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I'm new in my workplace, and one of the very few IT guys in here (totally 3 I believe ), I'm externalized from another company to work here. My work consist in filling some very important reports that have to be done perfectly, this reports come dialy but randomly.

Basically I get paid for quality and not quantity therefore sometimes I have nothing to do but use the time for what I want (usually study and read about some stuff related to work) and other times I'm overwhelmed with work that I barely have time to have a little rest.

The problem comes when 2 weeks ago, I've been moved to another floor (I had a little office for me before) where now I'm with all the people in the same place (side by side no privacy at all). This is because the floor where I was it's been remodeling, so I will have to spend 2 months until move back.

Now I'm feeling observed by my co-workers next to me, maybe I'm a bit paranoic, but since everybody is walking around my desk (they need to because I'm next to the only exit) I'm feeling uncomfortable when I'm seeing news on my PC or sometimes even checking my cellphone (for work or any other purpose)

Today I've been asked "what do I do in here" by a co-worker next to me, I don't know if he just wanted to be friendly or secretly wondering why I was checking my cellphone so many times (This is one of those days that I have very little work), so I told him what do I do here and also indirectly that sometimes I have quiet mornings with very less work (I was surprised by his question so I told him this because I felt paranoic)

I left using my cellphone and started doing some tech research (that have done earlier) to appear that I'm working.

Should I stop concerning about what my other co-workers may think about my work?

This doesn't happen always, but I feel very embarrased when it ocurrs, How should I approach this?

I don't want to look unprofessional but also don't want to stop having some free time just for appearance

Note: Using cellphone is allowed for me since my company (the one who hired me, not where I am externalized now) want me reachable all the time, and even if I use it for something not related to work should be fine as long as I have the time and don't abuse

Note 2: I may answer myself and do not care what my co-workers can think but I just don't want to be the weirdo or anti-social since it's already costing me to sympathize with people I have nothing in common (I'm a junior IT and the rest of people are just 'seniors' of their, nothing related with IT, fields)

Note 3: I don't know if matters but for who may ask, my supervisor objectively said I'm doing great at work and gave more responsabilities (which I do fine), so having this free time do NOT affect my performance since it's not always

Edit: Rather than been busy in appearance, I would like to know how to approach my co-workers and correctly explain them that sometimes I have a very little work without seem lazy?

marked as duplicate by Jim G., Dawny33, Joel Etherton, gnat, user8365 Jan 26 '16 at 15:03

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  • @KateGregory Thanks, I don't know how could I missed it. Altho the only slightly different thing is that I can't and won't clean or do any manual work (the are already people for that). My only chance is to stay in front of my PC, or have a long break of drinking coffee (which I personally think is worst in appearance). – Nighthunter22 Jan 26 '16 at 11:36
  • @JoeStrazzere Thanks for the advice, I would ask my boss but he told me during the trainning I had that this is my only work. That's why he expect to be done perfectly – Nighthunter22 Jan 26 '16 at 13:32
  • Is there no pre-emptive or preparatory work your can do in the quiet periods? Or research for better ways to do the things you do get busy with, so you can do them better/faster? In any IT job in a decent sized company, anyone with "not enough work to do" isn't looking hard enough. – HorusKol Jan 26 '16 at 22:39
  • @JoeStrazzere Believe me, when I said that if there would be any other thing I could do during those down times, I would be more than glad, since is what I really like, I often study and do some research, but not all the time, so sometimes I read news, etc. – Nighthunter22 Jan 27 '16 at 8:32
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You're not doing anything wrong. But it seems you want to appear busy in front of others. So appear busy.

Research whatever you want and spend less time on your cellphone. Lots of people have whole careers doing that. So long as you're not sitting down playing solitaire all day or on Facebook it should be ok. Eventually you will have a busy period and people will see you earning your money. But at the end of the day you're not answerable to the people around you, so don't let it worry you unduly.

It's natural for those around you to ask what you do, you're a new face, people want to know some basics about you. Most probably that's all there is to it. Rather than anyone thinking your lazy.

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    Indeed I don't play solitary nor I am in any social network (I wouldn't look them even if I have the time, that's too much IMO). But yes, maybe I'm being a bit paranoic and people just want to meet me because I'm new. – Nighthunter22 Jan 26 '16 at 11:40

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