While I may not be crunching numbers for Final Exams, I have been doing my own sort of studying: the studying of my coworkers, and others who come and go from our office area daily. Getting to know coworkers and understanding their roles around the office not only helps you create a friendly and welcoming work environment, but you also get to know them and the skill sets they possess. There are at least seven specific people you want to keep on your radar, according to a few powerful women and career experts.
1.) The Intern/Student Workers: They may just be students now, but they’ll be joining the work force sooner than you think. Five or ten years down the road? They’re going to be working men and women, as well as your colleagues. In fact, it’s a possibility they might become your “in” to your dream job at your dream company.
2.) The Office Gossip: Oh yes, they exist everywhere you go. There will be moments where you want to tell them to go away so you can get some work done (because they never seem to be at their desks to do some!), but be nice. While they might annoy, they know things, like who’s leaving for another job, who’s being promoted…things you might like to know about so you can smartly strategize your next career move. By no means should you chime in when they bring the next juicy bit around to your desk, but certainly listen up when they talk, says Nicole Williams, founder of WORKS.
3.) The I.T. Guru: Being the I.T. person at any job can be a pretty thankless job. It seems the only time people want to talk to you is when their computer is going up in smoke. The I.T. department is one area to befriend. Kindness goes a long way, and it just might help you get your problems fixed sooner along with being told a few tips on how to avoid the same problems in the future. Fewer problems means more work can be accomplished, and more time is available for brainstorming new ideas!
4.) The Office Manager: This seems like a no-brainer. They might be able to give you a heads-up on upcoming job openings and other happenings around the office. They also most likely order the supplies, keeping the office equipped with everything needed on a day-to-day basis, and the things you need for that special project (Go you!).
5.) The Developer: While working diligently on that report for your boss, you’re suddenly inspired with an idea for a new software app that surely would benefit the company. The downside? It requires a ton of legwork to get it up and running. The problem? The developer – like I.T. – always has a ton of projects happening and their workload never seems to end. Get to know your website developers. Another benefit of working closely with developers? They usually work closely with management teams, and they might spread the word about how good your project is and how great you were to work with on it, says Janeesa Hollingshead, marketing manager for the start-up Fundable.com.
6.) The male/female colleague: You certainly want to make friends with the men and women sitting in the desks and cubicles around you. Getting the perspective of a trusted and platonic coworker can give you a different perspective you need to work through the problems of your job and any project you’re slaving away on.
7.) The Boss’s Assistant: Picture yourself in that cushy corner office? Your best bet to sitting behind that desk one day is to be on good terms with the boss’s assistant, says career coach Isha Cogborn. This boss’s assistant is usually super-organized and knows every booking within the boss’s calendar. They’re the person to talk to when you need to meet with your boss face-to-face, and more than likely, the boss’s assistant will be present to take notes, too. If they like you well enough, they’ll be more likely to work out details with you and maybe even bump you up on the boss’s calendar.
Regardless of their position, be friendly and respectful of every person in your work environment, including the mail carrier who stops in at least once a day, every day. These are the people you work with, and you want your work environment to be a place you look forward to coming to every day. Being able to joke with a coworker or two also takes the edge off a hard day.