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I've been working at my current place for about 6 months now. The people are fantastic, the money is fine and it's a 5 minute walk from home. No complaints on those fronts.

This company has interesting projects, which they told me all about during recruitment, and some boring ones.

I'm on one of the boring ones, the really boring ones. I have tried to make it interesting for me but I just can't. The technologies I am working with are widely regarded in the industry to be the worst (look up worst programming language, worst source control, worst amount of screens to have etc on your favourite search engine, what I am working with just happens to be at the top of all of those lists).

Not only this but the domain would put you to sleep. Very profitable I'm told, but incredibly dull!

Long story short, I want on to one of the fun projects, and I know that there's an opening right now. A monkey could do what I'm doing (in a recent review I was praised for doing a good job, despite doing about 10 minutes of work per day in between StackOverflow and remapping my keyboard to see if I can still type legibly). I want to work with something better. I work hard to keep my skills relevant, and I have good experience.

What's the professional way to approach management about this? Is there one, or should you suck it up, and hope that if you work hard you will be put onto something more interesting? Is it professional to go to your boss and say I want onto that project over there? Would it be ethical to go to management and say I'll keep doing what I do if you give me some more money?

Thoughts?

marked as duplicate by gnat, yochannah, Garrison Neely, Jim G., IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 31 '14 at 16:40

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  • Do you meet with your boss regularly? – enderland Dec 3 '13 at 22:55
  • Head of the department sits within my eye-line, only see the higher ups on occasion – Some Dude Dec 3 '13 at 22:56
  • So you do not have any sort of normal 1/1 meeting with your supervisor? – enderland Dec 3 '13 at 23:06
  • Nothing regular/scheduled – Some Dude Dec 3 '13 at 23:07
  • Cynicism is my preferred way to cope of the mediocrity of the workplace. And watch out for what you desire, a boring job can be a bless. If you want challenges, start a business or go freelance. – Paulo Scardine Dec 4 '13 at 20:16
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If there is an opening then apply for it. Then go talk to your boss about how you can move to the projects you would like to be on and what your career path should be. Make sure he knows that you wanta career path beyond what you are doing now but don't describe it a soul-numbing or boring. Instead talk about how interesting this other thing is and why you woudl be a good fit for it. Be prepared with a plan for how you would transition your existing project to someone else.

If that doesn't work, then you need to start making contacts with the managers who manage the projects you want to be on and get them to ask for you. It is easier to move if someone specifically requests you.

If you are bored, then do something about it and don't just be passive. Write a white paper for the company, create a training session on some interesting technical thing that applies to the project you would like to be on and present it (especially if it is something that the people onthe project don't know how to do). Volunteer for your local user groups and give presentations there. Write a technical blog (not on work hours) and make sure the folks at work see it. Don't let any of this interfere with the work you actually are being paid to do. No one will give you a more interesting task to do if you fail at the boring one. However you can use these sorts of things to show how much more you could do and impress the people who choose the people on the more interesting projects.

  • +1 "If you are bored, then do something about it and don't just be passive. " – Maria Ines Parnisari Dec 5 '13 at 4:53
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First you need to try to make the existing project better. Start by looking for ways that you can contribute that interest you. It really does not matter what it is but the point is to make yourself shine like a star. The managers of the interesting project want people on their team that can make the project better. The best way to attract their attention is to shine where you are. It sounds like this is the perfect place to start for you since the project is dull any advancement in the project you make is likely to get your noticed.

The thing to remember is you are not going to walk in and be the guy leading the coolest project in the company. Instead you have to establish yourself first. That is probably going to take you a year or more. Then you can start looking for better projects and working your way up. Take the time to network with your team and with the other teams. Having a friend on a new project recommend you for the team is one of the fastest ways up the ladder.

But you have to put your time in the salt mines. We all did at some point, and in 10 years you will look back and understand why. Until then the best thing you can do for your career is to make sure you are exceeding expectations, and making friends with with other people in the company.

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    I mostly agree with this, but you do have to walk a fine line between shining like a star and becoming indispensable on a project you don't want to stay on. – HLGEM Dec 4 '13 at 19:15
  • @HLGEM - That is an excuse that managers give when they do not want to promote/move you but do not want you to quit. You can always support it on an as needed basis from the new position. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 4 '13 at 20:11
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You dont mention what type of worker you are (QA? dev? design?) but here are the two options I see:

1) You try to transfer inside the company - i would directly talk to you manager about switching to more interesting positions, "you outgrew this task" sort of a thing. Do not use the word bored.

2) You keep being bored and doing totally unrelated things as you prepare to find a new job. This could be things like sharpening your resume, working on projects that you will talk about in interviews, or adding new skills that increase your value.

And try to enjoy the boredom, if you get hired at a google-like place I am sure you will miss it sometimes ;-)

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