I started my first job a couple weeks ago (just for the summer). Do you have any tips for getting along with everybody at work?

First of all, congratulations on taking that big step into the world of paychecks. And secondly, congratulations on realizing that there's more to a job than a paycheck. There's the important business of working well with your boss and your fellow employees.

You probably already know that you're not going to be best friends with everybody you meet in life. You'll like some people a lot, and you'll like other people a little. Of course, you'll run into people you don't enjoy at all. At the workplace, you don't get to choose all your favorite people to share your shifts. So, you need to keep a few keywords in mind:

Patience — Everyone has an approach and a pace that suits him or her best. Your co-workers probably won't do a job exactly like you. Working together, though, you'll all find a rhythm that lets you make the most of your styles, talents, and timing.

Respect — You expect your thoughts and ideas to be heard. You expect to be treated with fairness. And you expect your contributions to be valued. In those regards, you and everyone else are the same. At your job, you have the opportunity (might call it an obligation) to respect your co-workers and your customers.

Open-Mindedness — People look, act, walk, talk, and live as unique individuals. Our different identities make for an interesting world. What we share defines us as human beings. As internationally respected author and educator Maya Angelou says, "We are more alike, my friend, than we are unalike."

Positive attitude — Ever notice how you get grumpy when you hang around grumpy people? It works the other way, too. Happy, positive people make you feel good — about yourself and about them. Pass your positive on to your new co-workers.

Sense of proportion — So, what's the BIG deal? Most stuff is small stuff, and you know what they say: Don't sweat the small stuff. No doubt, you'll have some good times in your new job. You'll probably have a bad day now and then, too. It all balances out if you take the experiences for what they're worth — a good education. (Wow! That can happen outside the classroom!)

Here's a way to remember these five tips: The first letter of each word or phrase put together spells out PROPS. Give yourself some PROPS for getting out in the job market — and dealing with all the new people you're bound to meet.