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If You Got a Gift From Your Boss, Take Note

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By Michelle Singletary
Thursday, January 4, 2007

I received a note just after Christmas from the head of a small nonprofit organization who was a little bit upset that gifts to her staff were not acknowledged with written thank-you notes.

The executive said she spends about $80 per employee during the holidays for a gift card, small present and lunch to thank them for jobs well done during the year.

So why nary a thank-you note in return? she wondered.

"Maybe my concern is overplayed. I am not sure if they don't think it is much of a gift, or if in today's world people just don't say thank you anymore," the director said, requesting that I not identify her for obvious reasons.

Well, did you get a gift this year from your employer? Have you sent a thank-you note yet?

Perhaps you didn't send one because you thought it was like receiving a paycheck: no thanks necessary.

However, if you receive a gift from your employer you should send a thank-you note, according to Pam Harvit, a corporate etiquette and protocol consultant who also writes the "Mind Your Manners" column for the Sunday Gazette-Mail in Charleston, W.Va.

"Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do," Harvit said. "Not sending a thank-you note may appear as if an employee feels entitled to the gift or bonus."

You are entitled only to compensation for your work. A gift at the holiday is an extra treat worthy of a written thank-you.

Who gets the note? Send it to your immediate supervisor who, in turn, should pass it to his or her supervisor, Harvit said.

What about all the holiday gifts you received from friends or family members? They too, deserve handwritten thank-you notes, according to experts. Notice I didn't say "require."

A thank-you note should be given "freely" and "with grace and sincerity," said Sherri Athay, a gift consultant and author of "Present Perfect: Unforgettable Gifts for Every Occasion."


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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