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The Golden Rules of Buying a Gift for Your PA

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/26/2007 | Shopping

It is that time of year again, and you are stuck for gift ideas for your personal assistant. It is their birthday, or the holidays are looming or an important work anniversary is nearly upon you. Perhaps they reached down deep and went to extraordinary lengths on that last project and you need something special to thank them for their efforts. Well by the time you are through with this article you will not only have some great gift ideas beyond fruit baskets, you'll also leave with the golden rules for generating great ideas of your own.

Let us start with the first golden rule: a gift should be for the sole good of your PA. A genuine gift should be something that is a treat for them. So steer clear of things that could be seen as self-serving. If they need a Blackberry for your convenience, that is not a gift - that is a prison sentence! The same goes for fancy day planners, productivity software or paying for a trip that happens to coincide with a work conference. Your gift should be something given for their benefit. Now let us think about which category of gift you should be considering: things vs. experiences.

Clearly your PA makes your life easier, so perhaps it is time to return the favor. Simply giving the gift of a thing can be the safe bet. Especially if you are not that familiar with your PA yet. A smart new pen, gift vouchers, those dreaded fruit baskets are all predictable staples of the PA gift bag. But if you plan to make a special gesture, you should plan an experience for your PA. Arrange an evening with paid professional babysitting services and a dinner for two at their favorite restaurant and tickets to a concert. Perhaps something wild like a helicopter ride, or even wilder still, how about a parachuting course? Always include their partners. On the more practical side, perhaps hire someone to help them finish a D.I.Y. project they've been putting off because they're been stuck in the office.

So to recap: make sure your PA gift is for their benefit, experiences make more thoughtful gifts, and always include their significant other. Oh yes, and one final suggestion. Always keep in mind that any gift you make is probably the beginning of something of a tradition. So get something in your price range that you're prepared to match next year. Keep the golden rules and you'll be a classy gift buyer for years to come.