The Tapwage 2015 Holiday Gift GuideGifts That Lift (Careers)

Holiday gifts nicely gift wrapped in festive colors on top of a blue reclaimed wood table

The year flew by fast. Just last year, Tapwage was a drawing on a metaphorical napkin and now look at us. Presenting to you our own holiday guide. Break out the egg nog.

There are so many great holiday gift guides (we are partial to Kottke’s compilation of great holiday gift guides). but we all have a colleague, or a sibling, or a friend for whom we need a gift that helps them along in their career goals. So we present to you Tapwage’s first holiday gift guide for the career minded individual.

1. The Gift of Gab

Public speaking remains the top fear amongst Americans (More than heights, bugs, zombies and clowns!). But in the knowledge economy of today, never has it been more vital to have strong presentation skills at work. So give the gift of presentation coaching. Online coaching costs anywhere from $150 to $250 for a one hour session. For $36 every 6 months, you can also gift them a membership to Toastmasters International, the world renowned social club focused on speaking and leadership skills.

2. The Back to School Gift

It has never been easier to learn new skills, and perhaps never been more important. Whether you choose a full-time 10-week product management immersive ($3000), or a data analyst ‘Nanodegree’ ($200), it’s not just a gift, it’s an investment.

3. The Gift of Enlightenment

For a friend looking to break into investment banking, perhaps a book like Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis ($10 Kindle edition / $20 hardcover), or The Accidental Investment Banker by Jonathan Knee ($15 Kindle edition / $33 hardcover) would be perfect.

For someone hell bent on a career in investing, you should perhaps get them the classic (and Warren Buffet’s favorite) The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham ($11 Kindle edition / $13 paperback).

For the budding software engineer, we recommend the ever useful Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas Cormen and Charles Leiserson.

If you don’t know their specific interests, you can’t go wrong with a year’s subscription to The Wall Street Journal ($100 for one-year) or The Financial Times ($335 for a year) or The Economist ($127 for a year).

And for that friend or family member who is just too busy to read? Maybe an Audible membership to unlimited audio books ($45 for three months).

4. The Gift of Efficiency

For the life and productivity hacker friend (we all have those), we recommend the Moleskin classic notebook (Pack of three for $50). For the extra-personal touch, you could also point them to note taking and journaling techniques. Our favorite is the Bullet Journal, an incredibly efficient note taking and idea capture technique.

The pens that go perfectly with those notebooks, are the Pilot Frixion erasable pens ($12 for a pack of 8). They work like magic. Sketching an idea was never easier.

5. Gifts of Convenience

For road warriors (especially consultants), we highly recommend the magic plug that lets you charge all your devices simultaneously ($20) or a USB battery pack for a little extra juice ($30).

For the desk jockey, how about a wireless keyboard that connects to multiple devices with a single switch ($39) so you can send that quick text while it looks like you are working on the spreadsheet.

6. The Gift of Resilience

Finally, not all gifts are meant to help your loved ones thrive at work. Sometimes, you just need to help them survive at work. Especially for working in the open-plan offices of today, they might need some noise-canceling headphones ($300) to block out annoying coworkers and constant interruptions.

And if it looks like they might be packing a few extra pounds with the stresses of work, a Fitbit ($147) might get help them get it under control. As the saying goes, tell someone about their weight and you nag them for a day, Give them a Fitbit and it can nag them for you every day.

If they are really unhappy, maybe help them find a new job. We have hundreds of thousands to choose from, and if you email us, we would be glad to help.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

The Tapwage 2015 Annual Career Focused Holiday Gift Guide
The Tapwage 2015 Annual Career Focused Holiday Gift Guide

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Advice Annie is a team of Tapwage writers and guest contributors who help answer career and workplace questions