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This is long, so here's a summary if you don't want to read: Working for two months in a department where everyone's been working for 10+ years (I'm literally the only new person). Because I'm still learning, nobody wants to give me work. It's a classic case of "Need experience to start working, can't get experience without working". I'm now stuck being totally unproductive except for what work I can find for myself to do, which isn't enough to fill even half my time.

The long version: I was hired to be a developer two months ago. I'm still not receiving any work even though I have taught myself our processes. All of our primary work is project based, and all of our projects have been going on for months (or years), so I'd have to play catch up (which I'm willing to do!) The issue is that the project managers don't want the newbie on their projects. And no, I'm not inferring--a project manager said this to my boss, verbatim.

Things I have done to try to remedy this:

--First, I started off by using the down time to study our processes, the software we use (all in-house), who does what, etc. Trying to be productive without having any actual work, basically.

--Speaking to my boss about it. He said he'd talk to the project managers to try and get me some work. Weeks after he talked to them, I still had nothing to do. This lead to...

--Emailing the project managers asking for work to do while BCCing my boss (he asked me to). Still nothing (even on projects that are failing to meet deadlines!)

--Emailing the other developers to ask if they have any work I could take off of their hands (again, BCCing my boss). They were ecstatic about this, and gave me some work to do. Everyone I have done work for has been impressed with my speed and quality of work. The issue with this is they get to essentially take credit for my work because the task was officially assigned to them, not me. Better than boredom, but still not preferable.

--Finding my own work to do. When I can't fill my time with actual work, I look at our code/documentation and figure out how it could be better. Whilst doing this, I literally identified and fixed a production defect that they didn't even know was an issue, and automated a task that saved us hours of manpower every day (my boss calculated the savings to be about $50k/year). Both of my solutions have been implemented and I have been commended for my work by my non-tech bosses.

--Talk to my boss. Again. He says I'm 'doing everything right' and he's impressed with what I've accomplished in two months. That's great and all, but it's still not getting me work to do, and I'm bored out of my skull.

The question: What else can I do to prove myself? I feel like I have been doing everything possible to prove myself to people, but I'm still being treated like a pariah when it comes to project work. At this rate, I'm giving this job a year before this behavior drives me to leave. I just don't understand how to break into the workflow in this department, and I feel like it shouldn't be nearly this difficult.

marked as duplicate by jmoreno, Joe Strazzere, gnat, Telastyn, Jane S Jun 17 '15 at 21:25

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Sound like emailing other developers is better than nothing. At some point one of them may say to a PM why don't you just give the task to X. Too bad you don't have a resource manager. I think giving yourself a time frame of a year is reasonable and in the mean time just relax. 2 months is not that long - give them a chance to get used to you. Maybe spend some time bushing up on marketable skills and maybe get some certifications. – paparazzo Jun 17 '15 at 18:15
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    I suppose I thought this wasn't a duplicate because I've already tried most of the suggestions given in that thread. If this is truly a duplicate, feel free to close; I was just seeing if there were any other options beyond what I've already done. – user37239 Jun 17 '15 at 18:21
  • I'm not completely sure this is a duplicate, because the OP has been doing most of what the other answers suggest. @user37239, I changed the title to not sound so similar to the others. Feel free to edit the title and question yourself as well. – David K Jun 17 '15 at 18:22
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There might be additional ideas in the question I've linked as a possible duplicate, but an employee shouldn't have to go to such lengths to find work to do.

Keep doing what you are doing, and make sure to communicate your activities to your superiors.

You may need to look for another job if you do not feel challenged. Eventually you will begin to dislike your job (if you don't already).

  • Thank you for your comment! I definitely have a feeling that I won't be there past a year. My only concern is that my previous job was also short (6 month contractor position), so two short term jobs might raise red flags. Am I just worrying too much? – user37239 Jun 17 '15 at 18:23
  • @user37239 It's not unusual for developers to work on multiple short projects since that's sometimes the nature of the business. As long as you can explain the reason for the job length you should be ok. I always ask in interviews why people want to leave their current jobs, and when they say they aren't being challenged, that usually speaks well of their desire to learn and work hard. – mcknz Jun 17 '15 at 18:58
  • @user37239 there are probably existing questions/answers on the site regarding short-term jobs in work history that are worth checking out. – mcknz Jun 17 '15 at 18:59

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