What is Boss Day?
Boss' day, although not a federal holiday, is a day dedicated to all employers. It is an opportunity for employees to appreciate their bosses and celebrate them for all that they do. This holiday was created for the purpose of strengthening the relationships between employers and employees. According to an article entitled "Boss's Day 2019, 2020 and further" on calendar-365.com this holiday dates back to 1958 when the concept of National Boss Day was founded by a woman named Patricia Bays Haroski. Haroski, an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois, registered the holiday with the United States Chamber of Commerce. She designated October 16 as the special day because it was her father's birthday, who also just so happened to be her boss. It was four years later in 1962, that Illinois Governor Otto Kerner backed Haroski's registration and officially proclaimed the day a holiday.
When is Boss Day?
Boss's Day is observed, annually, on October 16 in the United States. However, if the 16th of October should fall on a weekend date (Saturday or Sunday) the holiday is observed on the following Monday. This is to insure the holiday lands within the traditional work week, Monday through Friday.
What is the Problem with Boss Day?
There seems to be a bit on controversy surrounding this particular holiday. On one hand, Boss' day is an opportunity to express your appreciation to your employer for all of the amazing work that they do for you and for the company. On the other hand, Boss' day is observed by some as an obligation to appreciate their boss'. Author for money.usnews.com, Alison Green, claims five reason why the holiday shouldn't be celebrated
Bosses are … the boss
According to Green, being the Boss already gets you plenty of perks. Mostly through monetary value. Being the boss is a position that comes with power dynamics which make it inappropriate to solicit recognition from people below you, especially if it feels obligatory.
Obligatory appreciation means very little
Not all boss' are created equal. Some of us might not have a great boss or even a good one, for that matter. And, it never feels good to reward someone for a job they haven't done well. Often employees feel obligated to contribute to boss' day in some way or another. Green writes that appreciation on this day is offered up under its auspices suspect. Supervisors have no way of distinguishing between the employee who's sincerely glad for the chance to tell their boss how much they enjoy working together and the employee who is acting out of obligation (real or perceived) in an effort to maintain their standing with the person who signs their paychecks.
It creates inappropriate monetary pressure on employees
The pressure is on to get the boss a gift and many employees feel obligated to spend money on a gift. Being that the employer is often the highest paid person in the company it isn't really fair for employees to feel that they have to to buy something for their boss'. Green states that in many offices, the expectations have turned into celebrations that involve employees' money in order to buy gifts and/or meals. Often these gifts are group expenditures which leaves employees worried about how not chipping will make them look bad.
Good boss' don't want gifts from their subordinates
Green argues that good boss' don't want to receive gifts from their employees. Good boss' are sensitive to the power dynamics (and often financial disparities) that exist between supervisors and employees. They don't want employees feeling obligated to fund this type of thing. So, the holiday ends up rewarding the bosses who care little that their subordinates feel pressured to give them gifts.
It doesn't follow etiquette
Green reports that traditional etiquette says quite clearly that any gift-giving in the workplace should be from a boss to an employee and not the other way around. The idea is that people shouldn't feel obligated to purchase gifts for someone who has power over their livelihood, and supervisors shouldn't benefit from the power dynamic in that way.
Although there seems to be some debate about if Boss' Day should even exist or not, celebrating those that you truly appreciate is never a bad idea. There are many ways to celebrate someone without having to spend much time or money on them. If you have a boss that you wish to appreciate here are a few ways to celebrate them this Boss' day.
Tell your boss what they mean to you
Send your boss a heartfelt message and turn that traditional homemade greeting card into a true keepsake. You could also present them with a handwritten letter thanking them for the inspiration and dedication they've shown you. A handwritten letter or note is very personal. It says so much more to the recipient than an electronic message. But, you could also write an email expressing your gratitude. It might feel more appropriate to write an email message if you haven't known the boss for very long. Either way, taking the time to write out a message (no matter what format you choose) is something the boss will always appreciate.
Help out on the job
Try an intangible gesture. Ask your boss what step you could take to make their work load a little easier on Boss' day. Often a chance to grow as a professional is requested of you. After all, good boss' want you to grow and succeed. If you could help your boss with at least one of their higher profiled tasks or responsibilities, you've proven yourself to have some executive level skills. This is a great way to help any employee gain recognition throughout the company. No matter what, the offer to go above and beyond your job's responsibilities will always be appreciated by your boss.
Should You Buy a Gift for Your Boss?
Under absolutely no circumstances should you feel obligated to buy your boss a gift on Boss' day! Showing appreciation has never been limited to purchasing gifts for people. If you would like to provide more than a simple gesture (like writing a letter) to your awesome boss on boss' day, we have a few creative suggestions for you.
Gift Ideas for Boss's Day
Make a Magazine Cover
Find a photo of your boss. Preferably a nice one. Nothing embarrassing, please! Then create a magazine cover using a program such as Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, Microsoft Publisher, or Canva. Add a few of their common sayings, or something a little fun, and then have it printed. Only do this if your office already has one of these programs listed above. Don't go purchasing programs just to make the boss a gift.
Take a scheduled break and have a simple award ceremony. Have a private team meeting with only your colleagues (no supervisors allowed) and have a vote on which supervisors get what title.
Create Jovial Trophies or Badges
Using materials from around the office, you can create plenty of fun awards for the boss. Here are just a few examples...
- Best Dressed Boss
- The Coolest Supervisor
- The Funniest Boss
- Most Congenial Supervisor
- Holds Company Record for the Most Coffee Ever Consumed
Create a Thank You Video
Most phones have great quality video cameras and you don't have to be a professional videographer to create one. Wait until the boss is out one day or on their lunch. Then walk around the office to have the team record very short thank you messages. Once you've collected all of your thank you messages for the video upload it to YouTube (setting the video to private if you wish). On boss' day post the link to your company website or social media pages. Your boss will love the thought that went into it and will no doubt look back fondly at the video as years pass.
Who's the Boss?
Are you the boss? If you are this little bit is for you to keep in mind when celebrating this holiday.
Do not expect or hint that you expect any sort of gift. No matter how good your are at being the boss, appreciation from your employees should never be provoked.
This aligns with a universal rule more commonly known as Miss Manners' rule. Judith Martin (AKA Miss Manners) was speaking specifically about Christmas gifts when this rule of etiquette was established. But, regardless of the holiday, it is a rule we should all take into consideration during this holiday. She says:
"You should not be giving presents to your boss. It's the boss who should be giving the present if anyone does, and it should be a bonus or failing that, extra time off."
Remember, there are many ways for employees to show their appreciation without having to purchase or provide funds for a gift.