central to get the wine then the cake and stopped by Papyrus (a high end card store here). It had to do that all in under an hour in the sweltering heat, and by the time I found myself standing by the platform waiting for the 7 train, I was starting to sweat.
I thought I’d save my gifts for the end of the day after we had given the cake, but I wrote the dedication on the cards even before he arrived. Was I surprised when I he came to me and handed me a small gift in a box with a simple satin red bow. I thought it was the opportune time to exchange gifts so I managed to hand him the two presents. He looked at the brown bag from Pax and asked what it was — I said, “Your favorite cookie.” He had given me a COACH photo cube which would be a perfect holder for most of my favorite photos tapes to my screen filter.
That was a most touching gesture considering it was HIS birthday, and there was nothing exceptional I had done. Little things like that (although the gift was not exactly cheap) make me feel truly appreciated, no matter how crazy things may get at work. It sure helps to have a boss who appreciates the things you.
We had a town hall with a third of his total staff of 100+ and in his opening remarks, one of the first things he did was to introduce me and acknowledge my contributions to the department which totally caught me off guard, and he made a joke of it being something I don’t like him doing — putting me on the spot, that is. But he has always been very generous with his appreciation which means a lot to all his people.
I know that my simple thank you with two of his favorite PAX cookies meant as much. And he gave the gift before I gave mine so I know it wasn’t even in reciprocation, but a purely unilateral act of gratitude. How can you beat a boss like that?