A Gift for Martha

Martha is always so stylish. I love to see her new outfits after the holidays — she comes in dressed to the nines. On Valentine’s Day, Martha sports a beautiful pink sundress. On Halloween, her costumes are elaborate and detailed; she often spends weeks making something special for the occasion.

But when it comes to her office supplies, Martha never treats herself. Her mouse pad is the most basic model, her desk chair is no-frills and even her Post-it pads are predictably yellow.

This February marks Martha’s second year anniversary with the company, and since she never treats herself, I think it’s a great opportunity to show her how much we care. She deserves a bit of pampering!

I float the idea of a spa day by the other staff.

“Martha tried a massage once,” Brigid tells me, “and it totally creeped her out.”

How about a gift certificate to her favourite restaurant?

“Martha’s a great cook,” Andy says, “and she prefers to eat at home.”

I was stuck. But then, the Office Plus catalogue arrived and I saw something just perfect for fashionable Martha — a ladies tote. Currently, she carries her laptop in a backpack she’s owned since high school. An upgrade would be perfect!


I take my flyer over to Brigid’s desk for a second opinion.

“The Kensington Business Tote?!” Brigid beams. “I’ve been eyeing that myself…”

“So you think it’s a good idea?” I ask.

“Definitely. Martha’s outfits are always so put together, and then she just throws that old backpack on. This tote doesn’t even look like a laptop bag!”

It’s settled. I place my order and eagerly await Martha’s anniversary date. When the bag arrives, I put it in a polka dot gift bag and get everyone at the office to sign a card.

Before I know it, it’s the big day.

“Martha,” I say as I sneak up to her desk. She’s focused on her screen, and doesn’t look up at me.

“Mhmm,” she says, still distracted.

“I have a little something for you,” I say. I take the gift bag from behind my back and place it on her desk. I can see everyone around the office watching us, scooting their chairs a little closer to see Martha’s reaction.

Excited successful women peeking in shopping bags smiling

I’m nervous as she reads the card, removes the tissue paper from the bag and reaches in for her tote. I really hope she likes it.

“Oh, Rona!” she exclaims. “What a gorgeous purse.” She opens the bag and runs her fingers along the vibrant orange interior. “It’s a laptop bag?!”

“Yes! I thought it was just fashionable enough for our stylish Martha.”

She smiles at me. “Thank you,” she says as she stands to look around the office. “Thank you, all!”

Martha sits down and empties her backpack onto her desk, sorting her belongings into the new ladies tote.

“Does this mean I can shred that ratty old backpack?” Andy yells from across the room.

“Andy,” Brigid replies, “if you break the shredder one more time…”

Everyone in the office shares a laugh at Andy’s expense. He shrugs — it’s true, we had to replace the shredder just a few months ago. While the office is buzzing with laughter, I breathe a sigh of relief that I chose the right gift. These are my favourite moments at work — my employees are happy. As a boss, there’s no better feeling.


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