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I am relatively new to my current role, being hired as a 'Junior' on a low salary because of my lack of experience with CAD. As part of the hiring process I was told that I would be training with someone more experienced in another city. I completed this but it was a huge overload of information and much of it has leaked out of my brain.

Of course I am much slower and produce often worse results then the more experienced team member. Therefore, when a task comes along that involves CAD, it is much easier for management to give it to him. This was fine as I had a long list of job specific software and scripts that I was writing for the company.
However, after about 8 months I had worked my way though that list. It has been 2 months now with only spontaneous and small jobs taking less than an hour to complete coming my way less than once a week, I am bored.

What I have Tried
Before the Christmas break I scheduled a meeting with my boss and spoke to him about my concerns, including my belief that I'll never get better at completing these designs if I don't have any allocated to me. He agreed and said that he would try to allocate me some non time sensitive tasks - asking me to complete to the best of my ability and not rush them.
It has now been over a week since we've been back and it looks like a repeat of December; my inbox has been empty the whole time.

Emails sent this week seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Is it time to leave or is there another resolution that I'm not seeing?

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Ask your experienced colleague to pick out a task for you to do in parallel with him. He does the task, at his pace, as though you were not there, so it gets done regardless of your activities.

Meanwhile, you work on it at your pace and to the best of your ability. When you finish it, possibly long after the deadline, you compare your work to your experienced colleague's output for the same task. Tell your experienced colleague when you finish, and discuss any differences you do not understand.

You should learn both from your own efforts and from the comparison to what an expert did. Meanwhile, your experienced colleague will be able to gauge how fast you can do things, and the resulting quality. He should keep the manager informed of your progress.

Of course, any time your manager assigns you work that has priority over this learning activity.

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  • Unfortunately, most of my team is in the other office, and therefore that is where my boss spends the majority of his time. So, I have only met my mentor in person once. Meetings with him or my boss can therefore be difficult and expensive to arrange. – Noah Jan 7 at 3:28
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    No need for meetings. This could all be done by e-mail and/or phone. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 7 at 5:44
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    @Noah As Patricia already mentioned in modern times there's generally no need for 1on1 meetings in person. There are a lot of tools such as Teamviewer, MS-Teams etc. where team-meetings can be held from remote.. – iLuvLogix Jan 7 at 12:06
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In addition to Patricia's answer, if you think you have some time at your disposal everyday, why not utilise it to learn advance concepts of CAD?

There must be several tutorials both free and paid, that you can see in your free x minutes everyday. You can easily learn advance concepts with enough practice that even experienced people would not know.

In short learn, learn and learn in your free time. I think company will start giving you tasks when you prove it to them that you can handle big tasks on your own as well. All the best!

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    This combines well with sending your boss a weekly status update. "Completed script X that you asked for, and did CAD tutorial Y, moving on to the advanced tutorial Z". That shows him that you 1) have time for more work, 2) are becoming a more skilled worker, 3) will keep doing useful stuff even without close supervision. – ObscureOwl Jan 7 at 10:27
  • I agree with including learning activities in status reports. That applies both to tutorials and to shadowing the experienced colleague. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 7 at 10:50
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    -1: there's the old adage of "the textbook", "the class", and "the test". A simple meme I found: qph.fs.quoracdn.net/… . The point is, what you "learn" in tutorials is rarely, if ever, actually applicable to how the tool is used in real life. I would not trust anyone to perform a task who has only gained knowledge from tutorials, nor would I be confident displaying abilities only accrued through tutorial. – Ertai87 Jan 7 at 20:31
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    @Ertai87 Thats a pretty gross misconception of knowledge transfer. Either you’ve only ever seen extremely poorly design tutorials, or you’re really bad at applying the concepts they can provide to real world projects. I assume the the former, and hope its not the latter. – morbo Jan 9 at 10:54
  • @morbo There are good tutorials for how to perform specific tasks in specific ways. However, general-use tutorials like "how to use CAD for dummies" or whatnot are often completely useless. And without context (a project) to know what skills OP should brush up on to impress his boss, it's hard to properly assess what tutorials he should be doing. – Ertai87 Jan 9 at 15:29
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It's time to leave. You have voiced your concerns, you have provided an action plan for your boss to retain you as an employee, and moreover the worst part, your boss agreed to that plan and then subsequently reneged on the agreement. That shows you that you cannot trust your boss. You need to be able to trust your boss at any company; if you cannot trust your boss, then you do not know if, for example, your boss is telling you nice things to your face, then going behind your back to upper management and trash talking you, and a surprise layoff might be in your future (this actually happened to me at a previous job, and I learned my lesson from that experience).

Get out. Now. Spend your downtime that you're not working to hunt for somewhere else that will respect you more.

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    this seems like quite a scorched earth response to agreed-upon changes not being implemented in a single work week - what if no low-priority jobs have come in during this time? – Klaycon Jan 7 at 21:01
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    @Klaycon From OP: "Emails sent this week seem to have fallen on deaf ears". If I send an email following up with my manager on an urgent issue I mentioned to him in person and received no reply for a week, that's time to go scorched earth IMO. I'm speaking here from personal experience; in my experience I believed the way you suggested, and the problem just got worse and worse and 3 years later I'm still feeling the repercussions of that decision in my career progression. OP should not make the same mistake I did. – Ertai87 Jan 7 at 21:08
  • 3 years of worse and worse problems is a little more severe than a week. I'm not sure it's clear that you and the OP were in equivalent situations. And where did we see that this was expressed to be an urgent issue? From the boss's perspective, he may be compliant. A week is a quick timeframe to turn around a change in work assignment practices, and there may be reasons we aren't aware of for an email to go unanswered. At the very least, if the OP feels this is urgent and emails are not being answered, maybe they could simply pick up the phone and call instead of quitting. – dwizum Jan 7 at 21:11
  • @dwizum For me, the problem continued for about 6 months (I ended up being fired from that position due to this situation; it ended up playing out basically as I described), but the repercussions are still affecting me 3 years later when I have to explain to recruiters what happened during that role (or leave a year hole in my work experience to avoid explaining it; I was at the company for a year, and had this for 6 months). I agree that a week is a bit quick to expect a complete turnaround; however, a week is not a quick timeframe to confirm, at the least, when to expect more details. – Ertai87 Jan 7 at 21:14
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    @Ertai87 one week of no change could have a number of reasonable explanations, especially the week immediately following holidays! three years of no change is quite a significantly different issue indeed, and I would argue even three weeks is too long, but one week? – Klaycon Jan 7 at 21:15

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