How to Handle Awkward Situations at the Office

We’re in a holiday spirit here at MediaJobsDaily!

Sure, Thanksgiving may be two weeks away but that doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about time off. And holiday parties. And gifts for the boss and cards for the colleagues. Le sigh.

Not only will this impact the wallet, it’s almost inevitable that group gifts and awkward situations will emerge. Our friends at AOL Jobs outlined a few ways to handle them.

1. People asking for money. As your teammates ask for money for a communal gift to your boss or a co-worker, it can feel awkward to tell them you’re not going to pay for it. And if it’s for someone you don’t even like, that puts you in an even more awkward scenario.

Pick your battles. It may be easier to simply give money to the gift instead of being labeled as cooperative. Depending on the situation, Miriam Salpeter explained in the piece you can also say you’re taking care of your own gift. If it’s for a charity, you can mention that you’ve already maxed out your quarterly charitable contributions.

2. Gift giving. Especially if you’re new to your office this year, it’s particularly important to identify the ritual before it’s too late. Find out ahead of time from a colleague or your boss if everyone exchanges gifts and if so, you may want to go alone. If it’s a financial matter, you can always give something homemade or thoughtful that doesn’t break the bank.

The piece also pointed out, “If you feel strongly and don’t want to participate for religious reasons simply explain why you aren’t able to participate.”

3. Colleagues asking you to support their kids’ fundraisers. It could be against company policy to ask peers to purchase items but if you don’t want to rock the boat, you can “still easily beg off by saying that you already got your share of (wrapping paper, cookie dough or other trinket) from the neighbor’s kid.”

4. Talk about salaries. Switching gears from gifts and charities to compensation, nothing can be more awkward than having a brazen colleague ask you about what you received in terms of bonus or an annual raise.

Salpeter wrote, “If you’re not comfortable discussing it, you can always demur and say you’ve found it’s a good policy not to discuss money with colleagues and leave it at that.”