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Strategies for Making Friends in a Professional Setting

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We tend to gravitate towards fun-loving people!  The old adage, "Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone", is a nice way to remind ourselves of the power of laughter. To be successful, we need to go beyond fun and consciously build an environment that stimulates our professional growth. Being strategic with this process provides you access to talent and experience that will move you in the right direction!

Learn to be mindful of the people you work with! Identify the office gossip before you are used as a pawn. Do not fear attitudes used by lazy people to do their own thing. Evaluate your ego, your moral integrity, and your ability to afford a lawyer before you engage with matters that are suspect and not work-related. Refrain from complaining through rambling e-mails that produce evidence to question your sanity. Do not live just below the radar. It is a lifestyle employed by those who want to do as little as possible. Be confident of what you know and have the courage to ask for help when you need it!

Contrary to many professionals believing they know it all, it is support staff who are the workplace special forces unit. Treat them with dignity and respect they will always be at your side when you need rescuing! Take the time to listen and give praise when it is well deserved. Be mindful of people who leap to conclusions and those who use relevant information to draw rational conclusions. The latter group is who you want to emulate!

Take the time to identify and interact with effective and productive people you can learn from! Productive people go quietly about their business fully aware of what it takes to be gainfully employed, especially in a tough economy. They do not need volume to validate what they do because quality speaks for itself. Productive people respect a solid work ethic and go out of their way to help when they see a need. Choose your mentor - smart and productive, gossip monger, or office clown - based on your goal. Who you align yourself with is really who you are choosing to become!


Patrick Pillai, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Special Education Service Agency

Anchorage, Alaska

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