Gifts You Shouldn’t Buy Your Boss

  • Gifts to avoid

    With unemployment in the double digits and expected to rise further, now is not the time to give your boss an easily misconstrued gift. Anyone who says “it’s the thought that counts” has never bought the wrong gift for a corporate higher-up. It’s horribly uncomfortable and could even lead to career problems. The right choice could keep you in their good graces and maybe even lead to a meteoric rise to power in the company. But that’s a different article. Today we’re focusing on gifts to avoid. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    “The Office” on DVD
  • “The Office” on DVD

    Yes it’s a funny show, but do you really want your boss wondering if you think of him or her as your own personal Michael Scott? Your boss might become totally paranoid about what you think of him or her and decide that you should be transferred to the Nebraska office (which wouldn’t be so terrible actually, as Nebraska ranks #1 in MainStreet’s recent Happiness Index). Photo Credit:
    Any self-help or motivational books
  • Any self-help or motivational books

    If you enjoy the self-help aisle, fine, but keep it to yourself. Giving your boss a fresh copy of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People implies that you don’t think they are at all effective at what they do. Unless you want to spend the next few months writing your own book, The 7 Habits of Highly Unemployed People, you’ll avoid giving your boss anything too instructional. Photo Credit:
    Religious items
  • Religious items

    There’s that old adage about keeping politics, sex and religion out of your office conversation. Well maybe there isn’t an actual old adage, but there should be. If you can come up with one, please post it in the comments section. Photo Credit: ciroduran
    Spa gift cards
  • Spa gift cards

    This one ostensibly sounds like an OK choice at first glance – maybe your boss even bought you a spa gift card at one point. But there’s always the possibility that your boss will read it the wrong way and sense you are implying they need to chill out. Also, chances are your boss goes to a higher-end spa than you do. They’ll probably never use that $20 gift certificate for a massage at the eyebrow threading/barber shop/nail salon below the subway station. Also, call me old fashioned, but I personally think it’s weird to buy a gift for any co-worker that may require them to disrobe. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Music

    What could possibly go wrong with buying a nice CD for your boss? It’s practically a law of nature that the higher up a person is in the corporate food chain, the worse their taste in music. The guy in the mailroom? He probably has killer taste, and would genuinely appreciate your gift. Beyond that, there’s just no telling what kind of music people are going to like. You may hit a home run and buy them a CD they’ll love, but you could also get the deer in headlights look. “Thanks, Jim. I never listened to Cannibal Corpse before. They look really… interesting.” Save yourself the stress and give them an iTunes gift card instead: Yani and Matchbox 20 are only a few clicks away. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Weird museums
  • Weird museums

    Don’t give your boss a ticket to the Museum of Sex, to any wax museum whatsoever, to that creepy human body exhibit, or to the touring Titanic artifacts exhibit... Unless you want to imply that their leadership reminds you of a tragically fast-sinking ship. Instead, get them a movie theater gift ticket pack. Then they can choose to go to a freaky movie if that’s what they want. Photo Credit: lyng883
    Inappropriate cards
  • Inappropriate cards

    OK, so if this story has done its job and terrified you into buying your boss a 100% politically correct gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond, then don’t ruin it by putting it in a creepy holiday card. You know the cards I’m talking about… ones with rabid baby Chihuahuas on the cover or a photo of a ninety-year-old on the beach in a thong (I’ve never understood the intended market for those). A card like that could get forwarded straight to HR and then you’ve got a real problem on your hands. Save your depraved sense of humor for your depraved friends. Photo Credit: jwm angrymonkey
    Planners, pocket calendars, etc.
  • Planners, pocket calendars, etc.

    Chances are good your boss uses a smart phone or PDA already. The pocket calendar will go unused. Save a tree and avoid anything that has to do with personal organization, note keeping, or scheduling. It implies that they are disorganized. Photo Credit: Getty Images
  • Goldfish

    When it inevitably dies and gets flushed down the toilet, they will blame you. Every time they see your face, they will be reminded of poor Bubbles, and how they forgot to feed him/her for 8 days and found him slowly decomposing in the wine glass he/she had been living in. Plus, I think a fish is just a weird gift to give someone. Unless it’s fresh salmon. Preferably smoked and on a bagel. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Perfume or cologne
  • Perfume or cologne

    They’re your boss, not your lover... unless perhaps you work at The Late Show. Save the Chanel No. 5 and Axe Bodyspray for another time. Plus it implies that they may be stinky. Photo Credit: Getty Images
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