As it may seem odd to you but I had this question since long time ago. I am currently working as a contractor for a big fin-tech firm in Northeastern US. We are doing financial quantitative projects for our business analysts. I just graduated not long ago and this is my first full-time job. It's been two months in the firm and I essentially did nothing, besides some chores during the day. By saying chores I mean, helping clients (within the firm) generate some data reports, running a regression, monitoring logs and find where the issues were. My job descriptions involve in Java 8, AWS, SQL skills and that's what I was interviewed before.

The issue becomes more outstanding these days because we just signed off a release (last Friday) and people seems to be busy resolving issues happened during the weekend and some other people are assigned for new user stories for next release. Again, I am the one with no issue to work on nor my manager tells me to do anything after the morning meeting.

Extended Question: What is my manager's thinking process here? Is he expecting anything from me? I probably should but how do I start to ask him about more work?

Context: The infrastructure/user stories aren't single threaded, meaning there are multiple jobs, applications running dependently on other applications so there is no real agile here, although we do have a Jira storyboard, which not everyone in the team understands everything on that board. So it is somewhat okay for people to not know what to do and it is not really following an agile's best practice.

Additionally, because of the nature of me being a consultant, I get paid hourly and my wage is pretty low right now. I am not complaining here but I wish I could take on more responsibility and grow my knowledge to become a more valuable asset to the firm so that both my firm and my paycheck can benefit from it. Extended Question: If you are the manager, what do you think of an eager-to-be-full-time contractor who approaches you and be like 'hey, I need to go overtime today so that I can fix this issue/finish this story' (for the sake of 40% his paycheck 40% his career and 20% for the firm).

The context is a little complicated. My position should be a conventional software developer who is in an agile team but that's not the case. Nor my company is a conventional tech firm. Okay, it's not even a tech firm, it's just a financial service firm who needs programmers. So if anywhere in the context I didn't make it clear, please let me know. And thanks for reading this. Tips/ideas/advice/suggestions are really appreciated.

Edit: Another way to phrase my issue: consider an equivalent question for a 30-year-old professional to ask would be like 'how to get promoted without being too obvious', except my current 'promotion' is 'my contract being extended' or 'I become a full-time'. By getting promoted, I'd need something to work on. And working overtime not only benefits my paycheck but also makes me learn more, more possibility of getting hired as a full-time (I don't dislike going overtime, I am somewhat workaholic). Regarding the company's policy, it's very similar to @Joe Strazzere's workplace. Contractors do need manager's approval to work overtime. And judging by the workload/environment/my co-worker's experience, that is seldom granted. Maybe going overtime and getting paid more isn't too important but my question is a little different from Is it acceptable to slack off and how can I get more work to do? because the work environment is different. And I am more asking about my manager's reaction from a psychological perspective. What do you think of such a contractor if you are the manager? What would be your standpoint? Will you help him get employed? Will you just treat him as a normal employee and observe later?

  • "What is my manager's thinking process here? Is he expecting anything from me?" - This we can only guess about, only your manager knows that
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 17:42
  • 1
    Being a contractor (and not an intern) does change things a bit, but most of the advice given in the linked post still applies. Also relevant: How can I ask for more tasks? Regarding asking about overtime - it's preferred to ask one question per question post here, but we'd just be guessing what your manager would think or what your company's overtime policy is. Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 19:05

1 Answer 1


Whenever you don't have enough to do, it's perfectly reasonable to talk to your manager.

Consider asking

  • What should you do now?
  • In general, what should you do when you run out of tasks?

As far as overtime, that probably depends on company policy. I always instructed my contractors never to work more than 40 hours without getting my permission ahead of time. (In my company it was frowned upon to grant overtime to contractors unless it was critical. It was seldom critical.)

Again, ask your manager about overtime. Indicate that you are willing to work more hours.

  • Worth noting, if OP doesn't have enough to do in the first place, why would any overtime be needed. Let's start by actually filling the regular work day.
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 23:09

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