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Gifting your boss

Q. I am sending a gift to the head of the corporation, his wife had a baby. How do I sign the card?

M. R., Round Lake Beach, IL

A. If the gift is just from you, depending on your familiarity with the head and his wife you sign the card either with your first name or with your first and last name. If the gift is a group gift from a department or team, then sign the card with the name of the group and include the individual names, if that’s feasible.

The real question here is the appropriateness of giving a gift to honor a social occasion to a business associate or higher-up. If you’re on a first name basis with the head or his wife, giving a gift from you personally is appropriate. This may be the case if you know him well and you’re his admin or work with him on a consistent basis. I recommend sending the gift to the couple’s home or giving him the gift outside of the office or at the office at a time when you can do it privately. The gift should be a personal effort on your part because you and the head know each other well.

If you’re not on a first name basis or don’t work directly with him, you probably don’t know him well enough to be giving a gift on your own A better course of action is for the employees to give a gift as a group. This eliminates the possibility of employees trying to one up each other or feeling compelled to give a gift.

Q. When addressing or just posting names on a list if it's a couple, do your write Jane and John Jones or John and Jane Jones? If you are just using first names do you put the woman or man first: John and Jane or Jane and John?

M. R., Enid, OK

A. Traditionally, the woman’s name is listed first: Jane and John Jones or, when using first names, Jane and John. Today, John and Jane Jones and John and Jane are also acceptable. Whichever way you choose, be consistent with your list.

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