Rant: Attempted to sell gift I didn't want. Boss got mad at me. Am I wrong?

A few days ago, my company had a party with another company who is our top client. I absolutely DO NOT support this company, as they go against my morals and beliefs. They handed out gifts to everyone at my company. My gift was a hoodie with their logo on it. I don’t want to represent a company that I’m against by wearing their merchandise, and thought someone else might benefit from it, plus I was needing money as my financial situation isn’t that great, so I sold it online. My boss saw the listing online and said that was unacceptable. I later took down that listing. In private, another coworker told me that my boss thought I was ungrateful in the face of our top client.

I absolutely understand that she would be upset on what I did, but what was I supposed to do? A gift wouldn’t be useful if I never use it, so someone else having it would be a better decision. Plus, I did not like how she went into my private life and influenced what I can and cannot do. I blocked her on that platform so she wouldn’t spy on me

Am I right or wrong? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please by very honest with me

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This sounds like a tricky situation. Your boss views the client as a top client and for you that same client is more like the opposite to put it mildly.
I can totally understand you would not want to wear a hoodie from a company that goes against your own morality. And I get that in view of your financial situation you tried to get at least some money out of it.
Your boss should not have spied on you, and they also should not talk about you behind your back.
If I am very honest if you had given it back to your boss or handed it to one of your colleagues (I don’t want this hoodie and I want somebody else to use it) the situation could have been a bit less tricky.
However it remains difficult to work somewhere that forces you to work together with and accept gifts from a company that you feel so uncomfortable about.
Is there any way you can talk to your boss to sort of explain? I don’t know the rules in your area, I think where I live bosses are legally not allowed to look up their employees online.

One thing that would also be worth thinking about is if you really can/should/want (I don’t know which word fits best) work for a company that has a top client that is so out of line with your own beliefs. I think that might weigh on you the most in this case.

I have no idea if this helps at all. I am sorry you had to go through this. And hope your boss and you can have some communication about what happened

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Good to hear from you again leapyear!

I think it’s best that I don’t bring it up again at work because it’s all in the past, and knowing her behavior, things can get really spicy so to say

This is also a really tricky situation for me. The career I’m in has a really bad job market, so I’m very lucky that I at least have this job and can have income to support my family. But that means I have to work with people that I don’t agree with. There’s no option for me to quit any time soon, or else I’d be stuck in job search cycle for a very long time

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Am I right or wrong? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please by very honest with me

Usually, selling a gift isn’t well perceived, and that is understandable. Whether it is is something meaningful or not, it can be seen as a way to reject a person (or a place). It makes sense for your boss to feel like you were ungrateful (although he retaliated by saying this in front of an important client, which is definitely a wrong move).

This is very personal take of course: I don’t think you’re wrong. I understand your boss reaction - it would have been very likely the same from a loved one - regardless of all the bad environment you’ve been in at work. But we also have individually a different way to perceive material things. I’ve personally given away gifts I received in the past because either it meant nothing for me or I had no meaningful relationship with the person who offered it. It was either that or it takes place in a box that I’d never open - so there’s no point.

To me it’s a little bit like other principles that are understandable but also go a bit against just being human. Like: having to eat all the food in your plate, otherwise it’s perceived as disrespectful for the person who cooked. But what if you’re just full and can’t take another bite? It doesn’t make sense to force it, and you can 100% appreciate the care and time of the person regardless.

Sometimes, offering gifts in an already bad relationship is also a way to control the other. When your boss says you were ungrateful, they also express how that affected their ego (in the strict sense, not being pejorative here). He was expressing how you receiving this gift (and how you dealt with it) made him feel, but had not considered if whether or not this gift was bringing you joy in the first place. If the place you work with is already painful… then fuck this hoodie, and good for you for trying to get money out of something you didn’t want. Wearing it would have been like pulling the knife deeper into a wound that’s already open and bleeding. What you do with what is given to you, in the end, shouldn’t be others concern. What you’ve shown is that you have values and principles, and I think that’s honorable, especially in a conflictual context where stakes are high - where basically everything would pressure you to give up on what you believe in or stand for.

In your specific context, it’s also definitely uncomfortable that your boss used the personal information he could have on this. In some places the work environment is friendly and small enough for bosses and employees to be together on socials… But in others, it can be at the opposite a way to control or pressure a little more employees. It feels like boundaries were blurry, especially after this event, so it makes sense that it made you feel uncomfortable and you prefer now to keep your private life away from his view.

Hopefully this event can become a part of the past soon for you, just so you don’t have to feel too much awkwardness when you’d interact together, especially if the environment you’re currently in is not one you feel fulfilled with. It sounds like it would be good if you could receive some good news and have the possibility to find a place that suits you better. It’s painful when you have to somehow wait and endure for the right moment and the right opportunity… Fingers crossed. :crossed_fingers: :heart:

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Thank you Micro always for you long and thoughtful responses. My manager actually saw the post before my boss did, but at least she was respectful to me and explained why posting that online might not be a good idea. She instead preferred if I sold it to my neighbors. I never had this experience before so I was a bit stubborn on the consequences of selling a gift

Also I wanted to sell it because my pay has been drastically cut, which made me very salty, so I wanted other ways to make money. Maybe if they didn’t cut my pay, I wouldn’t have sold it :man_shrugging:

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