Four Kitchens

What to buy for the person who does everything

3 Min. ReadWork life

It’s holiday shopping time! Do you have a person in your life who works in Operations—an office manager, an HR director, a COO, or an office administrator? Wonder what kind of gift to get the person who does so much for everyone else? I’m here to help (as always).

Wearing A Lot of Hats

Operations is a job that requires you to take on a lot of different roles. The moment you get off of a one-on-one call where you’re doing HR therapy, you then have to jump into a call with the finance team to balance the budget. This month, you’re a party planner considering menus and lodging for the company retreat, and next month you’re a contractor, getting a new wall installed in the office. This job has to be all the things to all the people, wearing all the hats, so…

Good: Get your Operations person The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

Better: Hitchcock’s Vertigo—helping them to remember not to get dizzy with all this spinning around.

Be Organized

In Operations, it’s imperative that you maintain order. You are the organization guru for the organization—you pay the bills, hire the team, make sure people are signed up for their healthcare and benefits, make sure everyone on your team is communicating and being heard, and so much more. You have to be organized…or at least make it look like you are.

Good: A gift card to The Container Store, so they can buy all the little boxes to put all the things inside, organized-ly.

Better: A copy of Things Organized Neatly: The Art of Arranging the Everyday, a beautiful book that will bring joy to any Type-A nutjob in your life.

Company Cheerleader

In Operations, no matter what’s going on, you have to keep a positive attitude. You don’t get to have a bad day—you get to deal with the bad days coming from 31 other people. You also have to be celebratory— at all times! You have to congratulate people so that people feel important, because they are.

Good: A pair of pompoms (bonus points if they’re in company colors), because, yeah, they’re the company cheerleader.

Better: A day at a trampoline park, acrobatics class, or adult gym class. Because your Ops person, yeah, still has to be a cheerleader.

Being the Big Bad

Sometimes in Operations, you have to give out bad news. Sometimes you have to fire people. When someone has a problem, you’re the person who has to facilitate solving it, and sometimes that means getting uncomfortably real. You’re always the person who takes point— while a manager may have ten people on their team, you have ten managers, and each of their ten people, and the president, and the CEO, and even yourself.

Good: A bottle of gin (or chamomile tea), because… well, that one is self-explanatory.

Better: A subscription to Gin Every Month, because even though being The Bad sucks, it’s always going to be necessary.

Taking Care of Everyone

Operations is a people position. When you hear the words Human Resources, or Financing, or Administration, you might think my job is boring. A lot of people do. But, when it comes down to it, a job in Operations is all about the people you work with. For example, I know the dietary preferences and allergies of everyone in the office, because someone has to make sure we avoid trips to the ER. I remember things about my teammates that their families don’t even remember, because Operations creates the company experience.

Good: A set of Calm prompt cards from The School of Life, to remind your Ops person that self-care is important, too.

Better: Get them a spa day (and don’t skimp!), because they deserve a great experience, too.

So, what makes a good gift for the person who does everything? Honestly, you can’t go wrong, because no matter what you choose it will make them feel special and appreciated beyond measure.