I had a small laugh this morning, and a great sense of “I’m glad I’m not young anymore.” This morning’s BBC Headlines email, one always full of interesting topics, offered this one: “At the office, who gets a gift?”
“Awkward at work: from bosses to colleagues, who to buy for and what to give at the holidays.” That was the topic of the BBC article. Boy, they have every situation covered. Times sure have changed sing I was in the work force. I was lucky to be able to retire in 1980, way before the holiday season ‘traditions’ got way out of hand. I never had these problems. I do know the big boss gave always gave a lovely present to his secretary. I know she never gave one to him. None of the rest of us ever had to think about giving or receiving – and receiving can be just as fraught with problems.
Christmas at the bank consisted first of getting out the hundreds of Christmas Club checks in November – a real chore in the days before we computerized the process. Soon there were tasteful decorations in the public areas of the bank. Profit-sharing bonuses came next. (Oh, the stories I could tell about that time of year, and who wailed and moaned because they expected more, and who already had it spent.) In mid-December we were treated to a lovely dinner with our spouses and significant others, though then we didn’t call them that then, at a wonderful local restaurant. Every one of us looked forward to that dinner because the menu was basically the same, and delicious, every year. Oh, I remember the lobster bisque was divine, and it has been a favorite of mine ever since. For dessert we always had the big boss’s favorite: Peach Melba. But I digress!
Gifts? Not really like it is today. The salesman for one of the companies that printed checkbooks always gave elegant gifts to all the platform secretaries. They, of course, were the ones who handled account openings and could direct sales. This man himself was elegant. Dressed handsomely, drove an elegant open saloon car. When I was a teller, I loved to seem him arrive at the bank. My window faced the front door, and that’s where he usually parked. I even remember his name after all these years. But I’ve digressed again!
Perhaps a depositor customer would bring in a box of candy or a plate of cookies. Perhaps the Head Teller got a few personal gifts. And, of course, the bank gave out those little desk calendars – almost useless, but hey, they were a freebie. But that was the extent of gifts at the office. I suppose some real go-getter somewhere started the gift giving circus. Perhaps it was happening all those years and I was lucky to work where I did. I’m really glad I’m not young any more.