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A Guide to Being the Office Suck-Up

Ask your superiors what they actually want.
Before you start hanging around your boss' desk each day chatting and complimenting them, take a minute to have a serious conversation about what their expectations are for your position and how he or she would prefer to be communicated with.

"A lot of people assume they know what makes their boss happy, but they are often wrong," Pollak says. "You might think it's a good idea to suck up by cc-ing your boss on everything, but your boss might not like getting lots of emails."

Always volunteer to do more.
Flattery and nice gestures can be a useful tool to get ahead in the office, but they should never be used in place of hard work. For that reason, Pollak recommends taking the initiative and volunteering to do more work whenever possible. That said, if you are so ambitious that you start to take away work from other co-workers, you might spark some animosity in the office.

Don't forget to 'suck down' as well.
Every employee wants to impress their manager, but you shouldn't just suck up to that one person.

"You also have to suck down because you just never know where people will end up," says Charles Purdy, a career adviser for "It's very shortsighted to suck up to one person and not another."

Just as you would with a boss, you should take time to ask anyone you work closely with how you can be most helpful to them and offer to go above and beyond whenever possible. The more people in your department who like you, the better your prospects at that company. As for those you don't work closely with, you should try to be friendly and as generous with your time as you can be. After all, that person in the mail room might just end up being your boss one day.

Avoid too much empty flattery.
There's no sin in complimenting your boss's new haircut, just be careful not to do it too much or it might get awkward.

"People like to be flattered, but empty flattery is cheesy. Don't overdo it," Pollak says. "You can tell when people laugh it off. Use your judgment."

Don't overdo it on Facebook either.
Sucking up doesn't just happen in the office, it can also take place on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and the same rules apply.

"If you are friends with your boss on Facebook and constantly saying how cute her kids are or how brilliant her posts are, that gets a little creepy," Pollak says. A better option is to use Facebook to show off a little bit of your personality and insight to impress your boss that way. Just make sure you're careful not to share too much.

Rethink your position if you aren't comfortable sucking up.
Some bosses are more susceptible to shameless flattery than others. So if you notice your boss gives favorable treatment to those kind of suck-ups, you have two options: either play the game or don't. If you choose the latter, it's probably time to move elsewhere.

"If you work in an environment where your boss is swayed by that, then you are not in the right position, because you will not be promoted as quickly as someone who is willing to do that," Purdy says. Just remember that wherever you go, you'll probably still need to do a little bit of sucking up now and then.

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