The University of Central Florida's Todd Dagenais wrote a column published on Huffington Post in April 2015 that gives some of the best career advice available: "Get to know the custodians." He learned through his career as a volleyball coach that this doesn't mean just learn the names of the janitors. There is much more to this secret to career happiness.
Start out by introducing yourself to the custodians, yes, but go beyond that. Chat with them. Get to know them as people. Go in with the attitude that you know nothing. You don't. When you start a new job, listen to what others can share with you about your new workplace. They have a lot to teach you about your own department, colleagues, and office politics.
Even better, you can become friends with them. Dagenais was even invited to play floor hockey with the custodians where he worked. Never turn down the opportunity to make a new friend.
"Custodian" has a deeper meaning, however, than just "cleaner and repairer." A custodian is someone who takes care of someone or something. In Dagenais' case, the usually unpleasant office assistant with whom he had become acquaintances helped him send out a package late just because she baked cookies for the mail carriers' kids on a regular basis. She had learned to take care of the mail carrier, and the mail carrier took the package for her.
Relationships at work can make an important difference in your job success. It's not about being nice to someone in a less prestigious position just so that they will do something nice for you when you don't deserve it. The point is not about making life easier for yourself.
It's about being a decent human being to those around you and making the world a better place. Being someone who does that is always a smart career move. Others want to be around you, and you get the pleasure of helping them when you can. That is a bit selfish, yes; it does feel good to help other people out, and that can make your work experience that much better.