DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Late last year my company responded to a huge RFP (request for proposal) for the biggest government contract we ever competed on. The RFP process was intense, requiring the team assigned to it to work incredibly long hours for nearly two solid weeks straight. The good news was we won the bid over some stiff competition.
As a reward for our hard work, our big boss gave everyone on the team a generous cash bonus, and gift cards tailored to each of us for something he thought we would most enjoy. One guy got a round of golf at a PGA course near us, one woman a cabin rental at a state park she and her husband like to take their kids to, and someone else who loves to cook got a hefty gift card for his favorite specialty grocery store. Mine was a full-service package at a day spa I’ve been talking about since they opened.
When I told my parents about the personalized bonuses, they thought my boss’s choice for me was a little weird, and maybe a little too personal. I don’t see how. It isn’t like he got me a gift card for Victoria’s Secret FFS. He knows I have been wanting to go to this spa and I think it was nice of him to pick something I could really enjoy. My dad, especially, thinks this is some kind of move by my boss, who is a very married guy, and in whom I have no interest at all.
Are my parents being the weird ones, or am I missing something here? --- WHY BE SUSPICIOUS
DEAR WHY BE SUSPICIOUS: It’s not weird for parents to be concerned about their kids, no matter how old those kids are. It seems, given the last part of your question, that perhaps you have at least considered the possibility that there could be something to their worries.
However, it sounds like your boss clearly made an effort to tailor the rewards to the interests of each team member; and if he hasn’t said or done anything to make you feel uncomfortable about the nature of his pick for you, and if its cost is comparable in monetary value to what the other members of your team received, it seems unlikely to me that there are any strings attached to this particular gift of gratitude.