Office Knowledge You Should Definitely Have

Everyone knows what street-smart is.  But check out these tips to keep you office-smart. A little practical office knowledge can go a long way!

Use your holiday allowance wisely

There are only a very limited amount of weeks in the year where you can escape work and are completely free to do your own bidding. Use this time wisely to visit friends and family, go on adventures and really make the most of your life. This does not include taking precious holiday days because you anticipate being hungover, or because you really need to paint the fence. Plan ahead, and be smart about how you take your holiday.

If you don’t ask you won’t get

It may sound clichéd, but actually asking for what you want – be it a promotion, a raise, or simply a clearer explanation of a task or role you’ve been asked to take on – is the most likely way to get what you want. One of the reasons men tend to succeed to positions of power and higher salaries faster than female counterparts is because they’re unafraid to actually question their superiors as to how and when they will advance.

Your co-workers are not automatically your friends

Whilst it would be lovely if you could walk into a new office and straight in a group of new mates, it doesn’t quite work like that. Remember that your professional relationship with colleagues, especially your superiors or those operating at a higher level in general, will come before any personal attachment you may form. Don’t assume that just because you go out for drinks with Lauren or Jia once a week she has your back if everything goes pear-shaped from a work perspective.

If something looks or sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Whether this is an extra day off on the schedule, an extra amount of money gone into your account with your salary or collection of brilliant projects all headed your way at the same time, things which look a little too good to be true usually are. Whilst you should always be optimistic, don’t be naïve, and always ask if something looks amiss rather than blindly assuming the best.

Office politics exist and you will be drawn into it

No matter how hard you try to adopt the moral high ground and rise above the catty insults and scheming which is present in every office, you will inevitably be drawn into it at some point. Be aware of where the current tensions in your office lie and how best to avoid the battle zones. Make sure, however, that should you fall prey to the office gossip, or become a scapegoat in order to get someone above you off the hook, you have allies and friends who will stand their ground and defend you, even if it is over the pettiest coffee mug argument.

You should only offer to do extra work if it will help you to get ahead.

A kind, alturistic mindset is all very well.  But in the office – and the corporate work especially – generosity ought to be rationed, and used sparingly where you boss will appreciate it. Otherwise, you’ll soon find yourself buried in a pile of other people’s work, and your help will be expected rather than appreciated.

Alexandra Jane writes for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which helps career starters find everything from project management roles to marketing internships.

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