The office: while it’s no longer a TV show (sadly), it’s still a daily part of many people’s lives. Navigating varying relationships with the people you spend most of the day with, especially when they have competing personalities and differing job descriptions, can be a challenge. It can be hard to figure out with whom it would be most beneficial to be friends, but hopefully our guide can point you in the right direction.
The front-desk: Whoever works at the front desk is your key to the secrets of the office. Gossip aside, they know when all the key meetings are, when important people are showing up, and where everything is. They’ll also point you in the direction of the leftover food and help you work the copier if you haven’t quite figured it out yet. They know everyone’s schedules and are your tool to timing those elevator pitches to bigger cheeses upstairs.
The office manager: While this person may also be the one working the front-desk, their duties include your payroll situation and making things happen. They’re the person who signs off your hours and who you contact when you need to take a sick day. Their friendship and, more importantly, their trust, are extremely important. Not that they’d try to interfere with your paycheck, but they’ll be more understanding if you were late turning in a time card or you need something last-minute before your last deadline if they know you on a more personal level.
An equal: You two are going through this together. You have the same relationship with the people you deal with every day, so why not have an ally through it all? Someone who is in the same boat as you is going to understand your frustrations and support you when you succeed. Granted, you should probably keep in mind that they may be your competition some day, but until then, a friend you can whine about your boss to makes the workday go by faster.
Your boss: First, remember that your boss is also a person. I know this may seem like a weird concept to grasp (like the first time you realized your teachers don’t live at the school), but it’s essential to consider their side when they’re blasting out orders. Sure, there are awful bosses, but for the most part, they want you to succeed just as much as you do. I recommend talking to them about something that isn’t work-related (though not for too long) during your next one-on-one with them. My boss and I used to talk about end-of-the-world scenarios all the time. Find some common ground with the person in charge and life may turn out easier for you.
Bonus: Make sure your boss’s boss knows who you are. If you’re in a small office, this may be a moot point, but if you’re in a bigger company, knowing who’s higher up will be one of the most advantageous things you can do. They’ll let you know when there’s opportunities for growth and would be a good reference for when you want to search for a job elsewhere. Knowing the personality of your boss’s boss will also give you insight into what kinds of pressure your boss is facing.
Wherever you work, there will be different personalities and dynamics to wade through. But if you can make friends in the right places who are willing to throw you a life raft when you start drowning, you’ll be able to swim back to shore and succeed without much problem.