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Get really bored at work because I finish my work very quickly

opr

Redshirt
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Today, 05:43
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Feb 7, 2014
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So I am a web developer and the work I do relies on a front-end developer to do probably twice as much work as me on a site, so I spend a lot of time waiting for him to finish up so I can work.

The problem is I don't have anything else to be doing so I browse Reddit and program my own little apps, this results in people commenting on how I'm never working. (Jokingly I think ).

I've tried asking for things to do and get given mundane tasks that I'm certainly not employed to deal with, so I've stopped asking because it's more boring than sitting there with nothing to do.

Today I got told off for reading a chess forum instead of doing a certain piece of work which was NOT what I'm employed to do, so I just said I don't know how to do that and then I was left alone.

Am I lazy for not wanting to do these mundane tasks that they have for "back up" in case I run out of work or what?

Any advice on how I could tell bosses what's going on if I do get officially "told off" for not doing much?
 

doncarlzone

Useless knowledge
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Remember, you only get paid for what they think you do. It is problematic if people know that you're surfing the internet when you could be working. It's not the fact that you're lazy or that you're wasting time that's problematic, it's just the perception of you as an employee. In my last position, I was probably the person in my department doing the least amount of work but I always got best results and big bonuses. I was incredibly lazy and I have to work on that, but nobody knew so in reality, it didn't matter.

If you have unique skills, bring in results and is being perceived as a hard worker, nobody of importance will mind your business. Fake the work ethics of ISTJs/ESTJs/ENTJs etc., and beat them on innovation and efficiency. Being perceived as busy often equals value in an office environment.

I was lucky that I had a desk separated from other people so I could hide my internet usage, but if you're not in such position, I would advise against risking being caught surfing the internet. So either stop it or hide it better. If you're not in a position to pretend working, you probably have to do the mundane task.

If you do get told off, I would highlight the quality of your work and the efficiency in which it was completed and that you're simply in need of a challenge. Ideally though, they should be wanting and needing you, not the other way around.
 

opr

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Seems reasonable, I mean I do finish all of my proper work on time and to a very high standard so they don't have much to complain about. The trouble is the company has very little work for me to do based on the front end requiring twice as much work as mine.

I guess I'll start asking for things to do again and see how well I cope with the stupid things they think of for me to do. Cheers!

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
 

Valentas

Well-Known Member
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Jun 20, 2012
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Wow, why do they even keep you inside when you're done? My close friend is software developer and almost never show up to the office because they work on collaborative project via tools that allow all programmers to sit and write code on the fly. Basically, he's now in Hungary, living cheap lifestyle while working on his part of work for 4-5 hours a day. He spends 2-3 weeks in one country, then moves to the next one. Tell them that they should consider adopting these tools so that developers could go out to run on the grass for the rest of the day to keep them healthy, not bound and chained to the chair lol. This way of working is excellent if your company holds meetings where developers are not needed often and they only care about quality of work, no matter the time spent in office. Just another extreme tip for you: that guy I mentioned worked for a month in our country's resort in the middle of small forest with many bungalows and hotels, so he had access to Wi-fi and spent a month breathing pines air :D Extremely healthy, costs nothing because during that month you have no rain and allows to get laid often because it's a beach! :D
 

opr

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Lol that sounds well good,I guess developers have to be in some meetings to understand clients requirements but we certainly don't need to be there all day every day, how do you think I should bring such a thing up with the directors?

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
 

Valentas

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That's an issue, opr. First of all, it's not your company so you cannot really dictate how it's run too much. Secondly, when choosing where to work, one must take into account where you want to work, how managed you want to be and whether there is enough challenging work. If you have enough work all the time, then your dreams about doing the work while travelling would be gone. I think you should simply talk with management about these ways to do the work because if there are enough developers to produce software and then have some hours of fun each day, they should let you do whatever you want. You cannot just work work work. Google for tools that let you work together with others online and simply introduce them in your company. If I was a CEO and people would bring up such solutions and my company would not suffer any damage, I'd happily let developers loose to do what they want as long as the work is done. I remember reading about some Australia IT company where people don't go to the meetings, maybe once every three months lol and simply do the work while doing and staying where they want. Cannot remember it's name but it's for real.

