I spent an entire year in an internship in the Brazilian branch of a multinational telecommunications company before I left for another internship in a local start-up. My manager was at his annual leave from the time I got an offer from the other company to the moment I actually left, so I never got to properly bid farewell to him.

With Christmas coming, the idea of gifting him and writing a little 'thank you' letter came to my mind, and I was wondering whether or not that could be considered inappropriate? Don't take me wrong, as much as part of me would love nothing more than returning to my old company, I don't think that would be possible, and even if it was, well, I feel like my old colleagues would think of me as some kind of traitor for leaving the company, so the only motivation behind this gift would be to thank him for being one of my mentors and perhaps for apologizing for letting him down like I did.

  • a small gift (<$20 USD) is fine, but something more valuable could be problematic.
    – dandavis
    Dec 12, 2018 at 22:26

3 Answers 3


In businesses in the US, it is becoming better known that 'gifting up' is not appropriate. Other cultures may differ. So, at least in some cultures, a gift to a boss (or former boss) is not really appropriate.

However, a card indicating what you had learned and how much you appreciated your former boss - that is a good idea. Not to get the job back, but simply to express appreciation.


I do not see why it would be inappropriate. Also there is no reason they should think of you as a "traitor", this is how you make your living after all and if you find a better opportunity, power to you!

It would be a pretty sweet gesture and if your old coworkers are decent people they will not think less of you for sending gifts. Also you were an intern so you are pretty much thanking them for the learning opportunity which is 100% appropriate. If they are the kind of people that actually would see it negatively, chances are you did not lose much by joining another company.

  • This is just a bad answer and doesn't at all take into consideration ethics, which even for a former intern could be a factor in whether or not the gift is appropriate. I don't know the OP's company's rules, but where I work we have some strict gifting rules.
    – user41891
    Dec 12, 2018 at 22:29
  • Sending a box of chocolates to your old boss can indeed get tricky
    – Layman
    Dec 12, 2018 at 23:10

I live in the US. We as a department collect money as a group to get our boss a gift card each year for his birthday. He then uses that to buy seeds, grows a garden, and makes salsa which he presents to us as a department. We are less formal than most companies, maybe because we are a small business. Larger businesses may become targets for lawsuits of various types.

But since he is your FORMER boss I see no problem with you getting him a small gift less than $20usd.

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