I am in a small group of close-knit people, and our boss is moving on to a different position in another country.We have all decided on a gift for him, but a debate has started as to whether or not to include the intern in the gift giving process.I have a family to support and am not in a position to lose this job or to walk away before I have something else lined up. I don’t feel great about it, but I can’t think of any viable alternatives.
But if he doesn’t — or if you’re just not sure or have any doubts — it’s reasonable to act accordingly.I see a lot of conversation on your site about whether or not you should invite your boss to your wedding, but I find myself in the opposite situation.My employee invited me to her wedding, which is coming up in a few months. I manage her and one other employee, and she invited us both (plus guests).The principle here is to avoid making people feel pressured to spend money on a gift for a manager, especially when they make less money than you or the gift recipient.And it doesn’t matter how much you stress that he’s under no obligation to contribute; lots of people will feel obligated to contribute anyway.It’s like I explained when we started working together — as a consultant, I can attend occasional meetings, but the majority of the time, I work from my own workspace.” Be direct and don’t sound annoyed, just pleasantly matter-of-fact.If he continues to push after this, you should hold firm in response, and at some point may need to say, “It sounds like you’re looking for more of an on-site employee than a contractor.So — don’t ask him for money toward the gift, but do ask him if he’d like to sign the card (assuming there’s an accompanying gift) and don’t do anything to distinguish between the gift-givers and the card-signers.(In other words, present the gift as from all of you, rather than the gift being from one group and the card being from another.) You could say it to him this way: “Hey, we’re giving Fergus this amazing rice sculpture that we found on Etsy. I’m currently in a leadership position within a small, growing company where I report directly to the CEO/founder. In these discussions about my future role, which are occurring almost daily at this point, my boss asks me where my heart is in terms of committing to the company and seeing his vision through into the next phase of our growth and beyond.Knowing that I work remotely, does it make sense to continue to work together?” (Of course, if you say this, you’d need to be prepared for the answer to be no! Should we ask our intern to be part of a gift to our boss?