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25 Terrible Gift Ideas for Administrative Professionals Day

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By William Peacock, Esq. on April 23, 2014 2:02 PM

It's Administrative Professionals Day! You didn't forget, did you? It's okay -- you're new to practice.

Well, you still have a little bit of time. How about shopping on your lunch break? In fact, we have a few gift ideas that can help. Of course, since this is last-minute, we want to make sure that you don't double-down on your mistake and buy a late and terrible gift.

Here's a list of terrible, terrible ideas, crowd-sourced from our writing staff:

  • Soap and/or lotion baskets (too intimate, while somehow being too generic at the same time)
  • Office supplies (remember when you bought your spouse a vacuum cleaner?)
  • Cleaning supplies (administrative professional does not equal janitorial staff, and even if it did, this isn't a gift)
  • Booze (unless you really know the recipient and his or her tastes ... imagine accidently handing scotch to your newly-hired alcoholic)
  • Soap on a rope (even if there are administrative professionals in prison ...)
  • Teeth-whitening kits (who does that?)
  • Self-help books (what are you trying to say? I'M FINE AS IS, JERK!)
  • Cat calendars (or any paper calendar for that matter -- what is this, 1995?)
  • AA batteries (don't ask)
  • Scales, Diet books (and anything else that screams, "You're fat!")
  • Beauty products, such as hair dye, nail polish, etc. (again, unless you know his or her favorite shade of polish)
  • Any clothing whatsoever (issues of recipient's taste, and the fallout from buying the wrong size)
  • A cactus (this is debatable -- some of us like low maintenance plants, but a jade plant is definitely less prickly)
  • Bland gift cards (though $30 to Amazon.com or on a prepaid credit card might be useful, it shows no thought whatsoever)
  • Obscure gift cards (how many of these are sitting on my desk right now? Home Depot? Am I Bob freaking Vila?)
  • Coffee mug (unless it's extremely well matched to the recipient)
  • Handmade crap (his kids probably make enough friendship bracelets and bird houses to tide him over)
  • A card, with nothing else (this is like leaving a 5 percent tip after great service)
  • Clocks (are bad in some cultures, but not in others. In fact, here's a list of traditional Chinese no-nos for gifts.)
  • Fruit baskets (nobody celebrates with a friggin' pear)
  • Re-gifts (if you didn't want it, they probably don't either)
  • Termination (never fire someone on a birthday, Administrative Professionals Day, or near major religious or secular holidays)
  • Nothing at all (seriously, you didn't forget again, did you?)

That leaves ... almost nothing. Let's hope your staff isn't as sensitive as ours. Might we suggest offering a paid day (or afternoon) off instead?

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