When somebody important to you is starting a new job, it’s easy to be filled with emotions. You’re proud of them for making a move up and starting what could be something special. You’re regretful for the time together you’re going to lose, and at the same time sympathetic to their nervousness at such a step.
It is at times like these you’ll need to be there for them, of course. They may well need a sounding board for when they have to rant about someone or something in the new job. Let’s face it, all of us have those moments, especially at the beginning before we get to know them, where a co-worker makes us furious. You’ll need to practice the following responses:
“You’re kidding me!”
“Oh, you mentioned him before. He sounds … interesting.”
The last of the three is versatile. Depending on how you inflect, it can mean he co-worker concerned genuinely does sound interesting. Or that he’s an idiot. Or that your friend or family member might have a crush on them. You can make one word do a lot, between friends.
Because you won’t be able to be there with them in person, you need to find a way to be there in spirit. The best way of doing this is a gift. What you give will be something that works between friends, or along a family line. It can be an in-joke, with the obvious caveat that this is something that will take pride of place on their workstation. So a joke that’s a little crude might not go down well.
Option #1: Make A Collage
A collage is a perfect gift to give on the day your special one starts a new job, for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s cheap – possibly free depending on what you already have around. With a square of firm card and some photographs, you have the basics. Some photos of you together are a good idea. Also, a label or two from a product they enjoy can make it more personal.
It may take a while, or no time at all depending on how crafty you are. One little touch that might work is finding a headline with your friend’s surname in it in a newspaper. The sports section is usually a good bet. Finishing off a collage with “Anderson saves the day again!” or “Lewis’ Error Leads To Disaster” can really make it. What you use depends on what you find, and your sense of humor.
Option #2: A Quirky Personal Keepsake
What you want to get across with the gift, more than anything, is that you’re always there with them in spirit. If they have something they identify with you, then even when the job is irritating them, they can look to the gift. They’ll be able to fill in what you’d say at this point, and that can make all the difference on a frustrating work day.
Depending on the nature of your relationship and how you communicate, one possibility is a personalized figurine. The likes of Likenessme bobbleheads are one idea. The figurine can be of you or them – depending on what makes the most sense. Using a photo to get a realistic likeness, they can make a figure that has personal resonance.
One idea would be if your friend/partner/child is a keen sports fan. Have a figurine made that depicts them as a star in their sports gear or the colors of their favorite team. You’ve probably seen the type of figurine yourself. Except in this case it’s not Usain Bolt or their favorite quarterback – it’s them (or you).
Option #3: Something Job-centric With A Twist
Every trade has its tools, unless your friend has a new job as a mime – and even then, you could buy them a black polo neck. But say for example they’re an accountant. Even if they can do math pretty well in their head, they’ll need a calculator. Yes, they probably already have one, but a new one is appropriate for a new job.
Again, there are a few ways you can go with this. It can be personalized with their name or certain colors. If you’re looking to up the humor angle, it can be comically oversized. Picture them totting up the figures in a column and pulling out a calculator the size of a small laptop. To the raised eyebrows of their co-workers they can respond “Yes, do you like it? My friend thought I might struggle in a big job if I didn’t have a huge calculator!”.
Funny? Possibly only to two people in the world. But as long as those two are you and your friend, that’s all that matters. In-jokes can be one of the most reassuring things in the world to someone making a change in life.
Option #4: A Practical, Meaningful Gift
Aside from all the personal touches you can make, sometimes the best gift for someone starting a new job is a practical, simple one. A new bag rarely hits the wrong note, particularly if you hand it over to them and leave them to realize you’ve added something. That something can be a framed picture, a new book, anything. You can leave it without mentioning it, and when they go to pack the bag, they’ll find it.
Alternatively, if they’ll be working outdoors, you can buy them a pair of extremely thick socks for the colder days. A hat for when it rains or a pair of sunglasses if you live somewhere sunny hits the same note. Something that shows you’ve put a bit of thought into things is what you’re aiming for here. Also, it can make their job easier.
The base message of any of these gifts is a simple one. Starting a new job can be difficult at any time, and while the stresses of the new beginning are temporary, you’re there for the long haul. Of course, during their break times they can call or text you and actually speak to you. When that’s not possible, they have a reminder, and that’s worth a lot at any time.