4

When systems are down and I cannot do my work so I have a free hour or possibly more, what is an acceptable means of passing time in the office for an engineer?

In the present situation all my work is done from my office to a remote location that I cannot reach due to network issues. I have spoke with my boss and my feedback is to wait.

Things I have considered:

  • Working on my own personal engineering projects that would increase my professional knowledge
  • Read profession related books or for pleasure (news, fantasy etc.)
  • Take a coffee break and talk with other co workers in the same situation
  • Surf the web spending as much time as possible on professional matters

My goal here is to stay productive and be a valued member of my company however I don't think I can gain too much from productive ideas waiting for a network to come back up. I hate the idea of 'looking busy' for personal image.

There are related questions but this one is specific to system downtime.

  • There is a difference between network downtime and system downtime. Which one are you talking about ? What is your line of work ? – happybuddha Jun 27 '13 at 19:13
  • I would like to make it as general as, "I cannot do my work due to technical problems" for the general audience. In this case the network is down so I can use my system but i cannot get to the systems I need to work on. – Quinma Jun 27 '13 at 19:20
  • @JoeStrazzere my boss recognizes that I have many projects and does not give me any work to add on top of them even if I cannot do my project work now. He was not specific about what I should do other than to wait. – Quinma Jun 27 '13 at 19:29
  • Coffee isn't teh answer. Coffee is the distraction ;P – Adel Jun 27 '13 at 19:44
  • There is always documentation that needs to be written. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Apr 12 '18 at 8:00
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Options #1 and #4 are the most reasonable. If you pull out textbooks, I mean.. it just seems too academic for an office environ(but maybe i'm wrong).

But yes to:

Working on my own personal engineering projects that would increase my professional knowledge

and

Surf the web spending as much time as possible on professional matters

Although "surfing the web" evokes a passive form of engagement, so restrict it(keep it controlled also). Think from the boss' point of view. If you can hone, perfect, improve your current work - that'd be priority #1. Also, lookk into extra-training and etc.

Nice problem to have, i'd say!

  • 1
    never work on personal projects in the office, at least if you've signed a typical engineer's employment contract in the US. you'd be inviting an intellectual property nightmare. – Woodrow Barlow Apr 26 '17 at 20:40
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If the remote systems are for a client, and the client is, for example, a bank, then a good thing to do is learn more about banking. In short, it isn't necessarily your technology development that makes the most sense, but the business matters the project you're working on solves. You're 'surfing' might be in the direction of the regulatory framework your client works in, or issues with logistics if it's a company selling products, or cost issues with running an airline if it's an airline. In short, try to get more inside your customer's shoes.

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