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Hashtag: Grown-up Problems

I spend so much time in my working life silently assuring myself of how smart and self-superior I am that I’m almost grateful for those (not so) rare occasions when I realize I know nothing (Jon Snow). There are simply some things they don’t teach you in school; but luckily you can learn them on the internet! Like, on this blog, right here!

In the weeks preceding Christmas, a few flurries of discussion flew about the managers exchanging gifts. Though I’d been a temporary manager in the past, it was never during Holiday, so I wasn’t abreast of the tradition; also, we go through managers like socks, so I’m not sure anyone else was either. As far as I’d heard through the grapevine, no one was exchanging, and fair enough since we make bubkiss and often barely like each other.

HOWEVER, this is where the life lesson comes in. At some point in your life, you will have to work with other people, be it in an office or a store or somewhere MUCH BETTER (Are there such places? Are they hiring? I digress.) When the holidays roll around, people will mull gift-giving practices. They may claim this is not being done. THIS IS A LIE! An egregious, horrendous lie designed, as my dad would say, “to make you look bad.”

And so it came to pass that during the Christmas of 2012, not only did all three of the senior managers give gifts to everyone else (including me), but so did the Holiday Manager! And thus was I outdone and became the self-proclaimed “Biggest Asshole of Them All.” Seriously. What a dick.

I felt commensurately bad about my empty-handedness when receiving all these gifts, and was uniformly told that it wasn’t a big deal, that that wasn’t the point, that it doesn’t matter. And maybe that’s true. Maybe I can give my coworkers the benefit of the doubt and agree that they really didn’t expect anything in return. But let’s be real, I don’t want to spend the whole next year as That Asshole. And in fairness to me, I’m not just trying to save face; I appreciate this (uncharacteristic!) show of kindness at the holidays, and want to reciprocate. I take true joy in choosing gifts for my family, and it’s time to turn that instinct on the people I spend more time with than anyone in my actual family.

So now I’m faced with the task of buying those oddly impersonal “Coworker Gifts” that always get a suggestion list on Amazon.com for the first time; and late at that! All will be well. I’ll skew my gifts in a “Happy New Year” direction and include mea culpas in the cards. My gift to you, though, is that you never have to be That Coworker. Learn from my mistakes, young working drones of the world. And Happy Non-Denominational Holidays.

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