You spend most of your day at work. Why not make some friends while you’re there?
You won’t just have more fun — you’ll be happier and work better. Gallup research shows that developing close friendships at work boosts employee satisfaction by almost 50%. And while we don’t always choose our friends with career success in mind (company happy hour, ahem), there are some people in the workplace whose friendship can actually make us perform better on the job.
Whether or not you want to spend time with them after work, it would behoove you to develop at least a pleasant rapport with them.
Here are our top 3:
1. The IT Manager
When your computer freezes, your emails disappear, or you can’t for the life of you remember your password, there’s only one person to turn to: the IT manager.
They may or may not be someone you’d actually hang out with outside of work, but make sure they’re your buddy on the job. Between making sure your computer won’t crash just before a big deadline and having the power to see everything you’ve ever done on the Internet, this is someone whose good side you definitely want to stay on.
And this means more than just smiling when you ask them for help. Be friendly even when you’re not having a Windows crisis! Strike up conversations in the kitchen, find out where they’re from, ask them what they’re doing over the weekend. Be their friend and when the company orders a new MacBook Pro — and they get to choose who gets it — you’ll be at the top of the list.
2. The Veteran
Chances are there’s someone at your company who’s been there longer than you. She knows the processes inside out. She’s connected to all the right people. She was there when the company still offered free snacks, for goodness sake. She’s your go-to gal for any question you have that you’d rather not ask your own manager.
But beware — all veterans were not created equal. Some are more willing to help than others, and it’ll take some time and research to pinpoint your match. The veteran you want to make friends with is the one who has been most welcoming since you first started, the one who is patient and has always been comfortable answering your questions. Ideally, she’s someone whose company you actually kind of enjoy, and who you have other things in common with. You don’t want her to feel like your friendship is a one-way street.
3. The Cross-Department Crony
No matter how much you love your job, there are always things you need to vent about. And while it’s helpful to talk to others who share your job function — and therefore your specific grievances — sometimes this kind of relationship can be dangerous territory. You might end up feeding off of one another’s negativity or reinforcing their biased opinion. And what happens when one of you gets promoted? Talk about awkward!
A safer shoulder to cry on is one that belongs to someone who works in an entirely different department. They may be able to give you a more objective perspective on your situation than someone who’s deep in it with you. They’re far enough removed from the situation and most importantly, your own boss. And finally, they may confess to you their frustrations with their own crazy department, which will make you feel better about yours!
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