Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Gift Giving Guide For Interns: A response to Lauren

'Tis the season for giving...but is it appropriate to honor your mentor or boss with a gift? Lauren's post made me consider whether or not it is proper etiquette for an intern to show appreciation for someone in the office. My advice is only to give a gift if the sentiments behind it are sincere. 

For example, at the end of my summer internship I presented my mentor with a small Victoria's Secret travel bag filled with lotion and soap. I decided to give her a gift upon ending my internship because we had a fabulous relationship. Even if she did not have a specific assignment for me to do during the day, she made it a point to include me in all of her daily tasks (including e-mails, conference calls, lunch meetings, briefing sessions, etc). Because she went above and beyond, I felt it was only appropriate to express my gratitude. 

So, you might be wondering whether or not you should give your boss a gift. There is no right or wrong answer. Just remember, a little bit goes a long way: the goal is to show appreciation, not how much you can afford. There is no reason to be extravagant because your boss is most likely not expecting anything. Extravagant gifts can be awkward (ie instead of a spa weekend go with a manicure; instead of an ipod go with a case).

Here's a short gift guide to make your job a little easier:

1. A pen
It will constantly remind the recipient of you. Engraving the intitials of your boss is an added touch.

2. Personalized note pad or stationary
Useful and used often.

I don't understand their purpose but it seems like every employee needs one

Restaurants, spas, electronics...you can't go wrong.

5. Chocolates and other food items
Think Godiva...this is a good gift for the whole office to share.

6. Mug
Over the past [insert number] weeks you have formed a relationship with your boss. Based on the knowledge you have gained it should become easy to select a mug that appeals to his or her personal interests.

It is a great idea to give your boss a book related to his or her industry or personal interests.

A handwritten note is an easy and inexpensive way to express your gratitude.


Ending An Internship With Etiquette

I have been looking forward to December break for way too long now and I can't believe it has finally arrived (or is about to arrive within the next few days)! This past semester was filled with juggling classes, homework, extra-curricular activities and a social life. Lucky for me (or arguably unlucky), one thing I didn't have to worry about was an internship.

After talking to one of my friends about her internship this semester, I realized that I forgot many of the ups and downs of the whole experience. One thing she reminded me of is the ending of an internship term. Depending upon where you intern, there can be many good things that come out of it at the end. For example, a recommendation letter or a job. But the most exciting thing can sometimes be a gift!

My friend was telling me that she received a Banana Republic gift card as a goodbye/thank you present. It brought me back to my not so fond days at my internship over the summer. After coffee runs, paper filing, client phone calls and more, I got absolutely nothing in return. The thing is, it's not like I worked for a small start-up company: I worked for a designer. A piece of her collection is not a huge thing to ask for! I don't mean to come off as materialistic or seem like I need some sort of award for my hard work. The internship experience can be considered a gift in itself. However, I just think that it is important for an intern to know that he or she was valued by the person/company he or she worked for. Is that too much to ask?