Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Two Cents

The weather was great today. Even though the air was cool, the sun was warm and the sky was clear and blue. I say this not from first hand experience because truth be told, I spent the day in the bowels of an electronic data center chasing the elusive cause of computer glitch. My ears are still ringing from the din of clattering disk drives, cooling fans, and air conditioning.
I don't really know how all this stuff works, but I know how it all fits together and I know who to call when one of the individual pieces breaks.
In fact, the secret to how I've survived in this ever changing environment is in my relationships at work. I'm naturally curious about what people do. And instead of sending emails, voice mails or other forms of communication, I find out where people sit and I go to their desks. I put a face with a name and I show genuine interest in their work. I tell them what I do and offer my assistance if they ever need me. If they call, I do my best to deliver. When I need their help, I go to them and explain my problem first hand and ask for their help. It is rare that people don't help when I ask.
It is important to understand that you can't continue going to the well (asking the same person for help) without some kind of payback. If someone helps me, I always say thank you. I send a formal note to their boss. I usually recommend that the boss double the salary of the person who helped me. Obviously the boss doesn't give them a raise based on my recommendation, but an at-a-boy often produces equity that does figure into job performance evaluations which can mean the difference in whether someone gets a raise or not.
I've said all this to say: you don't have to be the smartest person in your field to do well. It does pay to learn as much as you can. It also pays to learn who the smart people are and befriend them if possible. If you can be of service to these people, do it without strings attached....without asking for anything in return. If the day comes when you need their help, ask them without mentioning the favor you did for them...they will remember without you having to remind them. NEVER take credit for the work of others and lastly, ALWAYS say thank you.

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