Growing up in public schools, I always had that thought of, “Maybe I should befriend that weird person just in case someday he decides to totally go berserk, so maybe I can make it out alive.” This isn’t particularly true in the workplace, but there are definitely certain people you need to befriend who you aren’t thinking of. Certain people can really make work much more tolerable. Let’s take a look at who I’m talking about.
The Been There Forever, No One Knows What He Does Coworker
Let’s call this coworker Bob. Bob has been at the company longer than anyone you or anyone else knows. Bob hasn’t really moved up that far in the company, but he seems to be untouchable when it comes to layoffs or extra work. Trust me when I say this: Bob should be your mentor. Aspiring to that level of tenure takes practice, years of luck, and keeping to yourself. Most of the time, the Bobs of the office are silent, never get worked up, and have little to no regard for what people think of them. You need to be Bob’s shadow. Don’t let him notice you, though — he will do whatever it takes to keep up his secretive nature of doing nothing.
This one is high up on the list and not many people would expect it. Let me tell you why. These people have incredible knowledge about everyone. They usually know everyone and who those people are hanging around with for lunch. That means they know that when you took that “three hour lunch with a client,” you really just forgot to set your alarm when you fell asleep in your car on your lunch break. In some companies, these people can secretly be responsible for making sure people are working the right amount of hours. Bottom line is, get to know these people. Ask them about their lives. Most people just want to give a “good morning” and nothing else, but having these people on your side can be a job-saver.
Your Go-To IT Guy
IT departments at companies can be quite large. Somehow, though, when I have IT issues, the same few IT people always help me. Realizing this, I started talking to them, and what they can do for you if they like you is amazing. Have a company phone? Want a newer model or accessory? They know how to get it to you for free and quickly. Want faster internet? Companies often throttle employee bandwidth, and your IT guru knows how to give you more. They are also the people who can dig into your computer history and tell how much time you really spent watching questionable videos and reading PGP articles instead of working. These people are more often that not on the nerdy side, so get your nerd on and find out what gets them talking.
The Person Who Knows Where The Free Food Is
If your company has any outside vendors or people who you buy tons of stuff from, there’s a good chance they sometimes bring breakfast or lunch to the building. This normally only goes to the group that actually interacts with that outside vendor. Who’s to say you can’t partake, though? Maybe you forgot your lunch. Horrible hangover and need some food to keep from dying? Or, more than likely, you are jumping at the chance of saving money on food and this time, not by still eating ramen noodles. I guarantee you there is a guy who knows when and where that food is going to be. (There’s a 50 percent chance this person is the front desk or security person mentioned earlier.) If your company has food brought in sometimes and you think to yourself, “there’s no one who always knows where the food is,” I feel sorry for you. My advice? Stake out the food area a couple times and see who always shows up. This person could definitely be your guy, or at least know the guy — or know the guy who knows the guy.
TL;DR: Aspire to do nothing, befriend security and nerds, get free food..