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The True Office Power Brokers

May 14th, 2008 · 1 Comment

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1) The Administrative Assistant-
On the one hand, the administrative assistants and secretaries keep the world turning. They route the communications, schedule the workday, make the meetings happen, facilitate the introductions and most importantly, manage your manager. You always want to be deferential to their power to keep you in the loop.

But it is their relationship to the bosses that make them especially important to your career. They are power brokers in the truest sense of the phrase. Bosses tend to be unaware of the soft power their assistants have over them. So if you need to approach your boss without seeming to direct, the assistant is the best route to take. Like Charlie Sheen in Wall Street, wooing the assistants, male and female, is about getting a boost from the true courtiers who can make the right introduction at the right time.

In addition, the assistant or secretary can be the best source of information and intelligence when you need to know a boss’ intentions or read their mood.

2) The IT Guy.
As more and more of our worklife is lived on the company network, the guys and gals holding the keys to that network are increasingly powerful. Being in the good graces with the IT guy can provide you with a myriad of benefits. Maybe you just want them to let Rhapsody through the firewall so you can listen to music when at your desk. Or maybe you just want to be the first person to be serviced when something goes wrong with your computer. If you’re up against a deadline and you don’t have time for a computer crash, it’s an insurance policy to know IT will come running for you first.

But the IT-folk can be an all-around boon to your productivity. It seems to be universal that IT-people love the latest gadgets and innovations. They love showing off and turning others on to cool new tricks. If you’re part of their kewl kids club, you’ll always be on the cutting edge when it comes to the latest and greatest ways to work more efficiently.

3) Security.
It’s always a good thing to be friends with the bouncers of the club. You never know when you might need them to look the other way when you’re up to shenanigans. You never know when you might need to be let in after hours… or let out early. Security people can also be a good source of information and gossip. After all, they’re monitoring everyone.

4) The Custodial Staff.
Like a combination of the IT Guy and the Security guy, the custodial staff can bail you out of real jams if you’re on good terms with them. And like security, they’re always in the background, watching and listening.

5) The Office Gossip.
Being friendly with this person is not just about keeping abreast of the latest office scuttlebutt. It’s also about covering your own ass. Being pals with the office blabbermouth means you’re less likely to be gossiped about… or, at least, most likely to be defended. The person that controls the underground flow of information can be person best positioned to monitor the rising or falling of your own stock (personal stock, not stock market stock) in the office. You’ll know sooner about opportunities to jump on and about threats to avoid.

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Tags: Getting Ahead · Office Politcs

  • Willy

    Don’t forget the cook/chef/cafeteria lady or dude. There’s nothing better than hitting the wall at 2 PM and having her knock on the door asking you to try out her newest cookie recipe.