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I'm new at a company doing statistics and I have no trainer or superadvisor and little work experience so there's many things I don't know how to do and I don't even know if there's a way to do what I want to do faster by automation. Automation is often necessary because there's too much data to sort by hand.

The problem is sometimes I'm trying to come up with a solution to automate a process/do my work faster and stay sane and I get nothing written down during that time except in my own mind and I feel the need to stay in the office longer once I do figure out the solution and implement it.

Is the 9-5 work schedule supposed to include all thinking time (time where I'm at the drawing board coming up with a solution but not actually implementing anything) and the time I actually get things on paper that my boss can see?

I feel guilty and confused on whether I'm being taken advantage of or just being smart because I'm new, have no superadvisor, so I have to struggle and take extra time to figure things out, and I'm worried I'm not getting enough done, and sometimes spending time during work walking around, going to the bathroom, looking on stackexchange is better for actually coming up with a solution than just forcing myself to try to do work that should be automated by manually entering data.

Sometimes I actually don't leave the office at 5 after starting at 9 am just because I didn't actually sit in my chair from 9-5, there's one hour where I'm walking around thinking about how to do something rather than actually coding the implementation of my idea. If you've ever solved a math problem, you actually get more done if you don't spend all your time sitting trying to find a solution, but rather taking a walk or going to the restroom or taking a train ride.

The problem with white collar work is it's not like manufacturing widgets. You have to think of a solution then implement it. So you get paid to think and therefore you aren't bound to sitting in front of a machine making widgets. But I feel like it's bad if I make my 9-5 include thinking time. I feel like my 9-5 shouldn't include thinking time because I'm doing things too slowly.

My boss treats me like a blue collar worker where he doesn't care if I spent the day figuring out how to solve the problem, he just wants results or he expects me to make my 9-5 only be made up for by implementation. Basically my boss doesn't want me to actually have a 8 hour workday but rather a 10 hour work day just because I don't know how to do things fast enough.

  • Because I'm actually putting in 10 hours of work a day. the salary isn't bad even if I'm doing 50 hours of work per week but it's like am I being stupid or what? – Lasuiqw Jul 12 at 1:41
  • Because I'm a young guy who can't just rely on this job to feeed me forever. This company is going to change and I'm going to get fired more or less in maybe 2 years regardless of what I do or it's going to be so not utilitty/ the opportunity costs are so high it just wouldn't make any rational sense to do this job that isn't ideal forlong term. I need to go to grad school to actually make a good living. actually write grad school essays and do the GRE. This job is killing my GRE study time and deadlines are coming up. – Lasuiqw Jul 12 at 1:43
  • for economics reasons I can't be 100% dedicated gungho about this. – Lasuiqw Jul 12 at 1:45
  • This company is not your place ("I'm going to get fired more or less in maybe 2 years regardless of what I do") and they don't know how to lead and treat employees. Let me ask a stupid but obvious question. Why are you still there? – puck Jul 12 at 4:06
  • I don't have better options puck – Lasuiqw Jul 12 at 11:50
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Is the 9-5 work schedule supposed to include all thinking time (time where I'm at the drawing board coming up with a solution but not actually implementing anything) and the time I actually get things on paper that my boss can see?

Yes. Working time may involve thinking and planning time, as well as developing or implementation time.

The problem is sometimes I'm trying to come up with a solution to automate a process/do my work faster and stay sane and I get nothing written down during that time except in my own mind

I would strongly suggest you take notes. Or, given you are speaking of automation, write the pseudo-code or your thoughts and ideas into a comment in your code. Some things do take more than a day to figure out, so this will help you to (1) have a clearer view of your scheme while still thinking on it and (2) be able to swiftly retake your train of thought the next day.

he expects me to make my 9-5 only be made up for by implemtation. Basically my boss doesn't want me to actually have a 8 hrworkday but rather a 10 hr work day just because I don't know how to do things fast enough.

This part I find an unreasonable expectation from your manager.

If he expects these things you have to make it clear for him that developing takes time, both designing and implementing. Otherwise, if you do not feel ok in that company culture and expectations, consider seeking an alternate job.

However, I must also say that you don't have to think all the project at once. You can design one part or module of it (shorter than the whole), implement it, test it, and then proceed to the next part.

This way your manager will get a better perception of you actually "working", instead of just "sitting down thinking and doing nothing".

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    +1 for taking notes. When I've started new jobs that have involved a lot of thinking/problem solving, I've kept a log of my thought process, things I tried that didn't work, etc. Apart from just giving you evidence if anyone queries you, it also helps keep track of your thought process next time you look back at the problem. – n00dle Jul 12 at 9:50
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    One of the reasons agile (circular) development is popular is it shows progress being made all the way through. – Smock Jul 12 at 15:57

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