Funny, we wouldn't have National Boss Day if it weren't for a secretary named Patricia Bays Haroski, who was working for State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois one day in 1958 when she decided to register "National Boss' Day" as a special day with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As the story goes, she meant to choose her boss's birthday, October 8, as the big day. She must have been confused, however, because her boss's birthday was actually October 16, which would be a totally understandable mistake if her boss wasn't also her dad. Anyway, the appropriate scheduling changes were made, National Boss Day became a registered holiday in Illinois in the early 1960s, and employees everywhere were suddenly dispatched with the task of trying to say something nice to the boss on October 16.
Skip ahead to the 21st Century, where we have a wide array of boss-thanking options, thanks to online shopping and cheap stuff Fabrique En Chine. Maybe you can buy something small for your boss, such as a nice Hallmark card? Wait, wrong set of cards. Try this one. You can always send a free Boss Day e-card, too.
If you want to spend a little bit of real money, you might give your boss a coffee mug stuffed with chocolates or wrapped pieces of biscotti -- or whatever your boss snacks on between useless status update meetings. Tens of websites abound with ideas.
There's always the last-minute option of wandering into a store to find something on the fly, or hitting up the gas station convenience store on your way to work. Remember to buy the premium nut mix this time (e.g., "no peanuts"). And who doesn't love the Slim Jim pepperoni sticks? Put them in the coffee mug or vase you just found on clearance at Home Goods during your lunch break, because you're not spending real money on your boss until we enter Dotcom Era 2.0 and you get a giant raise. Okay, Slim-Jims-in-a-coffee-mug is a strange idea perhaps, but we live in strange times. It's a mixed metaphor of mixed meat proportions in our mixed-up economy. But it's something, which makes you look like you remembered, and that's the whole point since bosses need love, too. And another status update ASAP.
Seattle leadership development and training firm Fierce Inc. surveyed 1,700 corporate executives and employees recently, and more than three-fourths (80%) said the most important thing a boss can do is to ask for employee input and value it. More than one-third (37%) think the boss should also offer constructive feedback. I take your input and raise you a compliment for contributing.
So bosses, if you don't get the good candies on National Boss Day -- or you get totally shafted -- then you might want to cancel this week's status update meetings and ponder your management style. Message: I care.
Employees, you'll have to put a few minutes into this today between status update meetings. How will you thank the job creator in your life? I know, I know: It's just another thing on your plate when you already have too much to do. C'est la vie, because tramps like us were born to run to the corner strip mall on our morning break.
Whatever you do, however, don't give your boss a big bear hug because surveys show he or she probably wouldn't like it very much. With any luck, the boss won't write off Administrative Professionals Week this time.
Update: This post is so last year! Click here to read this year's edition entitled "What Bosses Really Want On National Boss Day 2013."