As soon as you left high school, most people enter the workplace where there’s a large window of opportunity to showcase your talents that you’ve acquired over the years. High school was also an opportunity to be sociable and learn how to get along with the popular kids as well as the nerds. While there are some differences in the workplace, there are also some similarities. Such as: The workplace consists of the popular kids, also known as the managers and those who are closely associated with the manager. The sooner you learn who’s associated with whom (the decision makers), the better off you and sometimes your pocket book will be. I’m the first to admit that being cordial vs. fake is a fine line, but there are definitely ways to be more cordial than fake and meet your objective.
With any new workplace environment, the first couple of weeks consists of getting used to the environment, where do you sit and who you will be working with. When you’ve finally figured out the part of who you work with, you think you’re done right? WRONG!!
Your next unofficial step is to seek information of who is associated with whom. Why you may ask? Well, these details will assist you in getting through the maze called the workplace. Especially, when it comes to promotions, job assignments, etc. it will also ensure your workload is a bit less than the person sitting next to you. All you have to do is listen and be aware of the following:
*Who is associated with whom?
*Who is a friend with someone that’s in a position of leadership?
*Who has a direct connection with the boss (who is the right hand man)?
* Be mindful of workplace politics (don’t get caught up in someone else’s fight)
I’m not here to tell you not to be friendly towards your co-workers. I’m only trying to warn you about some of the pitfalls that occur in the workplace. If you’re not careful, you could easily become a victim of retribution, or not being promoted, based on some who knows someone else, that doesn’t like the way you looked at them that day. We must understand that there are boundaries that should be drawn in the workplace, in order to be successful and elevate to the next level. Surround yourself around people who will speak the truth and assist you at your current level, without stepping on the next person, in order to get ahead. We all know there will always be that one (or two) people who go out of their way to cause hate and discontent. However, never stoop to their level. Always take the high road and remain professional. Will there be lazy people who you’ll have to carry? Absolutely! But, that doesn’t mean that you cannot be successful or that you have to succumb to the day-to-day politics. Depending on the workplace environment, there will always (and I mean ALWAYS) an element of competition for the next management or lead role. The key is to document all of your accomplishments and actively communicate with your manager so he or she knows that you care about your career. In the workplace, silence is not always golden, especially when it comes to promotions. I’ve heard managers say about other colleagues “I didn’t know they were interested, because they never said anything.” In others words, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. Speak up and work toward your career goals, because no one else will. Be your own and best advocate.