Keepin’ Tabs

You hear it all the time: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

It’s a phrase more abused than the words “hater,” “pause,” “brand,” and “I left my bank card at home” combined. And you know what? No matter how many times someone says it, it’s still true.

In many facets of our lives – namely our education and career – it’s imperative to establish good rapport with your teachers, advisors, and bosses.

For those of you in school, make sure you get to know those teaching you. Not only will a better relationship with a professor help your learning experience, it will also aid you if you need certain favors.

No, a professor liking you won’t get you an “A” automatically but if you’re borderline (pass or fail) your chances look more favorable – and your mama would avoid having to ask you in her best Dave Chappelle impression “what did the five fingers say to the face?”

Also, depending on the class, a professor may come directly from the field you’re looking to work in. Good grades and good conversation with a professor could lead them to pointing you in a helpful direction. It’s better than being flipped the middle finger.

Plenty of people score internships and jobs that aren’t even public knowledge through their teachers and advisors.

If you’re looking into graduate school, a strongly worded recommendation letter from a professor or advisor who knows you will help a lot more than a generic letter from someone who doesn’t. Or, let’s be honest – a letter you wrote yourself and someone simply signed to be nice.

Yes, people can often tell the difference.

Good ways to build great relationships with professors include going to class (it seems like a duh, but trust, many don’t go regularly), and going there on time, because they will remember you being “fashionably late” more than you being a good student, utilizing their office hours, keeping contact via email (but professionally), and not having grades that start with the letters D (do better), F (for real?), or even C (could’ve tried harder).

As for your professional life, there’s nothing worse than a hateful old boss who wants to see you scrubbing toilets at Taco Bell. Chances are, prospective employers will check in to see how you behaved at your previous job.

Try and leave on the best terms with your old boss so that your old relationships won’t sour the ones you’re making in the present and future. Don’t let an old boss steal your light by way of an awful reference that leaves you in a position where you can’t pay your light bill.

Many times bosses will have one-on-one meetings with their staff members to go over their work performance. Use these meetings to get to know your boss. It makes a difference in your bonus, salary adjustment, and promotions, too.

You don’t have to become BFFs or act like they nursed you, but don’t treat your boss like they stole your childhood either. Value these tips as they make a difference.

People with strong networks get more things done and done more effectively. They use the contacts they make to move further along in their goals. They also understand that networking entails being able to work your net to your advantage, not just knowing someone.

Lastly, please remember that even less than positive relationships can be handled by you in a manner that allows a professor, boss, advisor, etc. to still speak kindly of you. Trust us, many a false steps have been made by burning a bridge you may very well have to cross again. Think about these tips the next time you peace out your professor or boss and start humming “Deuces” by Chris Brown. U DEFINE SUCCESS