Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of The Singapore Women’s Weekly.

It is obvious that my boss favours some of her subordinates in the office. And they appear to suck up to her. The rest of us who have no intention to curry favour with her generally get along fine with her. We don’t get bullied by her, or go through anything traumatic, we just get recycled gifts.

When she goes on overseas trips, she would buy personal gifts for her favourite subordinates. She would pass the gifts to them in secret, or call them into her office in an attempt to prevent the rest of us from knowing. Thankfully, there are (almost) no secrets between the whole team — we are all aware of her preferential treatment towards certain individuals.

Last Christmas, my ex-boss’ favourites received store-bought products wrapped with packaging from respective brands. Those of us who were not her favourites received gifts that resemble freebies she had received, and I guess, didn’t want. Some of these items include fragrance incense that was expired, a 28-day vitamins trial bottle, and a notebook with phrases from the Bible.

I received a dubious bottle of red wine from her. I strongly believe that it was an item from a gift basket that she received. Why? Because I could not find any information about that particular bottle of red wine when I looked for it online.

When my ex-boss handed out beautifully wrapped presents to colleagues from our department whom she rarely interacted with, they were extremely amused. And so they carefully unwrapped their presents in grand anticipation of the insincerity and disappointment.

And as expected, their presents were a not-for-sale gift set from Innisfree and a random glass ornamental cup that had no brand or label on it.

I heard that she gave another department head an opened Paula Abdul music album as a Christmas gift. Guess what? Paula Abdul hasn’t released an album for several years now. Now, that’s a clear sign of a regift at its worst. (At least my dubious bottle of wine was unopened.)

Although we should be appreciative that we were receiving some sort of gift, we would honestly rather not be gifted with junk. We felt disappointed by her actions. It is not like we give her bad gifts – the gifts she got from us include luxe items like Chanel lipsticks as well as skincare products from reputable brands.

As the head of the department, her actions reflect what kind of person she is – an insincere cheapskate.

Aside from showing favouritism, my colleagues and I dislike her as she has poor leadership skills — she would pass on her work to us when she gets stressed out.

She also had her cubicle walls decorated with thank-you cards addressed to her. We assumed this was an attempt to show outsiders how dearly she was adored.

In any case, I have since left the job. For my farewell gift, she gave me two travel bottles of The Body Shop shower gel and lotion wrapped in a gift bag that looked old. The accompanying card was from a hotel she had stayed in for a business trip. I’m just glad that I can finally stop pretending to like her or her gifts!

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