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A month ago, I started a job as software engineer, at a large technoloy company (similar to Google, Facebook etc.). I guess my job level is on the low end of Google T5 or high end of T4? (salary is around $175k, not including stock options.). I wasn't really hired to do any particular thing.

Things seem to be going well, but I've been feeling rather useless. I just don't have a lot to do at the moment, and I'm not sure if I should be actively seeking out tasks, proposing new features, or what. Naturally, I've been spending a lot of time delving into our codebase, but this isn't something with visible results that I could point to, for myself or the rest of the team. I wasn't given any task to start with, though my manager has been throwing small features and bug fixes my way here and there.

I haven't worked at a big company like this in a long time, so I have no context for how things are supposed to work. Is it expected that tasks take longer than in the solo/startup world? Are engineers on my level supposed to be more proactive with this kind of stuff? I know what's in the pipeline for the next few months—the sorts of tasks that are more my specialty—but we're still scheduling meetings to work out the details. (Mostly it's my manager doing this.) In the meantime, I feel like I'm just idling. Basically, I have this intense fear that I'm not living up to the expectations of my high salary and that nobody's going to say anything until things get really awkward. I take this home with me every day. My manager hasn't mentioned anything negative in our 1 on 1's, but I don't know if he's expected to.

How are first months supposed to generally go for someone at a big company in my salary range? And if I happened to do things wrong, will I still be able to fix my mistakes?

I'm not lazy; I just have no idea how things work in the corporate world!

  • "How are first months supposed to generally go for someone at a big company in my salary range? " I do not think how are first months suppose to go would depend on your salary range. Instead of salary, you need to include your role, job description and what task your manager gave you (if any) in your initial meetings. Do you have a time sheet to sign for? – PagMax Sep 27 '18 at 4:06
  • Role: software engineer, with no real qualifiers. I wasn't really hired to do any particular thing. I wasn't given any task to start with, though my manager has been throwing small features and bug fixes my way here and there. – rericks Sep 27 '18 at 4:57
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    what is FANG by the way? – Pac0 Sep 27 '18 at 7:17
  • where are you? 175 isn't necessarily high... @Pac0 fang is fb, amazon, netf and goog. fang style? no idea. – bharal Sep 27 '18 at 7:28
  • @Pac0: FANG is probably for "Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… . I edited to add this. – sleske Sep 27 '18 at 8:56
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Honestly, you should probably bring that up with your manager. Either in a 1 on 1, or ideally, right now.

Something along the lines of “I feel I now have a good grasp of the codebase, is there anything I should now start to work on while we wait for X to start?”

This might include prototyping things to get familiar with the tech or things you might encounter, or maybe there’s a completely different project they can use help on.

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    Agreed - this needs to be raised with your manager sooner rather than later. I think you'll probably be told to relax and not worry too much; however it would be awesome to come up with a side project idea as @Aeolun suggests as a stop-gap measure (show's you're keen and keeps you sane). – Matthew E Cornish Sep 27 '18 at 6:55

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