Overall I believe I have some of the characteristics associated with a good employee. But one area I have always struggled with encompasses a lot of what falls outside one's hard job duties, such as forging strong relationships with coworkers and superiors, building a network, etc. At the moment I'm no longer pursuing my old career path and have to work on starting anew, so this seems like a good point to ask questions and reevaluate my usual way of doing things.
One thing has always made me feel quite stressed when I arrive to work: the early morning "chitchat" amongst colleagues. The stress factor comes from wanting to review my email to see if anything urgent requires attention and also the feeling that a superior who notices too much chitchatting will think poorly of me.
At the same time colleagues who are "rebuffed" in the morning frequently end up with the incorrect impression that I do not want to get to know them or that I am just plain surly.
My question is: How do you handle this issue? How much time do you spend doing "social calls" with colleagues in the morning? And do you think the value of it outweighs getting straight to work?