I started a new job four months ago when my previous startup got acquired. I joined this company thinking that the company will have similar startup culture.

After four months of job I find the work pace is too slow for working style. I have much reduced responsibilities with little workload but better pay. On a typical workday, I hardly work for more than 2 hours. Rest of the time I wait for inputs from colleagues. I work much faster and efficiently than others in the company because I have wider and deeper experience to solve problems faster. A colleague once commented that because I finish tasks faster it puts pressure on him to take it live soon.

I talked to my boss to give something else to do meanwhile. He redirected me to another colleague, but I again same issue. I'm waiting for the colleague to give me something to do.

I find the job too boring and thought I will do something on my own, but I don't have permission to install any new softwares on my system. I can't read many technical blogs as most of them are blocked here and request to open them are rarely addressed.

I don't want to look for a new job, since in 6 years of work experience this is my 5th company. What else can I do to utilize the free time?


Some clarification based on the responses below.

1: As Aymor said, I might be overqualified for this position. My title here is 'Sr. Technical Lead'. The HR clarified during the interview that, there will be no lead role in the job and I'll be an individual contributor. I was fine with that as I wanted to quit old job ASAP because of uncertainties after acquisition.

2: Suggestions like bringing my own laptop will not work as company have strict IT policies because of compliance requirements. Company deals with preloaded gift cards and have to deal restrictions by the Central Bank.

3: 5 jobs in 6 years mostly because companies I have worked either shutdown because of lack of funding or got acquired by other companies, except the first one. I have worked mostly in startups only. Changing jobs don't have anything to do what I'm experiencing now.

4: I tried making myself useful as suggested by Sigal, by suggesting different things. My suggestions were not welcomed with so much enthusiasm. It is partially because I'm new to company and my boss may not trust my advises so much compared to other old timers in the company. That is fine for me. I will wait till I earn the trust.

  • I'll have a harsh question for you. I hardly work for more than 2 hours. Do you check everyday that you have completed your assignment 100% correct? There is absolutely nothing that you have done is buggy?
    – Nobody
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 8:56
  • Do you check every couple of hours with your boss and tell him you have nothing to do? BTW, do not work on personal projects at work or you may well find that the company owns them.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 13:23
  • @HLGEM depending on the contract and the country, even side projects in your own time might belong to the company... Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 14:07

4 Answers 4


Some random thoughts, based on similar experiences:

Some wrong reasons for hiring you in that company, that might result to the behaviour you describe:

  • "If we hire more start-up people the company will be more start-up-y": Wrong because there is still the same company culture which will reject those people.
  • they might not trust new people or give them time to adjust. Where you are coming from this might be too much where people are supposed to commit and deploy something in their first week or something. Red flag if they brought a "move fast and break things" person to a slow moving organization.

Positive scenarios:

  • They might need you for a big project later on, so they hired you in advance
  • They might have liked you so much but not yet found ways to utilize you or integrate you. So they pay you until it's fixed.

I would suggest you to wait a bit and see how it goes. Judging from my self getting from a startup to a place where you need to ask for permission a lot, you cannot install software on your machine or it blocks access to sites is not the place that I could stay for long (has happened to me once).

So you'd either bite the bullet of having to many job hops, so you stay there or unhappy or you decide that one more hop is not an issue and you go somewhere else (hopefully making more due diligence on the company).


As a more experienced member of the team I think you should make an effort to help your team and raise the level of work, which is what is usually expected from a more experienced person.

You can review other people's work, suggest changes that will improve the work, join another person and work together, prepare lectures or training.

Taking some initiative will transform you from an experienced team member to a senior team member.


Ok, so you are overqualified. If only I had this problem! On the other hand maybe not - boredom would not be good. Ways to occupy yourself at work without working:

  • as @SigalShaharabani noted, offer others to take care of some of their tasks - review code or documentation, do testing;

  • if allowed, consider bringing a small unobtrusive laptop, use your cell phone wifi hotspot to get online and browse your tech blogs there; if anyone asks, you are doing professional development;

  • if your employer subsidizes any training/certification, enroll in a program in your area of expertise and use some 'spare' time to do your homework.

HR folks will frown upon the latter two suggestions. So before doing these, first check with your direct supervisor and see if they would count such activities as professional development / computer-based training.

Lastly, the fact that you had 5 jobs in 6 years is a bit alarming. If your frequent job change had to do with the same issue you are experiencing now, perhaps you are applying for jobs that you are overqualified for and need to revise your career trajectory. Maybe think about what job titles you think would provide the workload that would challenge you. Would it be more management responsibility or more technical depth/breadth? Would having more direct reports put more on your plate? Would tackling multiple concurrent projects require more time and attention? What positions within your organization are characterized by such responsibilities?

At the next performance review, discuss your career goals and opportunities in your current workplace with your manager. If these opportunities are lacking (but you still want to stick with same company), discuss options for lateral transfers across departments to gain broader knowledge of the organization. Good luck!


Though this question is more of a personal advise and will be closed for sure, I would like to put some ideas ahead.

  1. You say you work hardly for 2 hours, which is very less. I mean seriously less. The option given by your boss is quite vague and will get you nothing. So, you might go ahead and force your colleague to give you some task or you might take there work and analyze it if it can be made better.

  2. Though the access is blocked, there are ways to unblock it. But that might be a break of policy so don't go for it. Play like an old-school lad here. Carry hard-copies of books and read them in your spare time. Once you go home, you can work on the things you have read. On a personal note, I would recommend asking loyally to your boss to provide you the access to the tools you want to install. May be its simple, but you haven't given a try.

  3. If there is a strong reason to switch your job, it doesn't matter how many you skip. Its a matter of your priorities. And, if you can prove about your job switching, no-one will question it. So, think about it. Water kept at a same place for longer duration catches the dirt!

To sum it up, I would say, you should prioritize the things. Either you should go for loyalty and ask for the access to the knowledge or you should have courage to move on and get another job which suits the lifestyle of your work.

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