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‘Tis the Season – Colleague’s Gift Does Not Require Reciprocation

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By Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.

RISMEDIA, Dec. 20, 2008-(MCT)-Q. I was just given a small Christmas gift by one of my coworkers. We are on a three-person team, and she also gave a present to the other team member.

Since I don’t manage these people, I’ve never felt compelled to give them gifts of any sort. Furthermore, they complain constantly about everything I do, so any token of appreciation would be insincere. Is it wrong to accept this gift without giving one back?

A. Presumably, your coworker simply wanted to spread holiday cheer and had no expectation of reciprocation. Or at least that’s the spirit in which gifts should be given. So I don’t think you need to balance the scales with an emergency shopping trip.

Next year, your merry colleague will have to decide whether she wants to continue her one-sided holiday generosity. And if she does, you can again decide whether to respond.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.” Send in questions and get free coaching tips at www.yourofficecoach.com.

© 2008, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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