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Q: I want to give my new boss a gift as a way to thank him for hiring me. What do you think?
I got a job and start last Monday. I feel honored and grateful for this opportunity and want to give my boss a present. The gift I want to give him is a knight with both hands out holding a pen. So it’s a little fancy pen holder. Think it’s too far or weird?
A: Nooooo, do not do that. Your boss didn’t hire you as a favor; he hired you because he thought you were the best person for the job. A gift will be weird. Do not do it.
I know it’s easy to feel gratitude when you’re hired, but it’s really not a gratitude situation; this is a two-way business arrangement. The mental positioning you want is this: You’re excited to be there and happy for the opportunity, but you’re bringing at least as much value as the paycheck they’re giving you in exchange for that.
(Plus you don’t really know your new boss at this point and can’t judge if he’d like the gift or not. Maybe he had a terrible experience with a knight once. The point is, you don’t know him well enough for gift-giving.)
Q: Should I have to ask to be promoted, or should my performance be enough?
I work in the finance department for a nonprofit with about 25 total employees. My primary responsibility is to manage the organization’s main database. Over the past four years, I have gotten high marks on my performance reviews, the most current being 4.6 points out of a possible 5 points. My boss and other coworkers have commented on how much of a leader I have become in the department and I’ve asked for (and taken) additional courses to do my job better, yet I am still in the same position I have been for the last 10 years! Other people in my department have been promoted in that time period. Shouldn’t my performance and initiative be enough to get promoted or do I have to ask?
A: You have to ask. Sometimes, at least. It’s true that sometimes you can get promoted without explicitly asking, but it’s definitely not a given. You should tell your manager that you’re interested in taking on additional responsibilities and ask what it would take to get promoted into a position like role X or Y. It’s possible that in a 25-person organization, there might not be a clear promotion path out of your position, but if that’s the case, that will be useful to hear too (so at that point you can decide if you want to stay there knowing that or if you’d rather look at other positions elsewhere).