It’s that time of the year again. “The most wonderful time of the year,” if you want to believe the song. All of a sudden people feel charitable, and want to shower the world with gifts, seventy percent of which will come from China.
Back in my radio days the humble employees of the station would all receive a gift basket from their generous employer. By the size of the basket you could see who was higher up in the ranks.
The cleaner got some moldy, assorted nuts and an exotic jar of pear-cardamon jam. The CFO was gifted several bottles of champagne, smoked wild salmon, caviar, and a variety of exclusive stinky cheeses made by octogenarian Belgian monks.
Of course the upper management would also receive a substantial end-of-the year bonus for showing up to work every day. If someone would suddenly receive a bigger gift basket than usual, we knew a promotion was in the air. In the end, it was all company politics.
I never liked these pretentious stuffed baskets packed with environmentally-unfriendly fillers, huge boxes containing three stale chocolates, and an ugly mug you wouldn’t even pass on to your grannie. “Don’t buy me a basket, save the money and donate it to a good cause,” I told my boss year after year. He never listened.
Now, every year around this time you’ll see talent on social media asking if they should send their clients a little something for Christmas. And if the answer is “yes,” what would be an appropriate gift?
Call me Scrooge, but I never send my clients anything that adds to the landfills of this world. Our planet is suffocating in trash.
“But Paul, don’t you want to invest in the relationship?”
“Well, if that’s you’re purpose, it’s not really giving. You give in the hopes of GETTING something in return.”
Don Lafontaine put it this way, in “Secrets of Voice-Over Success”:
“Don’t suck up, please! Don’t spend a lot of your time and money finding little gifts for your clients or sending thank-you notes after each session. (…) There is no reason to be overly grateful for the work. You’re doing them as much of a favor by performing consistently as they are giving you the job in the first place. It’s a very symmetrical energy.”
Remember: the very best gift is always YOU!
Joshua Alexander says
It’s not that simple, because it’s both, frankly. I am overwhelmingly grateful for my clients, and I pay for premium thank you cards to send them. I have purchased $200 digital (so, no landfill!) gift cards for some of my regular clients in the holiday season, because I LOVE working with them and I want them to know how grateful I am. And they deserve it! But yes! Of course I give to get as well: I want them to know that I am grateful, and I want them to continue coming back to me! Deep in my heart, I know how grateful I am for them. And deep in my mind, I know it’s essential that I treat them right so that they are motivated to continue working with someone who is overwhelmingly grateful.
Paul Vinger says
Great perspective, Paul… for my part, I’d venture that the best gift is relationship!
Cheers – your gift basket’s in the mail.