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So I work as a line of business/enterprise systems/corporate software engineer and so far (about two years into this) my manager has always supplied me with work - whether it was a full hashed out request from someone or just "so and so told me they want to do X, can you go talk to them about it?" But recently my manager says I need to start going out and finding my own work within the company; things to make people and processes more efficient. Now, I work from home nearly 100% of the time and so now with this "find your own work" thing they want me in the office more often. Well, actually they are leaving "the decision" up to me. But come on, clearly there is only one right decision.

So, I'm curious, is this "find your own work" thing legit? Or are they just using that as a way to convince me to start coming into the office more?

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    Welcome to the workplace. Hopefully you find it useful. Please go through the tour and look through the help center for how things operate here, including what sort of questions we deal with. That said, and sorry if I seem flip here, but how can we know what your boss is thinking? Go talk to him yourself. (That said, it doesn't seem an unreasonable request.) – GreenMatt Dec 17 '15 at 22:40
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    It depends on the company. For example in my own organization I may have a general outline of what I need to achieve, but I need to speak to the people manually performing the tasks right now and decide on a process/algorithm myself. As long as I can defend my choices I'm good. So yes, their approach makes sense, even if it seems chaotic to a programmer. – AndreiROM Dec 17 '15 at 22:41
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    Well if I were your manager and I wanted to have you in the office more, I would not use such an indirect route, I would tell you up front, come into the office more. Likely he has been spending a lot of time drumming up work for you and he wants you to send that time instead of him. Perhaps he has something coming up that will be taking more of his time. – HLGEM Dec 17 '15 at 22:49
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    Do you realize he's just given you carte blanche to walk around, talk to the people you've talked to before, let them point you to other people, AND BILL THEM FOR THE TIME INVOLVED if you are a contractor? – John R. Strohm Dec 17 '15 at 23:41
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    What is it that you think they are lying about? Asking you to find ways to improve the company? That doesn't sound right. Are you protesting the change because you like working from home? Why does it matter if you need to be in the office? Why would a manager create a "lie" to try to trick you into coming into an office where you are employed? Why not just ask you to be in the office more? – Jim Dec 18 '15 at 6:43
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To answer your direct Question (ie, Are they lying): It's possible, but I would say unlikely.

While we can not be certain of your manager's intentions, instructions to find your own work and improve processes is not an unreasonable one; especially if you are working in a small-ish organization (in larger organizations, the responsibility of finding issues and gathering business requirements would typically not fall on a developer, though it is not unheard of).

It is very likely that your manager has been assigning your work based on a ticketing system, or some other form of open issues backlog. It is possible that you have exhausted the supply of open issues, and as such your manager simply doesn't have a "next" issue to assign you. Or rather, your manager may not have an easily accessible "next" item; there are always more tickets...

That said, there is always room for improvement in most buisiness processes. Have you tried sitting down (or calling, skyping, etc) with various business units and discussing their processes? Schedule an hour with a department manager, and let them know that you are looking for ways to make their jobs easier; they'll almost always have wishlist items for you.

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But recently my manager says I need to start going out and finding my own work within the company; things to make people and processes more efficient.

That's how you improve, grow professionally, and add value to your company. The more senior an engineer (for instance) becomes the more their role will involve taking initiative, leadership, improving the productivity of their team or department, etc.

Now, I work from home nearly 100% of the time and so now with this "find your own work" thing they want me in the office more often.

It sounds like they're discovering employees who only work from home can't add much value. So you're going to need to go into the office more, or find a company with a culture that better supports working from home (like the company who owns workplace.SE).

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