I was recently talking with one of my sisters, and she was discussing a situation at her work. I don’t remember all the details, but it boiled down to the fact, that if the admin staff like you, they’re much more likely to help you get things done. Get on their bad side, and good luck.
I think this is something everyone should remember – whether in grad school or a real job. Even as a grad student, you’ll always been interacting with admins. From the secretary of your department, to a possible grad secretary, and the admin in charge of accounting (who’ll be processing your reimbursements). There’s also the admin staff over at the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or whatever it’s called at your university).
These people can either make your life easier, or your life harder. And since there’s enough other things that will be making your life harder, it’s best to do what you can to make things easier.
So, how do you get them on your side:
- Always be polite. They aren’t there for you to yell at or vent any anger towards. They have a zillion tasks to do, and helping you is just one of them.
- Always say thank you. Show your appreciation for any work they do for you. It’s amazing how many people forget to say thank you. And it’s amazing how far a simple thank you and a smile will go.
- Try to make your tasks timely. Don’t put things off of the last minute. Make sure you give them ample time to respond to your queries.
- Do your own homework on what you’re asking. Don’t go asking questions whose answers are easily found elsewhere. And don’t expect them to know everything.
Some benefits of having them on your side:
- They’ll be more willing to help you out when you’re in a crunch.
- They may give you a heads up on scholarships and be a positive voice in your favor.
- They’ll often keep you in mind and will send people looking for positive influences in the department to you.