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Memo to staff: July 2

Posted at 10:30 AM on April 24, 2007 by Bill Wareham

I get a lot - a lot - of news releases touting studies showing some trend that the writers insist will be of interest to our audience. The vast majority get a cursory glance and go off to a recycling bin, real or virtual.

But this one struck me as particularly bizarre because it bears absolutely no relationship to my experience in the real world:

Mentor, OH (April 24, 2007)—A new survey conducted by WorkPlace Media, the leading marketer to the at-work consumer, found that 57% of working Americans plan to buy their boss a birthday present this year, with nearly one-fourth of those workers planning to spend $50 or more.

Of the Americans who would purchase a birthday present for their boss, the majority— nearly 60%—will spend less than $50. Alternatively, only 3% are big spenders, planning to dish out over $100. Fifty-two percent of workers purchase presents while on the boss’s dime, using work hours to purchase gifts online.

“Many times colleagues will pitch in to buy their boss a birthday gift—a thought that is much appreciated by the head honcho,” said Jeff Lehman, Vice President of WorkPlace Media. “Although never mandatory, there’s little downside to buying a gift for your boss—it can certainly impress them and may even help you get ahead in the long run.”

The WorkPlace Media survey was conducted among a national sample of 1,000 U.S. employees at companies with 20-2,000 employees.

I'm willing to take the chance that my disbelief comes at some risk to my career.