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4 Kinds of Non-IT People Who Can Help Your IT Career

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4 Kinds of Non-IT People Who Can Help Your IT Career

Getting ahead in IT involves doing a lot of things right. You can’t do it alone, though! Getting to know other people can be just as helpful as in any other industry. Now, I’m not talking about taking advantage of people, or just using them to get ahead. Instead, these are the kinds of people you should genuinely get to know, in order to find out more about the company and see how everyone can best work together. Let’s have a look at a few different kinds of non-IT people that can help your IT career.

1. The Front Receptionist

The receptionist in your office is a great person to get to know! They’re the ones responsible for taking calls for the office, accepting deliveries and visitors, and possibly organizing visitor passes and other events. Getting to know the receptionist is helpful.

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Receptionists are very involved in an office and have a lot of interaction with other people. If you’re on good terms with the receptionist, it can be beneficial. They can let you know when certain people come and go, especially if you’re expecting someone from another company or office. They are often quite aware of what’s happening around the office, and can let you know some of the details if you’re interested.

2. The Manager’s Personal Assistant

Many senior people in an organization are busy and have a lot that they need to do. This is why they hire a personal assistant. A personal assistant, or PA, is generally someone who works with a senior manager and organizes their work life for them.

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They are responsible for setting up meetings, taking calls, booking flights and hotels, sending emails to groups of people, and making general arrangements. Similarly to a receptionist, it’s good to get to know them to find out what’s happening within the company.

Another good reason to get to know the PA is that you’ll get more visibility with their manager. If you’re getting your name mentioned in front of senior management, it’s a very good thing, especially if the PA can put in a good word for you.

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3. Those-Who-Know-Everything-In-The-Office

Every office has this kind of person. They are the single most knowledgeable person in the company. In some cases, it seems like they know everything!

Do you need to get new stationery ordered? They will know who to call. Do you need to book a meeting room? They will know how. Do you need to claim an expense receipt? Set up access in a HR system? Get your IT issue fast-tracked? Find out who to talk with to get more information? This is the person who will know what, who, how, and where to do all of these tasks.

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It’s good to first identify who this person is, and then get to know them. This isn’t just to use them for their knowledge—it’s good to know everyone in the office—I’m suggesting that this kind of person can help you do your job better, and it’s easier to do that if they’re friendly with you.

4. Building Security

The security officers in the building are important people to know. You probably won’t have a lot to do with them, so it can be hard to get to know them, but it’s also useful.

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They are probably responsible for setting up your security pass and showing you in and out of the building occasionally. They’re also around to keep an eye on the place after hours. In some cases, you may be required to work extra hours to get work done. At these times it can be helpful to know the security team, as it can make it easier getting in and out of the building and office, which can help your career in the long term.

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Ben Brumm

Ben is a business analyst and software developer. He shares career advice on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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