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I moved offices in the middle of this year, and as a consequence I lost my lovely and very helpful administrative assistant to a Partner who was staying where she was. Since August, I have had a new, and also quite helpful, administrative assistant. I am very demanding of my assistant’s time. I am not an inconsiderate jerk, but I am very busy and thus need to delegate small tasks like copies, scheduling rooms, making binders and creating indices quite often. Both have been quite helpful in the past year.
Should I be splitting my customary holiday gift between the two of them? Right now I am thinking 60% for my original assistant and 40% for my new assistant. What are your thoughts? And how much should I pay out? $200? $150?
— King Solomon Emeritus
Dear King Solomon Emeritus,
The holidays are a time for family, friends and quiet self-reflection. And if you’re a secretary, they’re also a time for judging and bragging. Within hours of receiving your gift, the entire secretarial staff is aware that you purchased a $96 Omaha Steaks gift card for your admin, and has swiftly judged you for the 20% decrease in desirability and price from last year’s $120 Dead Sea mud wrap gift certificate.
This system obviously rules out splitting your $200 gift 60/40 between your old and new secretaries, respectively, unless you feel like booking your own conference rooms in the future. And even if you didn’t have your 2 secretaries/1 wallet problem, cash only is never a good idea anyway because the thing with money is that people can sometimes figure out how much you spent.
On Wednesday’s open thread, several commenters stated that they were giving their secretaries some cash amount and a “small gift.” Your d*ck in a box won’t cut it, but after the jump there is a list of presents that will.
- Monet Water Lilies calendars
- Scented Candles
- Precious Moments angel figurines
- Body mist, lotions and other crap from Bath & Body Works
- Ferrero Rocher
- Picture frames
- “Life’s a Beach” mugs
- Glass plaque inscribed with “Footprints in the Sand”
- Josh Groban CD
- Matching glove and earmuff sets
- Cirque du Soleil tickets
- Heroes of 9/11 documentary
- Mohegan Sun chips
- Lottery tickets
- Dunkin Donuts cards
- Chicos gift certificate
- “Highest Duty” by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger
- Gel wrist supports
- Angels & Demons DVD
And, for the record, here are some gifts secretaries don’t want:
- Affliction t-shirts
- Anything related to the iPhone
- Wine (unless it’s Sherry)
- Skinny jeans
Hope this helps, and happy holidays!
If you have a male secretary, consider giving him a penis.
Fee fi fo fum,
Knuckle-dragging sexist troll