About 3 months ago, I left a secure work-from-home job for one with a greater challenge, more money, and a significant commute.

Although I don't yet have access to the application I'm supporting, I've read all available documentation, and used every self-help method I could find, in order to get up to speed.

I've helped with one small project, and was able to learn a lot about the system and the business. It went well, but I learned that the business controls projects and their deadlines. Since that project went live over a month ago, I have had not a single piece of new work.

I've delicately broached the subject with my boss, who is complaining of the same thing. She says we'll have work soon, but I don't know how to fill my 8-hour days until then.

I have to account for my time, and allocate it to line items for projects. I'm full-fledged lying, because I have nothing to work on.

I'm frustrated, but I'm trying to be patient. I have thought about asking other areas if I can help with anything, but a) I'm afraid of making too much "noise" about my lack of work, b) I don't want to go over my manager's head, and c) I don't know what benefit I would provide, since I'm new to the company.

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    Very similar question here: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2644/… – David K Jun 15 '15 at 19:10
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    You can search the site for is:q not enough work to check if your question has been asked before – user8036 Jun 15 '15 at 19:20
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    You are not lying. If you are assigned to a project and they have no work for you, that is their problem, not yours. In those cases, the time you enter is the time you were available for them. – mcknz Jun 15 '15 at 22:03
  • I would communicate what you are doing in terms of writing hours to your manager, and get an email back that confirms this is OK. – Paul Hiemstra Jun 16 '15 at 6:18
  • This is not a duplicate -- this is a political question ("should I ask other departments"), and not just a generic "I have nothing to do." – mcknz Jun 16 '15 at 20:15

I would ask your manager if you can farm yourself out onto other projects. Since other PMs are paying for your time they may as well get some benefit from it. Definitely clear it with her first just so you don't accidentally create a situation for her.


You can ask,but make sure that you clear with her before you accept anything. Even better, ask her either to farm you out or to recommend you to someone who could use your assistance.

Definitely let her know about the trouble you have with filling your timesheets - she may have training codes or administration codes that she could give you. I don't envy you your situation - Some of my most memorable misadventures occurred when I was looking for work internally and some manager or colleague from hell took me up on it :)


(a) I would certainly check with my manager before offering to work for other departments. No manager wants people in their department running off doing things that involve other departments without them even knowing about it. One of the worst things you can do to your boss is to have him find out about something you're doing from somebody else. It makes the boss look like he has no idea what's going on -- which may be true but not the impression he wants to make. And the boss may have good reasons for telling you not to do this that you don't know about.

(b) I'd ask your boss what to put on your timesheet for times when you had no assigned work. Some companies have specific project codes or the like for this. (Years ago I worked for a company where such time was labeled "Cleanup." People would sometimes have 8 hours a day on "Cleanup.")

(c) Assuming that volunteering to work for other departments doesn't pan out, find something you can do that's useful to the company long-term. Like read documentation on other projects done by the department. Study up on something relevant to your job. I gather you're some sort of software developer? Maybe read up on programming languages used by the company, especially if there are some you don't presently know. Study databases. Buy my database book and study it ... Oh, sorry, lost my head there. But really, learn useful stuff. If you're very new to the company, you probably don't know where there are needs, but down the road, you may be able to do little personal projects, create toolkits and the like, that will be useful to you. Like on my current job, when I hit a shallow patch at one point I built a little database to keep track of all the websites we manage. I don't know what would be useful at your company, but something in that direction.


Don't ask. You may feel like a slacker now, but what often happens is as soon as you ask for work outside of your department, your own department fills up with work, and you're stuck with having to keep all those promises.

You'll also open yourself up down the road as an "extra" resource for those departments, and again, you'll have trouble saying no.

Improve your communication. Tell the people running the projects that you are entering time but have done no concrete tasks. If they don't respond then that is their issue.

Work on things that will improve your skills, things that the company will benefit from in the long run. Document what you work on.

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