What Is Boss Day?

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  • Written By: S. Gonzales
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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Boss Day, also referred to as National Boss Day or Boss' Day, is a celebration that has been in existence since the 1950s. It is meant to help bridge interpersonal gaps between bosses and employees through opportunities for appreciation. Small tokens can be left with business owners as part of the holiday, though managers and supervisors can be subject to receiving gifts, too. This day is observed around the world by those who are willing to acknowledge it.

The origins of the holiday can be traced back to an American woman's registration of it in 1958. As an employee, her intention was to solidify the relationship between her boss and co-workers. The goal of officially acknowledging' boss' contributions was to provide a stage for more productive and happy workplaces. The United States Chamber of Commerce annually recognizes October 16th as Boss Day, as stipulated by Patricia Bays Haroski, the secretary responsible for the registration. In 1962, the day was officially proclaimed by an Illinois governor named Otto Kerner.

In keeping with Haroski's intention, the holiday provides employees with the opportunity to improve relationships with their employers. An appreciation for the role of someone in charge of maintaining a business is encouraged, and the good faith is typically acknowledged by bosses. Formal or informal celebrations give bosses the opportunity mingle with workers, and enjoyment of festivities lay common ground for cordial interactions to be forged.


Employees can celebrate this day in any number of ways. Gifts and trinkets, such as cards, flowers, and gift certificates, can be given to bosses as tokens of appreciation. A simple well-wish to a boss is also acceptable, and can be an appropriate alternative to the purchase of material items, especially if employees work for a non-profit organization. Lunches are a common way to celebrate, with the bill typically being paid by the employees.

While Boss Day can be a way to celebrate business owners, those in lower positions can also be subject to recognition. Supervisors and managers, for example, often find themselves the center of attention on this day. Generally, anyone who is in charge of operations or the work lives of others can be made to feel important.

Though at first considered to be an American peculiarity, other places in the world such as India, Australia, and South Africa have been noted as celebrating Boss Day. England has also been known to observe the day in an unofficial capacity. The adoption of this holiday across the globe may be an unwritten acknowledgment of the growing importance of relationships between bosses and employees.


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