Building a career might seem like a personal endeavor, but often times, the trek to the top is only possible

Building a career might seem like a personal endeavor, but often times, the trek to the top is only possible with a little help.

Like with any aspect of development, advancing titles, earning a promotion, moving companies and expanding your skill set requires working with a plethora of people. From those you learn from to those you teach — and all of the clients in between — it’s important to honor what they contribute to your professional lifestyle.

As a way to reflect on the year that has come and gone, and anticipate the next lap around the sun, saying ‘thanks’ is an underrated — and under utilized — part of networking and corporate relationships. If you want to exercise your thoughtfulness bone as much as you work out your strategy muscle, here are effective ways to express gratitude this holiday season.

For Your Boss: Write a handwritten card—with a bottle of vino.

While sure, everything from coloring books to postcards are digitized these days, there’s nothing can replace the time that goes into putting pen to paper. You might have to practice your cursive script a few times before sealing the card, but writing a thorough, kind note on how much you appreciate your manager will go a lot further than a free ecard off the internet.

Make sure to detail specific instances where they gave you killer advice or provided you an opportunity to lead a project. This shows not only how deeply you’re paying attention and how engaged you are in your work, but you recognize their diligence, too. Pair this handwritten token of gratitude with a $30 or more bottle of wine to really ‘wow’ your boss lady or man.

For Your Assistant: A nice leather good—and a bonus.

Remember those first glory days of your career? They were equal parts struggling to afford ramen and filled with the kind of gold-speckled optimism you can only have at 22. Your assistant remains productive, keeps you one step ahead, understands how to make your gig easier and is super-smart, too. You know firsthand how stressful and exciting those early years were, so brighten their season with a nice leather good—and some cash. Whether it’s a wallet or a business card holder, tell them how much you value their work and tuck away a gift card to Amazon or an American Express card to sweeten those bills they’ll be paying off in January. It will not only boost their self-esteem, and it’ll give you the feel-good vibes for advancing another generation of professionals.

For Your Clients: ‘Happy New Year’ cards and artisan goods.

Because everyone celebrates a different holiday—from Hanukkah to Christmas or nothing at all—it’s safer to demonstrate your thanks to clients through something we can agree on: champagne. Or rather, the beginning of a new year. Take the time to celebrate what you achieved together in the past year, while also getting them amped for what’s to come in 2019. The best route to take is good ‘ole fashioned snail mail, with artisan crackers, cheese, wine or chocolates, along with a kind note. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it should be personalized, even if you have more than a dozen of clients. The extra time it takes to touch on key moments will go a long way—and probably mean more business.

For Your Mentor: A dinner… in January.

Between holiday parties and family gatherings, there is next-to-know day left available in December. So suggesting a dinner date with the mentor you turn to for all-things business when they’re already stressed is a big no-no. Instead, write a holiday card—and send a follow-up email—inviting them to dinner. You’ll pick up the tab, and spend the appetizers and entree sharing how much you value their wisdom and expertise, and how instrumental they have been to your career. Meeting face-to-face is a great idea, since it fosters more conversation and enrichens your relationship. Who knows—it could even lead to more gigs as the year wears on.

For Your Co-Worker: Something they’ve been talking about.

Even if you’re married, you probably spend more time with your officemate than your partner. Demanding work schedules and deliverables mean you’re burning that midnight oil frequently—and that co-worker by your side? Well, you have to pass the grueling hours somehow. For your corporate bestie, think of something they’ve been meaning to get, but never got around to. Perhaps it’s gloves for the office, an indoor plant or tickets to a show. Whatever it is, it speaks volumes about how much you adore them since you paid attention to their whims. A funny note will make ‘em pop a smile, too.


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