The 5 peo­ple you need to make friends with at work

Know­ing the right peo­ple can get you ex­tra perks — and even put you on the path to a pro­mo­tion.

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - CLASSIFIEDS - By Cather­ine Con­lan

When you start a new job, you’ll want to make the right con­nec­tions as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“Af­ter spend­ing time and en­ergy get­ting the role, the last thing you want to do is sab­o­tage your suc­cess by get­ting in with the wrong crowd,” says TyAnn Os­born of Belle­vue, Wash­ing­ton-based HR firm Os­born Con­sult­ing Group

Re­mem­ber, though, you aren’t at work to make your new besties — you’re there to form qual­ity re­la­tion­ships that will sup­port you in achiev­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s goals.

That said, some re­la­tion­ships are more valu­able than oth­ers. Th­ese are the five peo­ple you should try to get to know first.

1. The IT pro

The most im­por­tant per­son to be­friend is the per­son re­spon­si­ble for fix­ing com­put­ers, trou­bleshoot­ing soft­ware and man­ag­ing sys­tems, says Tor Ref­s­land, a pro­duc­tiv­ity ex­pert based in Oslo, Nor­way. He also rec­om­mends be­friend­ing who­ever is in charge of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, whether it’s an IT po­si­tion or is over­seen by a di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Hav­ing an in with peo­ple in th­ese de­part­ments can put you at the top of the to-do list when your de­vice (and thus you) starts hav­ing a melt down — not to men­tion help­ing you get an up­grade more quickly than you ex­pected.

2. The re­cep­tion­ist

Peo­ple who work the front desk of­ten have a gate­keeper role, which means they hold a lot of power.

They’re the eyes and ears of the com­pany, Ref­s­land says. They know who’s com­ing and go­ing, how long they’ve been at the com­pany and all sorts of other use­ful in­for­ma­tion. “Make a con­nec­tion here and you’ll know what’s go­ing on un­der the radar,” he says.

3. The boss

Yes, you’ve got to rock your job to be a suc­cess at work. That’s key to get­ting your boss to re­spect you. But if he or she also likes you you’ll be top of mind when it’s time for a raise or pro­mo­tion. “Your boss and other bosses have big in­flu­ence in the com­pany — it’s al­ways a smart move to be­friend them,” Ref­s­land says.

Eas­ier said than done, right? It’s not like you’re go­ing to ask the per­son who signs off on your pay­checks to grab a beer af­ter work.

But you can start by making idle con­ver­sa­tion on per­sonal top­ics where you know you have over­lap (“How was the surf­ing in Oahu? I’m plan­ning a trip there next year…”). Even­tu­ally, once you’re more buddy-buddy, you can work your way up to lunch

4. The ad­min­is­tra­tive pro­fes­sional

It’s not just the bosses who have sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on your ca­reer. Peo­ple who man­age those ex­ec­u­tives’ cal­en­dars can also be very help­ful con­nec­tions, says New York City ca­reer coach An­gelina Dar­ri­saw.

In ad­di­tion, they of­ten carry out high-level tasks or del­e­gate projects you could get in­volved in.

5. The in­flu­encer

In ev­ery com­pany, there are a few peo­ple ev­ery­one sees as valu­able and pow­er­ful, Ref­s­land says. “Th­ese peo­ple have a lot of in­flu­ence when big de­ci­sions are taken, and it`s al­ways an ad­van­tage to have a good re­la­tion­ship with them.”

To make con­nec­tions with th­ese peo­ple, set up one-onone meet­ings ask­ing them for their ad­vice as you start your job, advises Os­born. Ask ques­tions like “what made you join this com­pany?” and “what keeps you here?” Find out how they mea­sure suc­cess and who else they rec­om­mend you talk to in or­der to learn more about the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“Peo­ple will usu­ally help con­nect you to the real movers and shak­ers,” says Os­born, “and steer you away from the lower per­form­ers or employees bad at­ti­tudes.”

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