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I hate my work because I do nothing

Biomedical EngineerBiomedical Engineer Registered User new member
Hi Everyone

Here's a little bit about me: I grew up in Cali and studied biomedical engineering. After graduating I got a contract job in my industry and was gaining a lot of experience. The experience was good and the pay was decent. The company is also really good, and I decided to apply to an internal position within the company, but a different group. I got the job and its pays okay - 60k. I was happy at first, but then I realized that the group I work with is so boring and I feel like they do absolutely nothing. My boss and the sr engineer pretty much do all the work. I just sit around and do nothing and try helping if I can. I decided to do my masters and my boss allowed me to leave some days early so I can go to school. So now I'm doing my masters in mechanical engineering, but my job is SOOO boring. What should I do? The people I work with are so boring and they are also mean. When I come in, they always say.."look who decided to come in today.." and other rude comments. My previous group was really professional..My boss is okay, he's kind of a micromanager, and keeps going on and on about random stuff whenever I try to talk to him..

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    KarrmerKarrmer Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Be excited that you have a job paying 60k in this economic climate where you don't even have to do anything apparently.

    Karrmer on
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    Biomedical EngineerBiomedical Engineer Registered User new member
    I think I do things, but there so easy for me. Like for example, if I need to write up a report, I can write it in one hour..and for 7 hours I have nothing to do...

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    zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    Be happy you have a job that pays well and let's you pursue an advanced degree?

    Use your free time to learn additional skills / certifications if they won't let you do any work?

    Seriously...use it to your advantage, and as a stepping stone to a better job you will enjoy. Fuck your coworkers who bitch about you taking classes.

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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    It sucks going in to work and having absolutely nothing to do. It's not just boring, you feel bad because you're not contributing, and you're not outputting any work so you have nothing to take pride in.

    Organise a serious sit down closed-door meeting with your boss about your workload. If he's not willing to give you more to do, then move up the chain and talk to his boss.

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Ask to transfer back? Or for more work?

    Have you tried asking for more work? If not that is probably something that should have occurred to you by now. If you have and they won't give it to you, maybe try finding out if there are some other teams that need a hand, that you can do when it won't interfere with work from your current team.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    If there are only 2 guys doing the heavy lifting then you need to make yourself the guy they want to delegate tasks or projects to. This may mean having to put up with micromanaging until they have confidence you will do things their way. Say something like "I know you've got a lot on your plate, is there anything you think I can help you with?" Though phrased in a way that is appropriate for the work being done. The way to make the work interesting is to get them to start trusting you with more work. They may be resistant to delegation. You need to become their goto guy (number one bitch).

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    UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    It's your responsibility to ask for more work. Especially if you're an unknown to your new boss, they're not going to have a clue what your capabilities are until you say, hey that report you gave me eight hours to do only took me about one-two, what else you got?

    And as a supervisor, if I saw one of my employees regularly fucking off rather than asking for something else to do they would be on the shit list right quick.

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    InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    The only time I hate work is when I'm bored with nothing to do. Can't stand it either.

    So I make sure to put my nose into business all over and make any opportunity to make myself useful.

    Not only does it make the job bearable, but people love having the help and it has been great for my career.

    OrokosPA.png
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    WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    Here's what you do:

    When you finish that report - call your boss and say, "You know, I've managed to clear my work faster than expected, and its left me with a little free time. Is there something you'd like me to focus on in the immediate future?"

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    DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    Find work. There is always work to do. Review existing procedures and see if you can improve them. Look at how you do your own work and see if you can think of a better way to do it.

    If you genuinely can't find anything, do the above - ask your boss. But try to find something to do on your own initiative first, and then present it to your boss as a finished task. That always looks better.

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    zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    My boss always gives me more work when my desk looks clean.

    Now on to the actual advice. There has been some people saying be thankful that you have a job paying 60k, however that is likely the going rate for an engineer in your area. So as opposed to being thankful for a job you hate, you might want to look around for other companies that have some interesting projects going on and make a move. If you really can't stand it and you can find the same salary at a place you'll love, or even a little bit lower of a salary. It'll make things a lot less stressful for you.

    You can ask for more work, and I've told my boss I need another couple of small projects, or I can handle a large project now, etc. A week or two later I'm writing a PWS, or SOP, once I got appointed to a selection committee, but we have a relationship like that. See if your boss will be willing to oblige. However things look a bit hostile for you right now so maybe you should start getting some traction under your feet now, and perhaps finish out your thesis while you have the free time. I pooring concrete while I was doing my masters thesis (although I think it was technically a dissertation based on content, got a lot of time waiting for the finishers).

    zepherin on
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    Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    As others have said, keep looking and asking for more work, and work on learning other things if you keep having spare time. Continuing to ask for work is pretty important as it shows that you're not sitting around doing nothing by choice. I've been in a similar position to you, except management 2-3 levels above my boss noticed I was being paid to not do anything. The fact that I was asking my boss for more work to do every day and volunteering for every project that came up is what kept me employed long enough to find a new job.

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    Biomedical EngineerBiomedical Engineer Registered User new member
    Okay I understand what everyone is trying to say and I always ask for more work. I go to my boss and ask him if he can increase my responsibilities...his response, "How are you doing with your training?". He always asks me that, and frankly its almost been a yr since I joined this new group I don't see what training is left, and I would tell him that I'm done with all the training necessary. Yet, he insists on how I'm doing on training for some reason.

