Who’s Who in the Zoo

The worst of the worst happened to me this morning. My old, faithful work laptop from 1999 finally bit the dust. After weeks of it crashing and rebooting, IT let me know that there was no more hope and that it was past it’s warranty. Being resourceful I hopped on a vacant desktop and got back to work. Of course it isn’t the same starting on a new computer and remapping folders and finding your favourite links, this can be a huge challenge. This did get me thinking though about my reaction to this situation and how I immediately walked downstairs to the IT department and asked for help.

When crisis strikes in the workplace, I have realized that it is important to know exactly who can help you. My Grandma used to always say that you should befriend your butcher, that way they always ensure that you get the highest-grade, best cut meat. Now, I am telling you it is equally important to build friendships with certain roles in your workplace. These will be the people that help you out when you find yourself in trouble. Of course you should be friendly with everyone in your workplace but here are my top 4 must have work friends:

  1. IT Technician- If you’re like me and one popup sends you on tail spin unsure of whether you should hit cancel or run, it is best you make friends with your IT technician. This way when you are in a jam and need computer aid ASAP they will hopefully put you at the top of their priority list.
  1. Administrative Assistant- These are the folks that know the ins and outs of the organization. They will let you on the latest office updates and maybe even hook you up with free leftover meeting food. Where I work they also book the meetings rooms, which is an added bonus because they will ensure that there is always something available for you.
  1. Your Supervisor- Being on your supervisors good side should be your ultimate goal! This is the person who can get you anything you need and will drop your name to the right people. They also approve a lot of the things you do so having a trusting relationship with them is important
  1. A Mentor- They will teach you the unwritten rules of the organization. A mentor is the perfect person to go to if you have a question that may not be appropriate for your supervisor but you need an honest answer. Building a strong personal relationship with this person and connecting on a deeper level will allow to get more out of this relationship than just coaching tips but will allow you truly understand the way of doing things in your organization.

I considered adding Human Resources as a final contact but opted not too. This is because I always get the same reaction from people: “Oh no, better be on your best behaviour because HR is nearby.” People don’t realize that HR is not the policy police but rather we are staff managers. This means that we advise those that make decisions (line managers). So yes, I do believe you should befriend HR but not because you think it will somehow exempt you from following policies.

So that’s the who’s who in the zoo and I highly recommend you go now and start building up your network of key contacts. You never know when your computer is going crash or if you’ll need a last minute meeting room booked. And take it from me and my shiny new laptop that making friends with the right people will truly make you better off.


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