Last week amidst a very hectic morning I found a large black box inside a large brown paper bag placed carefully on my desk. The only packages I receive are small food deliveries or fabric samples in plastic courier bags. My birthday is some months away and Diwali, well I actually have no idea when Diwali is.
Someone said my food delivery had arrived. Another asked if I’d ordered pizza, because clearly that was an extremely large pizza just for one person. I wasn’t expecting anything or anyone. The last time I saw a parcel of that size, it was an unsolicited gift from an Indian supplier. Not quite sure why suppliers believe a long sleeve shirt might swing my business – surely if it doesn’t fit you’ve basically given me an extra job of having to now find a tailor to adjust it? And so on your account I’ve now had to waste my time and money. You kind of see where my thoughts were going right?
So I went into bomb threat protocol, creating a crazy amount of commotion in our open plan office. “Who brought this? What is it?”. I didn’t dare touch it. Somehow the delivery rider hadn’t yet left and so he was quickly summoned back in, security reasons and whatnot. He said it was a delivery from Buffer Customs. Having never heard of them, I heard ‘customs’ and immediately thought “great, KRA yet again”. We’ve had some various imports and exports happening in the last few weeks and each usually have their own chicken and egg story where something can’t happen because another hasn’t happened, and the latter cannot happen because the former hasn’t happened. You get the drift. And I’m sure you know how exhausting this can be if you’ve experienced it before.
The rider then called his office and I spoke to a lady who said it’s a gift. Taken aback, by reflex I blurted out “from who?”. She said there’s a card inside the big black dangerous box.
You see receiving gifts that aren’t food in the last 5 years has been few and far between. I buy myself gifts. I don’t know how to receive gifts – but that’s for another day. So you might be able to imagine my surprise. I half expected it to be a practical joke as well. Maybe an exploding something. Or a water squirting flower.
So I put my mask on. Found some latex gloves and proceeded to lift one edge of the box very slowly. Maybe a kitten might pop-out? If it was a kitten that would have been kind of cool and kind of scary. What would I do with a cat?!
I saw some plastic wrapping. And then something that looked like it had my name printed on it. So I took the lid off and had all these items staring at me, all with my name printed on it. A journal folder with the message of the day on it, “dreaming space”. The greeting card was in a white envelope so I pulled that out…
Since when do I get celebrated as cool? And on top of that, coolest boss? Who is this that hasn’t had another boss? I was really waiting for the practical joke. Is it normal to give a gift to your boss?
Inside the card was a message in the context of customer service week. I have taken calculated risks in certain people – some have done really well and obviously some have been total flops. It was a heart-warming message full of gratitude for having taken a risk and believing in their abilities to do something quite complicated – I was being celebrated as a customer by one of my own.
Being tagged as the coolest boss ever is difficult to accept. So often I have to take decisions that definitely don’t make me the coolest boss. They are the decisions that are in the best interest of the business in that moment and are not always favourable to the employees. So what makes you judge your boss to be good or not? Cool or not?
A few days later I am still in denial about the whole idea of being thanked and receiving a gift (or a bomb threat). I also don’t know how to use some of the items in this box. Like the vacuum flask has this strainer at the top – am I meant to put tea, coffee or a slice of lemon on it? 🙂