The ideal start is to be employed by company that is already doing do-the-work-then-do-what-you-want approach. My friend in such company and my solution above could apply to your company if management reorganize how it's run and how can they connect you at any time. All is possible but one needs to offer solutions and prove it to be effective and beneficial to both sides, employer and employees.
 

Blarraun

straightedgy
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Unless your work model is set for amount of work done. You are expected to provide a specified service in a specified time, usually 8 hours.

You have 8 hours and a task that you probably finish in less, try to save your work so that at any moment when you are checked, you are working on something and at any moment you are free, you do something interesting, read an article, deal with boredom somehow.

It is not the speed that matters, but sitting through a period of time and doing what you are told to.

The ideal start is to be employed by company that is already doing do-the-work-then-do-what-you-want approach. My friend in such company and my solution above could apply to your company if management reorganize how it's run and how can they connect you at any time. All is possible but one needs to offer solutions and prove it to be effective and beneficial to both sides, employer and employees.
Pretty much. Choose your game and your rules.
 

Base groove

Banned
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Am I lazy for not wanting to do these mundane tasks that they have for "back up" in case I run out of work or what?

Any advice on how I could tell bosses what's going on if I do get officially "told off" for not doing much?
I'll start by saying Valentas had some valuable advice written into the subtext, as well as the main content. Importantly, it's that you are talented and useful, and every person should have the right to craft his or her own lifestyle exactly the way they want it to be. In exchange, you might possibly stand in opposition to those around you; possibly a different outlook is needed. I have nothing but respect for people who can get what they want.

Q1: Are you lazy?

~ Nobody wants to do these things, right? Are they somebody's job in particular or is the right person just not employed? It's probably not to clean the bathroom or fix the broken door or clean up the concrete blocks in the parking lot, pick up debris and garbage out of piss-soaked corners of an un-poured basement.. That's the kind of crappy job people get all the time. Are they lazy for not wanting to do it? To be fair, you said mundane, but they are of the same form - that is they are jobs that you should not have to do because you are not employed to do it.

When I read your story it made me think of a restaurant I used to work at that would make the front end staff wash and clean when it was slow. I always thought to myself how silly it was that our income was >70% tips yet our customers got to see us doing some really filthy jobs. Later I became a manager and had to assign cleaning jobs. I understood that it was disguised as morale building to strengthen front end-kitchen unity, but in reality it was exploitation of cheap labour that was hurting them in the long run because it would be more profitable to have it professionally cleaned (the kitchen as well) as they wouldn't need to rely on college students trying to make $30./hr by mostly flirting (on the front end) and teenage boys in the back end. Then morale would be at an all-time high because it would let the teenage boys have more time to flirt with the college girls. The business might actually find themselves prepared for an inspection for once....

So really where I'm going with this is ... it's a little bit lazy, but only due to the fact that there is a flaw in the corporate plan perhaps. The only thing that has to happen to make this "not lazy" is for the expectations to change. It means you are of higher status already and therefore have more power to advance further.

Q2: Advice on how to reconcile your perceptions with your boss's

~ Identify the corporate philosophy and determine whether you are adhering to it. If you are, you have a case, proceed. If you are not, then as an employee you are substandard. In the event that you are clearly able to demonstrate that you should not have to be there, then I would not wait for them to "tell you off", I would approach them with a clearly outlined argument /rationale and make sure they know you are serious. This can be accomplished by holding firm in your convictions that it is logical and not even giving them an inch unless they make a damn good counterpoint.
 

Methodician

clever spec of dust
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I'll just talk about my personal experience because I'm in the exact same situation, sitting at work right now on this forum.

