My office colleagues are coordinating a Secret Santa gift exchange. I don’t celebrate Christmas and don’t want to exchange gifts, but I also don’t want to ruin any relationships. Should I complain since I think it is politically incorrect, or just politely decline?
I would never recommend that someone keep their feelings to themselves about anything that makes them uncomfortable at work. Gift exchanging is not just a Christmas tradition — it is universal. If the name “Secret Santa” is what is offending you, then it is a good idea to suggest any other common name for the exchange that doesn’t relate to a specific tradition. If you just feel strongly about not exchanging fun, modest gifts with colleagues regardless, then you can politely decline. But if the latter is the real issue, keep in mind two things. First, most people don’t look forward to the practice because finding just the right gift at the right price given all of the sensitivities at work is just one more stressor during the holiday season. However, they still participate because, well, it is the holiday season and it is supposed to be fun, and you go along to get along. So how much of an issue you make this depends on how important this is to you.
We get our 2019 bonuses in February 2020. I have a job offer and the new employer is willing to wait until March for me to start. Is it unethical to give notice only after I get my bonus?
It may not even be an ethical question — your employer may have a policy of paying bonuses for the previous year even if you give notice before the bonus is paid. Some employers require that the employee has to be on payroll at the time bonuses are paid, in which case every employer expects an uptick in resignations after bonus time. If that’s how your company operates, I wouldn’t sweat waiting. You can also try to negotiate with your new employer to make up any difference so you can give notice right away and start your new job sooner. That is common, too. Bottom line: Neither your current or new employer would expect you to walk away from a hard-earned bonus a few weeks before it is paid.
Gregory Giangrande has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources executive. E-mail your career questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Greg on Twitter: @greggiangrande. His Go to Greg podcast series is available on iTunes.