What Do You Want from Your Boss This Holiday Season?
During the homestretch leading up to the new year, bosses often become generous and kind -- traits no one knew they were capable of exhibiting. Credit the holidays, the year-end bonuses or the paid time off for your boss' newfound transformation from Scrooge to philanthropist. Regardless, you might as well enjoy it before it disappears.
Tradition suggests the holiday season -- whether or not you observe any holidays -- is the prime opportunity to get all those things you've been wanting. While you might look to your family or friends to get the expensive watch you've been hinting at, you hope the boss will give you the workplace treats only he or she can dole out: a raise, a promotion or an unlimited expense account.
When you think about what the average employee wants from his or her boss, you might expect starry-eyed wishes that no one (short of a fairy godmother) could grant. Given the chance, however, many employees would ask the boss for simple upgrades in their daily lives. As nice as the corner office would be, signs of respect would be just as appreciated.
A little respect
If she could have anything in the (professional) world, Catherine K., a worker who asked to remain anonymous, wishes her boss would uphold his end of their professional agreement.
"If you could actually give me a performance review this year, that would be splendid," she asks in her imaginary wish list. "And maybe a cost-of-living raise. I haven't gotten either in almost two years now."
Megan R. wants her hard-nosed boss to give her a little leeway when conditions are out of her control.
"Be flexible," she beseeches. "And when you say you're flexible, mean it. Life happens."
Her boss' rigidity isn't only an annoyance, it's also a sign that he doesn't value her, her efforts or, perhaps most importantly, her time. She also wishes they could have fewer meetings, as many of them are "pointless." And when she's out of tasks for the day, she'd like for her boss to let her go home rather than stay and do nothing. She adds to the list, "Stop micromanaging me."
At first glance, you might think Megan and Catherine are complainers or that their bosses are unfit to lead anyone. Yet, their wish lists aren't comprised of outlandish requests that will upend the company hierarchy. Many of these issues can be addressed in one-on-one meetings, which will hopefully be more productive than what Megan normally sits through.
Many bosses might not recognize a gap exists between what they're doing and what their employees perceive. Catherine's boss might think she's doing such a good job that she doesn't need a performance review. Perhaps financial reasons prevent him from giving her a raise, but he's never explained it to her. Megan's boss might show his support by being active in his employees' daily activities, but he ends up coming across as overbearing instead. This holiday season, the employees might have to give the boss a little nudge to get what they want.
Lighthearted gifts ... sorta
Several employee requests are humorous, but like any good comedy, truth lurks beneath the jokes. Each wish, even when funny, suggests some bosses aren't taking the time to check in with their employees and make sure everyone's on the same page. As a result, employees wonder if they're even on the boss' radar.
Here are a few gifts employees would like wrapped in a pretty box this year:
- Please don't turn off the heat again this year and open all the doors when it's 30 degrees outside. It's bad enough that we freeze in the summer with 60-degree air conditioner settings. If you must turn our office into an icebox, maybe you could get us new coats for Christmas? I promise to use mine all year long.
- In the spirit of the holidays, perhaps you could stop saying, 'You don't want to have kids. People without kids are just as happy as people who do have them.' Little do you know I'm hoping to be pregnant by Christmas. I won't be the jolliest employee if you keep making comments like this.
- Think before you speak; speak in complete sentences; and finish a sentence within a minute. It shouldn't take you five minutes to speak two sentences!
- Get me an office that doesn't block the sunlight. I'm turning into a vampire here.
- One thing I want for Christmas is for the bathroom in our small office to be soundproofed. My desk is separated from the single unisex bathroom by a five-foot cube wall, a five-foot walkway and the bathroom door -- which isn't nearly enough. I can hear everything that goes on in there.
Copyright 2008 CareerBuilder.com
Anthony Balderrama writes for CareerBuilder.com and its job seeker and workplace blog, TheWorkBuzz.com. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/abalderramamore...