Five People to Know in the Workplace

Five People to Know in the Workplace

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For many women, work earns us a living as much as it defines our selves and shapes our lives. It can be a source of fervent pride and intense stress. Smart women know that by partnering with others, we can accomplish more in our careers. Whether your workplace is an office, a school, a medical facility or your living room – these are the five people you need to know.

1. Administrative Staff – In many offices, the hub for all people and tasks is the receptionist or administrative assistant. He/she can be a source of time-saving help and insider knowledge. A good relationship with a key administrator can get you on the boss’ calendar, ensure your UPS packages are out on time and help you tackle the nitty gritty of important projects. Moreover, the receptionist can be a valuable “gatekeeper” to screen your calls. As central communicators in the office, administrators plan important meetings and prepare for departmental changes , and they can pass along these insider tips to you. Not that we’re condoning office gossip, but keeping your ear to the ground can result in opportunities to advance your career!

2. Mentor/Mentee – The stress of going it alone in your career can lead to burnout. Recent college graduates, those who are recently promoted and women who have changed careers should consider finding a mentor. The advice and guidance of a seasoned professional can enhance your experience – and keep you from feeling like you’re losing your mind! An accomplished woman who serves as a mentor will find that she also learns a great deal from the relationship. Not only does she increase her confidence by sharing what she has garnered in her career, but her perspective on technology, on her industry, and even on her relationships with colleagues can be expanded by the influence of a fresh mindset.

3. Tech Guru – When your technical gadgets stop working, your productivity can come to a grinding halt. You need them fixed now, but you find yourself at the bottom of the IT department’s “To Do” list. Whether your technical support is in-house or through a vendor, take the time to develop a personal relationship with your Mr. or Ms. Fix-It. Not only will his response time to your S.O.S. dramatically increase, he can teach you many tips to avoid the problem in the future, or how to repair it yourself.

4. Food Service – Some of the most overlooked VIPs in the workplace can be found working in the company food service department. These folks work hard behind the scenes and are often ignored by their co-workers. To have a partner in cahoots with you at the cafeteria may mean the difference between getting a bowl of your favorite soup and being left with the mystery casserole. Go ahead and swap stories about children, pets, hobbies and great shoe sales. Not only will the social contact brighten your day, but he or she just may save you the last slice of chocolate cake!

5. Best Work Buddy – According to a 2004 Gallup poll, employees who have a best “work” friend are much happier and more productive in their jobs. They are able to work through stress and problems in a much healthier way. Just because we want to look like we’re completely in control at work doesn’t mean we have to put our emotional needs completely aside. A confidant in the workplace can help us deal with the emotional highs and lows of our professional and private lives … so that we don’t have to sob in a bathroom stall and hope no one recognizes our shoes! If you are self-employed or having a friend at work is simply not an option, develop a relationship with a colleague in a similar industry. She can be a sounding board for your ideas and can also offer realistic advice.

It’s important to develop relationships at work that help you excel in your job. Remember: everyone has an important role in making a workplace successful and should be treated with respect. Value their contributions and show them the genuine appreciation they deserve, and you will be treated the same way.