When the time comes for you to move on to the next career or life opportunity, it is appropriate to give your boss a goodbye gift. The gift should be a small token of gratitude to thank her for helping you succeed in the workplace and providing guidance throughout your tenure. Whatever gift you choose, it should be subtle and demonstrate appreciation. Remember that exchanging gifts in the office should not be broadcast, and the exchange should remain between you and the recipient.
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If you and your boss have a shared interest, give a small gift that celebrates this bond. For example, if you and your boss spent many mornings talking over coffee or visiting a favorite coffee shop, give her a bag of coffee beans with a note saying “Thank you for sharing so many cups of coffee with me.” If you share a favorite author, buy her a nice copy of the latest book and write a grateful inscription. Think about the conversations you had about things besides the company and mine those memories for a thoughtful gift idea.
A Symbol of Something She Taught You
Before leaving your job, think about special opportunities to which your boss exposed you. Think about giving him an object that symbolizes occasions when you learned a great deal from him. For example, if he brought you in to help with a bilingual project in Spanish and English, consider thanking him with a bottle of Spanish wine or a box of Mexican sweets. If he tapped you to accompany him on a meaningful business trip, think about giving him a travel accessory for such trips in the future, such as a passport holder or customized luggage tags.
A Business Memento
If you produced a meaningful document or event together, frame a memento and include a message. For example, if you worked with your boss on designing the company’s annual report, print out a copy of the cover and write a kind message such as “Thank you for guiding me through some incredible projects. We accomplished so much together.” Present the memento to your boss in a handsome frame. You also could give a framed picture of the two of you together with a similar message written on the matte.
Something Sweet to Share
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You also may give your boss something sweet he can share with your coworkers. By baking him a cake or a batch of cookies, you demonstrate your appreciation. Your boss will be happy to share the treats with other staff members, making this a gift that can be paid forward. If your culinary skills are a little shaky, order a cake from the bakery and request a simple message to be written on top, such as “Thank you for everything” or “It has been a wild ride.” Choose a message that leaves a positive feeling after you move on.
Fern Morris has been writing about the arts, culture, etiquette and society since 2004. She has published her work internationally in various magazines, websites, exhibition catalogues and academic journals.