WTF should I do?



  • This does not involve code.

    I've got a bit of a problem at work. The problem is, I work quite fast and perform reasonably well. (Insofar as one can judge one's own performance.)

    The problem is that my project manager is refusing to give me new tasks to work on. I can't just start something on my own, since he'll just delete it from the server if he doesn't recognize it. I've talked to our supervisor, and he said that the company is insane and the bureaucracy is something that we just have to live with.

    But there's more - the project manager keeps giving me tasks that he deems impossible. For example, he told me to make a Viterbi decoder (yes, a decoder). I did it, even though I had previous never heard of such a thing. I learned later that the company was going to have to pay $900k to licence one, and that most people consider that money well spent. The next task was to review over three thousand pages of patent file wrappers to determine if we may have to pay royalties on the stuff we're working on. (I'm an electrical engineer, not an attorney.) That's all done, and since I can, you know, read, it didn't take nearly as long as he thought.

    I literally have nothing to do all day. I've been begging (yes, via email so there's a record) for stuff to do. I mentioned to the supervisor that I've got nothing to do, and all he said was, "that's quite unusual."

    So what should I do?



  • Slob out, read TDWTF and Slashdot all day, report your management structure as a WTF and use your creative energies in your own time?



  • [quote user="themagni"] The problem is, I work quite fast and perform reasonably well.[/quote]

    Yes, that is a problem. Most peolple don't work fast or perform well, which means you'll outpace everyone else and be stuck with ... oh wait ...

    [quote user="themagni"]I literally have nothing to do all day. [/quote]

    Yep, as expected. Fight the urge to ask for more stuff, too. Because you know what will happen ... oh wait ...

    [quote user="themagni"]The next task was to review over three thousand pages of patent file wrappers[/quote]

    Ha! I so saw that coming. And if you think that's bad, it can only get worse; wait your manager tasks you with an incredibly tedious task that takes a long time to do ... and then discards all of your work because "they decided to not use it anyway." That's not stupidity, that's a lesson to you: quit complaining.

    This is just a fact of life and is very common in large companies. I've been there so many times and have the paperclip sculptures to prove it. You have two choices that are in your best interest:

    Deal with it. You've been given sign after sign (impossible tasks, "that's unusual") that no one cares and if you continue down the "I got nothing to do route", you will gain nothing but resentment from your coworkers who do have a lot of stuff to do. And trust me, it could get worse: a friend of mine was on a contract that required him to wait for Government Clearance. He waited eight weeks for this and was unable to do nothing except browse MSDN (he had no internet acccess) and listen to NetCasts.

    Quit Your Job. I'm sure you're paid well, but job satisfaction is very important. If you want another job, I know a great place to look: http://jobs.thedailywtf.com/1001/browse.aspx

    I suspect you'll end up doing the latter. Better move fast before your skills dry up!



  • Here's a third choice, but it takes a certain lack of scruples to pull off ...

    Start A Business. I've seen quite a few people do this; consulting while on the clock. Moonliting at the office, etc. I've never done it though ...



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    [quote user="themagni"] The problem is, I work quite fast and perform reasonably well.[/quote]

    Deal with it. You've been given sign after sign (impossible tasks, "that's unusual") that no one cares and if you continue down the "I got nothing to do route", you will gain nothing but resentment from your coworkers who do have a lot of stuff to do. And trust me, it could get worse: a friend of mine was on a contract that required him to wait for Government Clearance. He waited eight weeks for this and was unable to do nothing except browse MSDN (he had no internet acccess) and listen to NetCasts.

    Quit Your Job. I'm sure you're paid well, but job satisfaction is very important. If you want another job, I know a great place to look: http://jobs.thedailywtf.com/1001/browse.aspx

    I suspect you'll end up doing the latter. Better move fast before your skills dry up!

    [/quote]

     

    Hehe, nice plug, Alex.  But seriously, to the original poster: if you've reached that stage the only logical next stage is just what Alex stated in the "Deal with it" section, and that will ultimately lead to some level of depression about your job, then yourself, then life.  It's not a good place to be, no matter the money. My alternative to Alex's suggestion: Start looking now for a job during all that spare work time and read up on how to put together a resume, interview, etc. so that when you get an interview somewhere else you'll be all ready to knock their socks off as you say sayanora (sp?) to your current employer. 



  • [quote user="cavemanf16"]

    as you say sayanora (sp?) to your current employer. [/quote]

     

    I much prefer the sign-off from this one SNL sketch:

     

    "Thank you for flying Total Bastard Airlines.  Buh-bye."

    "Excuse me, I had a problem with--"

    "How do I put this delicately?  Buh-bye."

     



  • [quote user="cavemanf16"]if you've reached that stage the only logical next stage is just what Alex stated in the "Deal with it" section, and that will ultimately lead to some level of depression about your job, then yourself, then life. It's not a good place to be, no matter the money.[/quote]

    I'm already at the end of that sequence. I can tell you that it is a lousy place to be. If the place sucks, GET OUT. Find a job where you will be appreciated. It makes a BIG difference.



