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Context: I had was on a 4 month school internship in a software development company. After these 4 months, I stayed at the company as we discussed it before the internship. It's been 2 months since working there as a non-intern. Just a few days ago I was legally hired there as an actual employee (so, for the 2 months I was working with no contract whatsoever). Also, I should mention I already have a huge experience with all the technologies that the company uses as I have had a part-time job for the past 3 years in a different company, so I see myself as a pretty skilled developer.

The current situation: for the past 2-3 months my work has been very boring. I don't get a lot of stuff to do. Usually my tasks are "go research (something)" or "check out (something) and see how our company could use it", so it's a pretty boring work, and does not involve programming at all. I don't get any big programming tasks either, maybe just a few fixes on existing projects. Sometimes I don't have anything to do at all, so when I ask for a task to the boss, he says he needs to think of something I could do and gets back to me after a few hours with something boring or not related to programming again. I asked for the reason why I don't get many tasks to do, the answer wasn't very clear but I understood that the company has other issues to think about that are not related to programming and there is generally nothing to do, which I don't think is true as there are other developers at the company who always seem busy working and discussing the programming stuff. The company is a small one with just 8-10 employees.

Question: what should I do in this situation? I want to work, have new challenges, and be busy at work, but I am not given the opportunity. It makes no sense to me that they would hire me and keep paying me salaries, but don't really make me do anything

  • Do you fear that asking for more work (and them realizing they have no work to give you) could be bad for your perceived value? If you know there's more work to be done, just go up and ask for it. Taking initiative is always a good thing. – bxk21 Mar 21 at 19:25
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    New hires are often given easy tasks to see how they'll respond. Once you build a reputation for getting stuff done correctly, presumably your responsibilities will grow into more complex/challenging work – Canadian Coder Mar 21 at 19:29
  • What was your job like before getting hired full time? What changed? – Xander Mar 22 at 8:56
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Question: what should I do in this situation? I want to work, have new challenges, and be busy at work, but I am not given the opportunity. It makes no sense to me that they would hire me and keep paying me salaries, but don't really make me do anything

Be calm, be patient, and be consistent. Allow your work to speak for itself with solid quality, great consistency, and always on time. This will allow you to be recognized for your work-ethic and ability.

Also, go above and beyond. It sounds like you feel a little guilty about them paying you for your lack of work. Do you see opportunities within the scope of your job functions to create new code? Could you create code that aggregates the data you're "looking up" and "researching?"

What about offering your own input? Maybe an email to the boss with ideas you could implement for the company. This is non-threatening, gives the boss some time to review at his discretion, and opens up possibilities for work you could do.

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R&D: Research & Development.

Sometimes you research. Sometimes you develop.

Ask your manager whats going on and what projects are on the horizon so you can better focus your research. If he mumbles or avoids you look for another job.

  • Why should one quit if the manager does not give a clear cut answer to this question? – meriton Mar 22 at 5:44
  • @meriton I didn't say quit I said look for another job. If the manager is avoiding a question like this it might be a good idea to be prepared for that Friday afternoon where you get the "thanks for your service we are wrapping up this project due to funding problems" email. – solarflare Mar 24 at 22:04
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My first thought on reading your question is to prototype! MacItaly's answer is good, I would just add in building simple examples of how the technologies that you are researching can fit (or not) with your company's technology stack.

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