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I've been working in this company for six months, and it's getting more and more confusing as the time goes by.

I'm working in a geo-spatial consultant company, which is related to GIS, laser scanning and aerial photogrammetry. At first, I was working as a programmer (probably the only one), and the only thing I need to do is to take care any request from all my co-workers. My manager had promised me the job content is just this simple on my first day. No routing works, no data-processings, and no project to handle.

Last November, however, I was asked to analyze a project which had totally gone wrong. I didn't think much of it because I was majoring in geo-spatial in college. After fixing every filthy thing, this Feb., I finished fixing it on my own with a little program I developed.

Both my manager and the chairman of this company were pleased. The chairman even gave me a raise, and told me that my position in this company will be a system analyst for all departments, and no routing works as it was.

I must admit that it was the sense of achievement that makes me happy. But things started to change. Since there're no request from my co-workers and not being told to analyze anything. My manager asked me to do some QC on our product(e.g. maps and digital elevation models).

All these products have one thing in common, they're limited in quantity. After QC is done, I have nothing to do. Some of my co-workers start to keep distance from me, and others started to say something like:

How about lend us a little helping hand on routing data processing, Mr. Not-so-busy? We'd like to get off on time like you do.

I don't know if I did anything wrong. And I don't know what should I do. It's just getting really really confusing.

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    It sounds as if your big mistake was in letting your coworkers know that you had nothing to do. It might have caused some resentment. I'd recommend finding things to do that improve your technical skills and help the company so that you are actually not left with all that free time. You may have to work a bit to overcome the image that they have of you not working "as hard as the rest of us". Find ways to ask them for their help or opinions on work items. Make it clear that your circumstances have "changed" and you now have lots to do. – Francine DeGrood Taylor Apr 21 '14 at 16:24
  • @FrancineDeGroodTaylor - You can only fake it for so long. – user8365 Apr 21 '14 at 17:25
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Regarding not having much to do:

It's entirely possible that there's a bit of confusion or miscommunication among the higher-ups regarding your current responsibilities (or you're not spending as much time on it as you should - I could be wrong, but QC (Quality Control, I assume) seems fairly subjective). Even though you might not really consider this your problem, if you don't do something about it, you could find yourself getting punished for not doing enough work (either shown in your performance, or getting seen not doing work one too many times). The alternative is that they think these things are taking up more of your time than it actually is, and you just end up coasting, although working harder and moving up in the world (faster?) seems like a better option.

Tell your manager that you've finished your current work and don't have anything to do and ask them whether they have anything for you to do. Don't tell them that you often have nothing to do, as the obvious question (even if not asked) would then be why you didn't go to them sooner (and the obvious assumption being that you were feeling lazy). If you want, you could even request some specific work you like to do.

If you find yourself with nothing to do again, you could approach your manager again, and try to arrange for some constant flow of work / methods of obtaining more work to do in case this happens again (I wouldn't do this to start, as a likely conclusion from that would be that it happens often).

If nothing comes of this, and you're able to find work for yourself to do (inside the company, obviously), do it, and inform your manager of said work done in passing (I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to inform the manager, unless no opportunity presents itself over some time).

If you're not able to find work for yourself to do, feel free to approach your manager again a few times, possibly have some of this communication take place in writing, then (after giving up, presumably) rest assured that you tried.

Regarding doing things not part of your job:

It vaguely sounds like you're not happy with your current responsibilities (beyond not having enough of them), although maybe I'm just imagining myself.

Job responsibilities change - that's the way it goes.

It sounds like you're moving up in the world, which tends to be a good thing.

If you're not happy with your current responsibilities, there's nothing wrong with approaching your manager and enquiring about a change of responsibilities.

What you're currently doing may be what the company currently needs of you, so a change may not necessarily happen (even though most companies do try to keep their employees happy). If it doesn't, you could approach the matter again in a performance review, for example, although you may end up needing to decide between leaving and staying (with your current responsibilities).

  • Thank you for your advice. After I found out that not only higher-ups but my coworkers thought I stole ideas somewhere else to fix their mistake, I decided to quit right away. – 高崇軒 Aug 29 '14 at 3:45

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