In October 2015 I did a series of interview for a information consultant company and one of their customers, for a hardware engineer position, in the automotive sector. The interview went well, but they waited 3 weeks to hire me: a week after he hired me, they told me that the customer’s company didn’t need an hardware engineer anymore. Later I knew that was the reason for the hiring delay.
From October 2015 to February 2016, I was in the company’s Head Quarter did literally nothing. They told me to study some projects, but after a week I studied everything possible. I went two times a week to the manager to ask what I had to do; the manager also tried to avoid to crossing me in the office, to avoid the embarrassing explanation that they didn’t find any activity for me. From the first of February, I was sent to the company’s customer (the same in which I would have worked as hardware engineer), to substitute an employee who resigned, however the position was for the software engineer.
Since the start of February I have written 3 lines of code, because the project is really finished and my activity is essentially bug-fixing, but they found only 1 bug in 3 months, that I fixed easily in one day. For weeks and weeks, I went to the office, nobody talks to me or assign me tasks for the entire day.
I’m honest when I say that this situation is more stressful than a situation when you are overload of work and responsibility. In this months I did a lot of other interviews, but I have had to cancel some of them because I can’t too many days off at work. Also, this situation lead me to be less effective in these interviews, even when the position really interests me. In this job I'm doing nothing, I’m learning nothing, and I see a complete indifference by my colleague in both companies. It is even causing me some health problem as stress and anxiety.
My biggest fear is that a future interviewer see these months, when I am learning nothing, and tagging me as incompetent or lazy. To avoid this, I’m studying on my own and did some projects within an open source community. I’m still applying for other jobs, within Italy but also for other countries in Europe, even though my biggest problem is my lack of spoken English skills.
1) Is the company behavior ethically correct?
2) Is this inactivity situation damaging my career? I'm doing my best to make myself employable, I'm doing a project by my own, but if the new employer asks the current employer a feedback about me, I don't think it can be positive.
3) What I can do to maximize the opportunity to find another job? Consider that I did some Skype interview, but is really difficult for me to ask for a leave day to do face to face interview, because I've already finished the leave day (and even I'm doing nothing here, the company doesn't concede other leave day)