When you walk into a new job for the first time, it’s often not clear what the culture of the organization is or what exactly you will truly be doing in your job. It might also be very unclear what exactly is expected of you, and also what your opportunities are for advancement.
Naturally, it’s great to cultivate relationships with your peers (the people who work regularly with you), but no matter the culture of the organization, it’s worth your time to get to know a few other people as well, as they can help you out greatly without much effort on their part.
Here are ten people you should get to know in your organization as soon as possible to make your job go smoother and also maximize your promotion opportunities later.
The boss This is the most obvious one on the list, and this is also the first person you should know. When you’re new, don’t hesitate to ask questions and use those as leverage for conversations. The questions shouldn’t express a cluelessness in your job, but should instead invite the boss to open up a bit. Ask questions about general organizational culture, and look for opportunities to ask questions directly about your boss’s role in defining that culture and the direction of the organization as a whole. In short, get the boss to open up by making him or her feel good about their role; you can do this by asking questions that allow for reflection on
The boss’s boss If you have a chance to meet people further up the ladder, be sure to make your name known to them. Shake hands firmly and be very direct. If the opportunity permits, state your pleasure in being with the organization and ask questions similar to how you opened the door with your boss. Mostly, the key here is to cultivate a positive presence and hopefully name recognition up the ladder.
The janitor Not only does this person help keep your area clean, this person hears a ton of things about what’s going on at work. Befriending the janitor will not only improve the service that you get in terms of cleanliness, but it also give you an insight into a lot of things that are going on. In my previous organization, the janitor was almost always the first person to know if there were promotions, firings, hirings, and reorganizations coming down the pike.
The administrative assistant Be very nice to the administrative assistant who manages any paperwork you may file. Don’t ever forget to regularly stop by just to ask how he/she is doing. Listen to venting and empathize. Not only will this make things smoother for you when you need secretarial services, a secretary sees a lot of things pass over his/her desk.
The boss’s secretary Similar to how you treat your secretary, you should treat the boss’s secretary well, too, but for different reasons. The boss’s secretary will be able to make sure that things you turn in are reviewed quickly and also properly attributed, which can be vital if you’ve ever had anything stuck in “secretary purgatory.”
The boss’s boss’s secretary This is very similar logic to why you should favor the boss’s secretary, but this relationship mostly ensures that you’ll at least have access up the food chain if need be.
The person with the most seniority close to you in job rank This person usually has a huge amount of knowledge of what’s going on in the workplace, both in terms of your actual job function and also the culture of what’s going on around you. This person can be an amazing resource for straight shooting on how to get things done.
The human resources person assigned to you The human resources personnel are usually overlooked until they’re needed, and then they’re basically demanded. When you have a pressing HR need, it’s going to go much smoother (and much more likely in your favor) if you have a good standing relationship with the HR officer.
The IT specialist assigned to you The logic is almost idential to the HR person, except the IT specialist can get you back to work quickly if you have a good relationship with them. A good way of handling this is to occasionally just chat with the IT specialist if you see an opportunity and send a thank you note after everything that they do for you.
The person with the most job knowledge close to you in job rank Basically, this is the smartest person in your peer group. You should naturally make friends with everyone in your peer group, but make a special effort to reach out to anyone who has a strong grasp of the technical aspects of their job.