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A few days ago, my friend received a ticket that was not meant for him. He automatically opened it and started reading through it. After a few lines he understood that this ticket was not meant for him, but for his team lead.

He told me that in the ticket the manager asked if the team lead could create some things to do for my friend, because the manager added "it seems that he has nothing to do". And lately he had noticed that they cannot provide my friend with enough work.

I know for a fact that he is doing a good job, the code he writes has little to no bugs and he always finishes what he starts. He does what he is asked and sometimes even more, trying to impress his manager.

Now he asked me if this means that his job could be on the line due to the little work needing to be done. I could not think of an answer so I am asking here.

Can things like this endanger his work position? What exactly should my friend do to avoid been in this situation. Are there any activities which could lead maybe to be under higher workload and do not worry about his position at work?

  • Any reason for downvote? – Cardiner Aug 1 '14 at 7:31
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    I suspect the downvotes are because speculating about what people might be thinking isn't a good fit for this site, which focuses on answerable questions. I suggest editing to ask not about what management might be thinking but, instead, what he should do given this situation. In the meantime I'm going to put this on hold. – Monica Cellio Aug 1 '14 at 14:40
  • @MonicaCellio: That doesn't mean those opinion based answers and the question itself don't have relevance. Perhaps this question would be more suitable with the label communitywiki. – Joel Etherton Aug 1 '14 at 14:44
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    @JoelEtherton I think some minor changes to the question can make it work well for everybody. I cast the fourth close vote, so some others seem to feel this way too. Anyway, let's get this edited and reopened please! Putting a question on hold is meant to be temporary, so it doesn't get more answers that might not fit the edited question. Thanks. – Monica Cellio Aug 1 '14 at 14:48
  • What could help is clarifying the question a bit more. Is the friend worried about the job because he read something not intended for him or is the friend worried because of the perception that he needs work? Hope this helps. – jmort253 Aug 1 '14 at 20:14
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I would take this a more a postive than a negative at this point. If they really wanted to get rid of him they would not be requesting he get more work.

It is true though if they don't have work over more than a period of a couple of works it is then time to get nervous, nobody wants to pay people to do nothing. YOur friend shoud be asking for work proactively whenever he runs out of thigns to do.

  • Yeah i said that too, but thing is he asked already and they said, so learn something and educate him self. He asked few times. Asking to much means that you really have nothing to do and it alerts manager more for thinking about trimming workforce – Cardiner Aug 1 '14 at 15:06
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    @Cardiner, not asking and people seeing you not doing anything is actually worse. At least they know you are trying to get work. BUt if he asked and got told to learn something new, then that is what he shoudl do. Sounds like they like him and want to keep him. As fara as learning something new, I woudl concentrate on some technology where the work is currently that he doesn;t know so that he can be qulafied to be assigned to mre thigns, thats not as much fun as learning something offbeat but more useful in his present job. – HLGEM Aug 1 '14 at 15:09
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It sounds like the manager is correct in assessing that your friend does not have enough to do. Asking the team lead to find some things to do, is perfectly natural.

If in the long run the manager thinks 'we have more people than we have work for', then yes, he might decide to lay off some people.

But this is all speculation, you do not have much to go on (or you do not give enough information). Your friend should (always) make sure that his direct superiors (team lead) see him as a valuable contribution.

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If this slack period is short run, it's not an issue.

But you know what they say - inactivity breeds unemployment. Having said that, I don't think they'll lay off your friend unless they're sure that they'll get away with it i.e their need for him comes back to bite them in the butt a couple of months after they lay him off.

It's expensive to hire someone and laying off a known quantity who is competent and not a cause for grief - that's not exactly cause for celebration.

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Generally speaking, it's a good thing. Someone who produces high quality work, is dedicated to his job, no personality issues is someone you really want to keep rather than get rid of, even if there doesn't seem to be quite enough work.

However, the concern for your long term prospects can linger on your mind. I have encountered more than 1 manager who was short sighted enough to get rid of good workers just because it temporarily suited them. But this isn't common though.

The best thing to do is to alleviate your worries by asking your manager. I don't think there is anything wrong with being direct and honest with your manager. I would say something like: "Hey boss, I didn't mean to, but I opened a ticket that was meant for you. On it said to find some more work for me, which I didn't realize the amount of work I've been doing might be a concern. You know I regularly ask for more work and projects, and help out where ever I can. If we are just in a slow period, I'm not worried, but do you think this will be permanent? Might there be personnel changes in the future?"

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