I am a member of the Canadian Forces. I have recently interview for and accepted a Flag Lieutenant position for one of the Admirals in the Navy (Same thing as a Flag Aide in the United States). For those not familiar with the idea of a Flag Aide, it is, for the most part, the equivalent of an Executive Assistant. I am going to be taking the position in June and want to give him a gift to say thank you for choosing me as his assistant.

As, a young Lieutenant, this is a great opportunity where I will learn a lot about how the upper echelon of the armed forces works; the strategic side of a very large corporation. As you are aware a position like this has the potential to help along an individual’s career as well as helping to quickly build one's network.  It is also a position in which, I feel, I will be able to excel, in part because of manager tools and the lessons I have learned. I find it particularly amusing, as I re-listen to the podcasts, that both of you (Mark, and Steve) were aides for the same Colonel, one right after each other. And how you talk about the learning experience that you had in that position.

As I am so excited for the position, I wanted to say thanks to the Admiral by getting him a small gift; something that is not typical for me. I thought that it would be appropriate to give him a copy of Peter Drucker’s the Effective Executive. I feel that it is a small token and would also allow for an unspoken starting point for him to understand a little about me and what sort of efficiency I’m striving for.

I would sign the book with the following phrase, and would like your opinion about the wording: “Sir, Thank you for this great opportunity to be your Flag Lieutenant. I look forward to learning as much in this postion as I have learned from this book. Sincerely…”

I don’t know if this counts as a thank you… just listened to the how to write a Thank You podcast, and in it you mentioned inscriptions in books as something different. Are there rules for inscriptions in books?

As well, I want to make sure that the gift is appropriate. One of the reasons I would like to give this gift, is to make sure that he has it. I would like to believe that he does and already implements many of the ideas from the book. Having not started, I'm not sure, but if he hasn’t… imagine how much power the book could do. Mainly I imagine how as his assistant I will be able to help him implement these tools. Then I wonder if my motives are right. I wonder about the message that I might be sending; would it come across as a Lieutenant trying to tell an Admiral how to do his job?

As this job is very important, I am wanting to start off on a good foot. But I feel that I'm over thinking it, and that I don't have the perspective I need to make an informed decision about if I should give the gift or not.  If you could share your thoughts on this process, I would be very appreciative..




Jay845's picture

Could this be seen as giving feedback to your boss?  I think some individuals could perceive this gift as there direct telling them:

"Thanks for hiring me, in my experience, thing will go smoothly if we interact and perform in the following manner"

Not sure if that is the message I want to send to my boss.  I think you have also identified this as a concern. 

If it were me, I would express my graditude for the opportunity in a individual conversation within the first week of the new job.  It would sound like this:

"I wanted to thank you for the opportunity you have given me.  I see this as a great opportunity to learn and develop as a leader within the organization.  At present, what are the main areas of support you require?"



jocadl's picture


and yes, I think you are overthinking it. My focus would be to get to know him as a person first. If you are open and willing, you'll have figured out how he "ticks" within the first few days of actually "being there". And that will answer (a) whether he would appreciate a "welcome" gift and (b) whether this particular book would be a good choice, automatically.


jocadl's picture

Oh, and I forgot: This position sounds like a wonderful move for you, I totally understand your excitement, and I sincerely hope it will fulfill all the promises of such an opportunity for you.

jfaurbo's picture

Thanks for the advice. I will let the community know how the job goes.