  • [quote user="Alex Papadimoulis"]

    Here's a third choice, but it takes a certain lack of scruples to pull off ...

    Start A Business.
    I've seen quite a few people do this; consulting while on the clock.
    Moonliting at the office, etc. I've never done it though ...

    [/quote]

    Not
    to mention that it might be against company policy (my previous
    employer was like this).  Of course, with a standard at-will
    employment agreement you can probably get fired either way if you're
    caught.  But my suspicion is that it's more likely if it's
    explicitly forbidden by something you signed.

    My vote: pick a pet
    project you've wanted to work on but haven't had time to start, and get
    to work!  (Assuming, of course, it's computer-based and not, say,
    cabinetry.)



  • You should do several things:

    1) Tell them the major stress your under and that your going thru your mind trying to get your work done on time, then ask for a pay raise.

    2) Stop asking for more work, no one else there is asking fr extra work, why should you? Maybe they all are finished their assigned projects early but know not to ask for extra work. Always remember: an enthuasiastic employee is an annoying employee that makes other employees go postal. And you'll be the first to go.

    3) Go find another Job, with all this free time you get at work, try use it positive, and get your ass out of there. That job is obviously driving you nuts, time to get out me thinks and put your brain to some good use.



  • [quote user="themagni"]

    I literally have nothing to do all day. I've been begging (yes, via email so there's a record) for stuff to do. I mentioned to the supervisor that I've got nothing to do, and all he said was, "that's quite unusual."

    So what should I do?

    [/quote]

     

    Enjoy the free time.  



  • (Now, I'm not sure who would spend 900k for a Viterbi decoder -- there are even open source implementations available.  But, that aside...) 

     

    You know, everyone else is saying quit, but we know that's not a game plan.  You quit, and now you have no one to tell you what to do -- not even insanely tedious things that aren't really your job anyways.

    I have a better idea.  Come work for me. 

    --Colin McGuigan 



  • Get some study materials, become an MCSE, CCNE, OMGWTFBBQ, etc.



  • [quote user="Colin McGuigan"]

    (Now, I'm not sure who would spend 900k for a Viterbi decoder -- there are even open source implementations available.  But, that aside...) 

     

    You know, everyone else is saying quit, but we know that's not a game plan.  You quit, and now you have no one to tell you what to do -- not even insanely tedious things that aren't really your job anyways.

    I have a better idea.  Come work for me. 

    --Colin McGuigan 

    [/quote]

    All right, PM me the details and we'll chat. 



  • Been there, done that!  I was in the same place as you after my last company was bought out.  Yeah, I wasn't getting laid off but I had nothing to do for about 6 months.  By the end I was a physical and mental wreck - torturous for someone who likes to accomplish things.

    Bad situation, bro.  PM me what you want to do and I'll see if there's an opening that fits you.  Where are you located?  We're int'l but most IT-related jobs are in the U.S.

    Mark



  • Umm..just to clarify - I moved on to another comany prior to the buyout date.  That's where I'm referring to; sorry for any confusion 😉

     MM



  • You are the master of you own destiny. In other words: get the hell out of there before it's too late, and get a new job. Don't waste time in that hole, and find a more challenging place.



  • Do you have internet access? If so, you're being paid to surf the internet and I want your job.
    Port 23 open? If so, you're being paid to MUD and I really, really want your job.



  • [quote user="cavemanf16"]sayanora (sp?)[/quote]

    It's sayonara. 



  • You are all overlooking the best solution! Get a new job, but also keep your current one! Just work from "home". You'll have the pay of two jobs, and you'll look busy at your current one!



  • [quote user="cconroy"]

    My vote: pick a pet
    project you've wanted to work on but haven't had time to start, and get
    to work!  (Assuming, of course, it's computer-based and not, say,
    cabinetry.)

    [/quote]

    That would be funny though.... Imagine some guy brings a band saw and piles of wood into his cubical. Even funnier if he goes for woodturning and brings a lathe in... All the shavings flying over onto the next guys desk  :p

     


    Back on topic.... I often feel like I have nothing to do at work too. I leave a lot feeling guilty for not getting any work done while they pay me, yet I can't find stuff to do, and I get most requests sorted within hours. I feel a lot better now having read this. I'm not the only one that ends up doing nothing all day.
    In case people are wondering, I do support and network management for a small government school.
     



  • @Bob Janova said:

    Slob out, read TDWTF and Slashdot all day, report your management structure as a WTF and use your creative energies in your own time?

    The only addition I have to this are two little words (well, one's an acronym, I guess): [i]Nintendo DS[/i].




  • $900k for a Viterbi decoder?  We were just talking about the Viterbi algorithm in class the other day here, and I don't think it would actually be that difficult to implement.

    That's wild!  I should get into that market 😃

     


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