CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAR. 05, 2014
version 4, draft 4

The 5 People You'll Meet Your First Day on the Job

We’ve all heard about the five people we’ll meet in Heaven. But first you have to deal with the five people you’ll meet on your first day on your new job. These five people can change the course of your career, so you’d better know how to recognize them. They could be the five most important people you’ll ever meet.

1. The Grande Dame

Who she is

This woman has usually been with the company since God made dirt. She’s often the assistant to a top executive…and maybe a couple of his predecessors. This woman knows where all of the skeletons are buried. She knows how things work. She knows the company culture, the history, and the personalities. She might not have much authority, but she wields more power than anybody else in the company.

How to get on her good side

The key to working with The Grande Dame is to acknowledge her unofficial power. Let her know you realize she holds the keys to the kingdom. Ask for her help, not just with administrative stuff, but with the big stuff: Why is the VP of marketing so opposed to my idea? Why did everybody look at me like I had killed their kitten when I suggested bringing data management back in-house? Just remember that, for this strategy to work, it has to be sincere. She’s not dumb, and flattery will earn her wrath. Treat her like the wealth of knowledge she is, and she’ll take you under her wing.

 

2. The Anti-Social Genius

Who he is

Everybody knows this guy (or girl…think Chloe in 24). Lack of social skills is ignored because…well, because he’s brilliant.

How to get him on your side

Realize that he’s probably an extreme introvert. Never, ever just walk into his space and start blabbing, no matter how important it is. If you do, you’ll hear a giant sucking sound as his brain disengages from whatever it is he’s working on, and you’ll have to wait while it does a hard reset. And that’s if the universe doesn’t explode. Instead of interrupting, quietly ask, “Will you have time to talk in a few minutes?” Don’t expect an answer; be happy if you get a nod. Then just go stand off to the side and wait. And if you really, really want to endear yourself, run social interference. If you sit near him, intercept visitors: “He’s right in the middle of something right now, but he’ll call you as soon as he finishes.”

 

3. The Extroverted Dreamer

 Who he is

This is the guy who barges into your space and just starts talking a mile a minute. The conversations are typically stream-of-consciousness – not only circuitous, but fast. You’ll need a GPS and a few energy drinks to keep up. But he strikes gold often enough that he’s considered a rock star.

How to get him on your side

This guy needs somebody to share his excitement while anchoring him to reality. His secret desire is that somebody will write down every word he says, harvesting all of the gems he throws out, because he’s making it up as he goes along. He thinks by talking, and, if he has a stroke of genius, he wants somebody to record it for posterity.

First, listen. He needs a sounding board. Second, when he pauses to breathe, try to sum the conversation up: “So you think Y might be a good way to solve X, and you’d like me to run some scenarios to find out. Who needs to see the results?”

 

4. The Boss’s Daughter

Who she is

The boss’s daughter is dangerous. She has the ability to completely trip up your career…and not just for the reason you think. The biggest risk in working with the boss’s daughter is discounting the possibility that she actually deserves to be there. Just because daddy got her invited to the game doesn’t mean she won’t knock it out of the park once she’s there. And if she is brilliant? She’ll know what you’re thinking, so if you treat her like an idiot, she’ll put you in your place. Publicly.

How to get on her good side

First, don’t hit on her. Second, treat her as if she’s highly skilled. Being patronizing to the boss’s daughter is a good way to earn the wrath of both the boss AND his daughter.

 

5. The Whiner

Who he is

You know the whiner…he’s overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, and gets unfair performance reviews. Nothing is ever his fault. But five minutes with the whiner, and you’ll wonder if you made a huge mistake.

How to get on his good side

Bottom line? Don’t. You’ve heard the saying about birds of a feather? You don’t want to be linked too closely to the whiner. Be polite (there’s never an excuse for being rude), but don’t encourage the whining. Where The Whiner is concerned, it’s best to stick to business.

So when you walk into your office that first day, keep your eyes open. Meeting these five people just might be the most important thing you do that day, so you’ll want to make sure you recognize them.

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'

LEAVE A COMMENT

0 comments

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'


G up arrow
</script> </script>