One of my strategies has already been mentioned. I intentionally procrastinate, even if I'd rather get a job out of the way I'll hold off and keep it up in the background on my computer. Luckily, I have a nice private cubical so it's really rare for someone to appear behind me looking over my shoulder without my knowing, so I just click open my spreadsheet or whatever and scroll around looking all focused.

Another thing: While nobody is looking and I'm not busy, I try my best not to spend ALL my time bored/surfing the web/going on forums/ shopping amazon, etc... I try to pursue self improvement and increase my value in this world, whether that value is to my current employer, a prospective employer, or simply to my self or my loved ones. Currently, I'm slowly learning programming. I could have finished my current C# book by now if I would only take it more seriously, but instead I'm browsing this forum. I don't think this forum is a totally wasteful time sink though. On the off chance my colleagues have free time I see them doing worse. Usually Facebook (and they're in their 50's).

Lastly, every so often if I know nobody is around, I'll literally put my chair back, kick up my feet, and relax. Not exactly nap, but some intermittent 2-5 minute meditation seems to really help keep my focus, morale, and health up rather than trying to stay busy 99% of the time. I feel sorry for workaholics. People call it "good work ethic" but I call it digging an early grave. :rip:

This is probably my biggest current motivation to become self employed. If my income were dependent only upon my "productivity" as in the value I create in exchange for payment, not only might I get more "work" done, but I wouldn't have anyone looking down upon me when I have no real work to be doing in the current context. I'd also have the freedom to explore new and different ways of earning an income during my down time, rather than sitting at my desk earning my wages just for being present.
 

BigApplePi

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I worked for a large corporation. It was very difficult to get fired. You were paid for your time. They had to either keep you busy or make it look like you were busy. I fell asleep at my desk after lunch. It was reported not to do that. I read chess books at my desk and was complemented for having such interests but was reported to my boss anyway.

How would it look to other employees? The customers? Later my job was such that I could take off days at a time, never having to account for what I was doing. I would come to work at 1pm and leave at 2pm just to report. I hated my job and my moral was the worst, but I sold my soul for the money. I didn't know what else to do.

I survived to retire. Whew!
 

EditorOne

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"The trouble is the company has very little work for me to do based on the front end requiring twice as much work as mine."

That sounds quite ominous. Often when companies find a mismatch like this they downsize your position, or eliminate it and contract the work out.

You could point out you're capable of doing more of what you do, but if they don't have more work coming in the door than the "front end" can handle now (that is, if they aren't going to hire more front end people to "feed" your capacity), you could simply be making them think about options that no longer include your job. Generally it's better not to point out a situation unless you have a solution already in mind that makes your employer as happy as you'd be if it were embraced.
 

Blarraun

straightedgy
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I worked for a large corporation. It was very difficult to get fired. You were paid for your time. They had to either keep you busy or make it look like you were busy. I fell asleep at my desk after lunch. It was reported not to do that. I read chess books at my desk and was complemented for having such interests but was reported to my boss anyway.

How would it look to other employees? The customers? Later my job was such that I could take off days at a time, never having to account for what I was doing. I would come to work at 1pm and leave at 2pm just to report. I hated my job and my moral was the worst, but I sold my soul for the money. I didn't know what else to do.

I survived to retire. Whew!
You could point out you're capable of doing more of what you do, but if they don't have more work coming in the door than the "front end" can handle now (that is, if they aren't going to hire more front end people to "feed" your capacity), you could simply be making them think about options that no longer include your job. Generally it's better not to point out a situation unless you have a solution already in mind that makes your employer as happy as you'd be if it were embraced.
I can identify with these experiences, besides the retirement, too early for that. Good for affirmation or a summary.

I think that quality control and job efficiency were an issue at the places I had some experiences with.

If you slowly but steadily allow them to give you more work, be wary of the consequences, you should be certain that you can do it and also that you will be rewarded or otherwise that it is what you want to do.
 
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