I have been working in a public sector company for the last 29 years. I have successfully managed all responsibilities for the department independently. Now my boss has got a co-worker from another department. All of a sudden, all the work is given to this newcomer and I sit idle the whole day.

Should I complain to the higher authority or speak/write to my boss?

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    I would suggest that an informal chat with your boss and ask them how they feel you are performing, if there are any issues. Tell them that you feel underutilised and have the capacity for more work. I would NOT go in all guns blazing. Open gently, state the fact that you have no work to do. If it's unintentional then it should resolve. If it isn't, then you can ask about performance and move forward from there. – Jane S Apr 21 '15 at 9:52
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    How long are we talking about? A day, a week, a month? Has anything been said to you? Have you said or done anything? – Nigel Harper Apr 21 '15 at 12:26
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    Is there any work you can do? Things that always should have been done that you didn't have time to do because they were lower priority? Find something that you could do. Then go to your boss and say "I've done everything you told me, so if you have nothing else to do, I will do this (rather unimportant task)". – gnasher729 Apr 22 '15 at 10:03

This is most likely a simple issue of miscommunication, don't get so worked up over it. Given your level of experience and good track record, your boss and the higher-ups are probably making plans to move you into a different role, where they see you would be valuable.

Of course, they have to bring in someone new to take over the work you are currently doing. The boss should have ideally communicated this to you already, but humans make mistakes. Maybe he simply forgot to tell you, or he thinks you have other work to do and doesn't realize that you are idle, or he doesn't think this is critical enough to tell you now and plans to tell you later, etc.

I would strongly advise against bypassing the boss and complaining to the higher authority. If it turns out to be something like the above, your boss will wonder, "Why didn't you just ask me first, if you were so worried about it?" and both you and your boss will lose face.

Tell your manager that you have been idle for a while, and ask him what are his plans for you. No matter how much this frustrates you, don't drag the newcomer into your discussion or blame the boss, that is, don't say something like, "Hey Boss, why did you bring this new guy, and give all my work to him?" Focus only on your work, complaining about others (or even appearing to be complaining about others) doesn't help you in any way.


First ask to your boss with respect that why he/she is doing like this. Is there any your mistake or other issue?

After that if you do not get satisfied answer/reply from boss then you can write/speak to higher authority.


You should plan a meeting with your boss and ask them "What are your expectations for me, short term and long term?" and if he doesn't understand, say something like "Well, right now I don't have a lot of work so I wanted to make sure I'm meeting your expectations". Don't ask them "why did the work stop coming my way" and avoid mentioning the new colleague at all cost, you don't want to appear to be accusing anyone of anything.

This way you should be able to find out what your boss has planned for you in a natural way. It could be that they have dialed down your responsibilities in preparation of moving you to another role, or maybe he will say "we don't have a lot of work for you right now, but we have X in the pipeline that's coming your way". Worst case scenario is that they will be evasive or intentionally vague, which would mean you need to start looking for new employment.

Throughout this process, maintain a positive attitude. Chances are he had no intention of making you feel useless, he likely simply forgot to communicate his plans to you. By going to him you also show that you are still motivated, which can never hurt.


I agree with the previous responses, but I would like to suggest something additional: Use your idle time to update your resume and at least tentatively explore the job market. I am not saying you should quit your job. I'm not saying you want to move on. I am just suggesting that there is a use for this idle time. Have a "plan B". But by all means do talk to your boss as others have suggested.

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    I'd have immediate misgivings about an employee who spent his work hours updating his resume or searching job boards. I'm not paying you for that. – Adam V Apr 22 '15 at 17:01
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    The problem in this case is that if he does what you have made mention in your answer, he's using the company's resources for job hunting, which may show that the employee has plans of resignation, thus strengthening the manager's reason not to give him anymore tasks (that is if the manager wants him laid off). I do understand your point about exploring the job market. In fact, exploration is good for finding out what's new, but you must do this "off the clock". – Ju-chan Apr 22 '15 at 21:08
  • @AdamV he is being paid regardless of what he does, which right now is nothing. I see nothing wrong with a little polishing, but I would stay away from active job hunting while at the office. I had a boss that liked us to update our resume every year. I do suspect he may have been using it as a self evaluation for review time though. – Bill Leeper Apr 23 '15 at 14:21

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