Bosses are the butt of our jokes and bear the brunt of our frustration — but there are some good ones out there, and we celebrate them every October 16, on National Boss’s Day. Our term for the person who sends out memos and signs our paychecks first entered American English around 1640, where it referred to a ship’s captain. In both the 1880s and then again in the 1950s, “boss” was also used slangily to describe something cool or excellent, so if you are blessed with a (metaphorically) bitchin’ boss, you could call ‘em a boss boss. Or Boss Squared. Whatever you call them, do at least a little something for the boss in your life — at the very least, it’ll earn you brownie points. You can grumble about them the rest of the year, but take one day to celebrate your supervisor on National Boss’s Day, October 16.
How to Celebrate National Boss's Day
1. Chip in to make their days great
You and your coworkers could just scribble your names on a cheesy card that someone picked up at Kroger while making a lunch run. If you truly appreciate your boss, however, why not make a bigger gesture? Buy something meaningful, like a print by his favorite photographer or a high-end espresso maker. Have a hard-to-buy-for boss? Consider making a donation in his name to a local charity.
2. Tell her what she means to you
Send your boss a heartfelt message and turn that cheesy card into a true keepsake. If you’re feeling fancy, you can write an old-fashioned letter thanking her for the inspiration and dedication she’s shown to you. Or, you can keep your boss-love on the downlow and write an email. Either way, she’ll appreciate you appreciating her.
3. Help out on the job
Unless you know your boss’s tastes in books or flowers, try an intangible gesture. Ask them what step you could take to make their job easier. The reply might be something as simple as showing up on time or making sure the printer paper gets refilled—but it could also be a chance to grow as a professional and take point on a daily report or a quarterly goal. Either way, the offer to go above and beyond will doubtless be appreciated.
Why We Love National Boss's Day
A. Without them, we’d be nothing
Everyone loves to complain about the boss, but without that leadership, you’d be rudderless at best and unemployed at worst. And be honest—could you do your boss’s job? Would you be able to make the hard decisions, hire and fire, come in under budget, juggle the meetings, set the goals, shoulder the burdens? It’s a lot of responsibility to manage other people, so give your boss a little credit.
B. They take the blame when things go badly
When the client backs out or the contract is lost, odds are your boss is the one going under the bus. Bosses fall on their swords for you more often than you may realize, and they understand that it’s part of their position to do so. Now go and buy them some thank you chocolate, you crazy kid.
C. They are mentors and more
The best bosses are excellent judges of character and can see your potential, sometimes even before you do. Many of them take immense pleasure in helping younger, less experienced colleagues develop their own abilities, network, and generally succeed in their field. And, by doing so, they can boost your career into the stratosphere. If you’ve found a boss like that, consider yourself lucky.