Overcome shyness when meeting the big boss


Q My regional manager will be at our holiday luncheon. It’s a big problem. I know I should introduce myself, but I’m shy and I don’t know how. To help!

A. Thank you for reaching out and taking the first step. Yes, showing up is a great idea. Keep it simple and succinct, but be prepared to chat for socializing. Just approach the manager and tell him it’s great to meet him, give your name — first and last name. So many people only mention their first name to keep it casual, but definitely mention both your first and last name to keep you memorable. Include your title and how long you’ve been with the company, if you like, then mention something else.

That something else doesn’t have to be work-related – it could be commenting on where the director lives if you’ve visited that place, their favorite sports team if they’ve appeared on various calls and more. Finally, enjoy the process! I know it might sound weird, but celebrate stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting the director. Things like this will get easier over time, I promise. Remember, it’s just a conversation in a social setting. Enjoy!

Q It’s holiday gift time and I’m running out of money. Normally my group puts around $50 for admins and then we give our manager a gift which is also $50. It’s $100 I don’t have to spend, and my boss makes more than us anyway, so do we really have to give him anything? I also don’t want to look cheap if I’m the only one not giving. What can I do and will it look bad if I withdraw?

A. I feel your pain, and honestly, you’re probably not the only person in your group who’s worried. There are several things you can do: You might consider talking to your co-workers who pool the money and say something like, “Inflation has hit my family hard this year, so I won’t be able to contribute. I will make an individual donation in my own way. Thanks anyway for the opportunity. There are other ways to give, like baking holiday cookies or treats, sending an e-card or an old-fashioned greeting card.

If you still feel peer pressure to donate, maybe suggest reducing the amount, eg $25 per person for admins and nothing for your boss since as you pointed out your boss earns more than you all anyway. While the holidays can be joyful, they can also be stressful and chaotic, and adding that dynamic to work is extra stress you don’t want or need. Hopefully, whatever decision you make, your co-workers will understand and, even if they don’t, do what’s best for you while finding ways to recognize those you’ve habitually given gifts to – this year, without breaking the bank.

Vicki Salemi is a career expert, former corporate recruiter, author, consultant, speaker, and career coach. Send your questions to [email protected] /Tribunal press service


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