Sometimes we just don’t think enough about our Boss’s or what they go through to help keep us working and make sure our wages get paid. We often think of them as slave drivers or adversaries with unrealistic expectations of what we can accomplish in a day.

But do we ever stop to think about the work they put into getting new clients, keeping old ones, and ensuring everything moves along smoothly? Mostly not. Boss’ Day reminds us that it’s not all roses at the top of the pecking order either, so be sure to thank your boss for all they do!

History of Boss’ Day

Boss’ Day was created by Patricia Bays Haroski in 1958 when she registered it with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while working as a secretary at State Farm Insurance. The date she selected was her father’s birthday, due in no small part to the fact that she was working for him at the time.

She felt that the work her father did was rarely recognized and that employees rarely showed appreciation for these people who kept their workplaces moving smoothly. By 1979 it had grown popular enough that Hallmark Cards issued a Boss’ Day card to honor the holiday.

It continued to grow in popularity until recent years when growing social awareness and class awareness has led to controversy about its celebration.

There is a power differential between employees and employers, where the employer generally makes more money and has more power overall, and thus it has been posited that Boss’ Day should not be observed and that any gift-giving in the workplace should flow down.

It’s an interesting debate, but we feel that it’s important to recognize that Bosses are people too, and while they may be in a position of greater power, they also have greater responsibility, and their efforts are what gives employees continuing work.

Perhaps both Boss and Employee need to work together to create an environment of teamwork in the workplace, and Boss’ Day can be a good step in that direction.

How to celebrate Boss’ Day

Celebrate Boss’ Day by giving them a nice card, or just stop in and let them know how much you appreciate what they do. If you realize that you don’t really know what their work consists of or what demands are placed on them, Boss’ Day can also be a good opportunity to learn exactly what they do each day to keep your workplace moving smoothly.

The challenge of celebrating Boss’ Day

Not everyone will jump at the thought of lavishing the boss with presents. Not to be cynical, but relationships may be strained and not altogether healthy. In that case, it’d be weird to leave flowers on their desk, although it would be a nice olive branch. Tip: don’t get them an olive branch.

On the flip side, nobody wants to look like they’re cozying up to the decision-maker. Boss’ Day as an employee is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be:

  • Keep it simple – don’t overthink a gift. A card is sincere and says everything that needs saying without going over-the-top. Flowers, however, appear extravagant and may put the boss in a tight spot.
  • Use jokes as cover – a gag gift is always an excellent form of protection. The wittiness and humor outweigh everything, meaning you don’t get labeled the boss’ favorite for the wrong reasons. Who knew whoopie cushions were invented for Boss’ Day?!
  • Say it out loud – don’t want to get them a present, even if it’s a joke? That’s fair, but remember that actions speak louder than words. Research shows that high performers are the ones who understand their role in maintaining relationships. Pulling your weight doesn’t get any easier than saying, “Happy Boss’ Day, boss.” The title of the holiday does 25% of the work!
  • Let HR do it – forget everything you read about maintaining relationships and being the bigger person – that’s what Human Resources is for! Joking aside, presents on Boss’ Day may appear conceited. By getting HR involved in the process, you can keep the head honcho happy without sticking your head out of the parapet.

Why is Boss’ Day worth the effort?

It’s not surprising that some people think it’s a croc and needs abolishing. Okay, “some” is misleading! As decadent as the idea seems, it is well worth the effort for employees. Don’t forget that cozying up to the person who makes decisions can have a powerful impact on a career. And, if you don’t care what people think, that’s all the better!

Mostly, though, Boss’ Day is about showing appreciation and maintaining harmony in the office. Too often, workers forget that those at the top of the corporate ladder are humans and not faceless robots. They would love to be part of the team, but it’s not appropriate. Boss’ Day is that one time it’s okay to remind them that you appreciate the difficulty of their job.

As ever, it’s never a bad move to encourage a day of drinking coffee and eating cake in the workplace!

How should bosses act?

Bosses, if you’re reading this – give your workers a pay rise!

In all seriousness, a leader needs to know the steps to take to accept a gift, and it starts by not encouraging mandatory observation of the holiday. This isn’t North Korea – you’re not the Supreme Leader!

After that, it’s all about saying thank you and being gracious for the thought. Reminding people of their importance, even though it’s not their day, will work wonders, too.

How do you celebrate Boss’ Day as a collective?

Extra Information

Date pattern
October 16th (unless it falls on a weekend - then it's the closest weekday)
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