    Another thing, is that the person above me (not my boss) but the senior electrical engineer seems to want to do EVERYTHING. He doesn't let me do anything and he kind of explains everything like he's a "know-it-all" and he thinks I know nothing at all. I feel this unusual feeling around him that he personally doesn't want me to work more because he feels threatened since he's been on the job for 20 years, while I've been on the job for only 2.

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    SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    I've run into that before - people who feel threatened and then keep things to their chest.

    Only way to stop that is to have a superior spot it for themselves, see that it's a problem, and then distribute responsibilities.

    Takes a good manager unfortunately.

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    WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular

    Another thing, is that the person above me (not my boss) but the senior electrical engineer seems to want to do EVERYTHING. He doesn't let me do anything and he kind of explains everything like he's a "know-it-all" and he thinks I know nothing at all. I feel this unusual feeling around him that he personally doesn't want me to work more because he feels threatened since he's been on the job for 20 years, while I've been on the job for only 2.

    Find that dude and get him to complain about something. Everyone does it - when he complains offer to help, "Man, why are you doing that...its peon work, let me do that for you so you can go work on X"

    Also when you say you've completed training, and your boss asks you, have you completed training, you should be able to recite each and every training course you've completed, and then ask, "Which training do you think I should complete next?" If you've really done all the training, he'll get the point after the 10th item in the list.

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    zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    I've run into that before - people who feel threatened and then keep things to their chest.

    Only way to stop that is to have a superior spot it for themselves, see that it's a problem, and then distribute responsibilities.

    Takes a good manager unfortunately.
    It's not so much about being threatened most of the time. From what I've seen, which oddly enough goes with my management books(rarer than you'd think), this comes from not being able to deligate projects effectively, and it comes from a lack of trust or poor interpsonal skills, than it is about fealing threatened. I've seen supervisors who keep things close to the chest but deligate effectively. I've also seen what it looks like when people actually feal threatened by their subbordinants, and it isn't so much the left to their own devices as it is getting shit work for 40 hours a week and getting needled on every small thing.

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    acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Institutionalized Safe in jail.Registered User regular
    The worst thing about having a job where you're not expected to do anything (I worked for the government for 2 years, saw so many people who would work an honest 15 minutes a day and spend the rest of their day planning their kids' Scouts camping trips or PTA minutes) is that you're being robbed of your growth in the field. The time spent waiting for more work is time spent not becoming an expert in your field. It might sound great to have a high paying job where you do nothing, but that robs you of potential later in your career.

    I'll echo that you should keep the job, continue to search for a new job and only leave once you have an official offer. In the mean time if your boss refuses to give you more work, I'd recommend if at all possible to work on stuff on your own in your down time. Obviously don't let that step on the work you do have but for example, if the two "stars" in your office are drafting designs for some particular part there shouldn't be anything stopping you from drafting your own designs independently. Your independent work can help uncover issues they might not think about, or at least give you things to think or talk about in progress reports and meetings.

    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
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    zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    The worst thing about having a job where you're not expected to do anything (I worked for the government for 2 years, saw so many people who would work an honest 15 minutes a day and spend the rest of their day planning their kids' Scouts camping trips or PTA minutes) is that you're being robbed of your growth in the field. The time spent waiting for more work is time spent not becoming an expert in your field. It might sound great to have a high paying job where you do nothing, but that robs you of potential later in your career.
    This^
    It isn't just government though, although it is generally the most visible in government because there are several positions where the position is federally mandated, but doesn't work for that agency (A brand new building doesn't need a historic preservation officer as a dedicated position but I bet they have one). That visibility also means that your boss knows that you are using work time to post on Penny Arcade, I mean plan your scouts camping trips. Or that in your free time your not being productive.

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    witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    You mentioned that the people are mean and boring. The example you gave leads me to believe that they think you don't do much during the day (as you admit is a problem) and don't value coming into the office. Do you not come in sometimes (other than for class)? The reason I'm asking is that I think it's still possible to improve your relationships with your other co-workers which might make it a better place to work or at least to stay until something better comes along or you finish your degree. While it's true that some people are just that way and there's nothing you can do, there might be something you can do to build a better relationship with them. Some ideas:

    - Organize a work happy hour or lunch potluck
    - Bring in food to share (cupcakes, donuts, yummy fruit, etc.)
    - Compliment them when appropriate in a sincere way (hey, that's a nice jacket, or good work on that)
    - Practice your emotional intelligence on them (if they are having a bad day, do or say something nice, etc.)
    - When they say something rude, just respond in a pleasant way that shows you don't care that much about what they said that fits with your style (I would probably smile, shrug, and maybe wink, but you could also joke back with them in a non-confrontational way)

    Really little things like this can change people's attitudes which may make it a more pleasant place to work. The main thing is to make sure you're sincere and authentic in any effort that you make.

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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    It definitely sounds like you are not the only one that has noticed you do nothing. They are mean because they think you are being lazy and deliberately doing nothing. So you need to have a frank discussion with your boss about how to get more work to do in general, not just day by day.

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