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A couple of months ago I started a job on a small team of less than 10 members as a data analyst. I had no background in this type of work besides a very small connection to my bachelor's degree being in the natural sciences, and having knowledge of statistics from it. I found I really enjoy this type of work but I am not sure how to proceed diplomatically with my mentor or my manager about getting a larger work load.

Since I am new I was originally given a small work load but I was quickly able to show that I could easily do this work. After that I was given what was considered a large work load, and was able to finish that quicker than expected. I have now been given these supposed "large" workloads 4-5 times and I have, I believe, exceeded expectations. Issue is between these sets of workloads I don't have much to do. Now I feel like I spend too much time not having enough work to do and worry that others will assume I am being lazy.

While I don't like others thinking I'm lazy, I also don't like feeling this way. I feel much better about myself when I am constantly working. I like having something to push for (even if its really boring work or an excessive amount of work), I just like having something to do at most times(I understand sometimes there is downtime). In my spare time I try and learn things I might need for this line of work but I feel with no guidance that I might be wasting my time.

I have tried hinting that I could use more work that's always met with "there's always more work" or something of that nature but never anything done about it. I know the other members are overly bogged down with their work (hence why I was hired).

I would really enjoy continuing this line of work but don't want to burn bridges with my first job of this type by being unimpressive to others who I might later ask for a promotion or job reference (I know this is a bit of an exaggeration but its similar to the worry I have). I know I can sometimes be conceited but I know I am good at what I apply myself to and really want to show it more.

So my question is, am I able to ask my manager for more work without coming off as rude or conceited? If so, how should I go about doing it?


As a side note I'm the youngest member of the team by a few years as well as the only one without a related background in the field. Also my previous job required constant work (without fluff), or you were fired, so maybe I am used to much higher demand than I currently have or is expected from anyone.

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Can you ask for a one-on-one meeting with your manager and communicate these concerns privately, and professionally in a way that doesn't get the automatic "there's always more work" response?

If that doesn't work OR you have tried it in the past and you didn't end up getting work then: figure out which colleague looks the most stressed/busiest and drop by their desk and ask if you can shadow them as they do their job when you are in a down period. Learn from them. Then when they next go on vacation, or call in sick, volunteer to cover their work.

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  • I have tried to meet with my manager but he's very busy. Its hard to get some time alone with him for more than a passing moment. Problem with the second part is that most people, when sick, still work but remotely (99% of our work can be done from anywhere). Still, I still will take this into account and search for opportunities. when I can take advantage of hopping in when I can help out someone in an emergency. May 22 '18 at 13:06
  • @imdannyboy909, I was in the same situation in past company. No work, training but expected me to finish the work with no assistance. I felt I didn't belong which I didn't because I submitted my notice. Never looked back
    – Noah4343
    May 25 '18 at 16:42
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I once worked with a guy who originally started as the guy who drove the engineers to various clients premises and last I seen him he has Head of Engineering.

What he did was just started helping engineers and asking for more work. Don't be shy, ask, be persistent but polite. Get involved, it's your career, best if you can focus it onto what you enjoy doing.

Lots of peoples careers have very little to do with what they studied at school. I studied anthropology and linguistics but have never had a job in an even remotely related field.

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