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)

  • 1
    Whether you should move on is a decision that only you can make. We can only really provide advice for practical questions and guidance on how to make the decision yourself. Can you identify core questions that fit those criteria? What is holding you back from deciding the next step of your career? – Lilienthal Apr 14 '16 at 10:40
  • If they don't have real work for you to do, then ask your manager if there is a research or open source project you could benefit the company by contributing to. This will give you real work, and they have a say in what you are to do. You may want to give an example or two of projects you have interest in, so they can simply say "Oh, that is fine with us if you do that.". Then make an agreement to evaluate in X weeks. Choose if possible a project you can put on your resume. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Apr 14 '16 at 12:02
  • @Lillienthal: yes, I know it is my own decision. But as you said, I want only to clarify some objective ascpects of these question, in order to not wrong evalute these aspects. For example, a core question, that can have an objective answer in a fixed enviroment, is: how looks like an employee that haven't gained experience in 6 months? Do the HRs care about the story, or I can appear as a person that blame situations or, worse, colleagues and bosses? Another core questions: how can I gain real working skill if I'm stucked in this situation? Maybe my effort is not enough – Daniele Apr 14 '16 at 12:07
  • @Thorbjom: this advice is good but is quiete impossible. As I said, managament is archaic, the employees that take the initiative are seen as a Dangerous for the gerarchy. Also, I'm formal employed in one project, only I haven't activity to do because all the related activities are done, so I'm waiting for a (possibile) new bug that has to be fixed. In these condition, nobody allows me to ask for a new project. Moreover, my interest (and my study field) is far from the core activity of the company, that is informatic. They have only few activity on hardware, in automotive companies. – Daniele Apr 14 '16 at 12:12
  • Sorry for the WOT is nonsense. If you recognize that your question is a wall-of-text, you edit it until that is no longer the case. It is in your interest that your question is accessible – user8036 Apr 15 '16 at 11:20

I understand your concern. From the looks of it , your company does not have work to assign to you. You should accept that. Your management is not at fault as they don't have any work to assign. This does not mean your job is in jeopardy as they do have to keep maintenance personnel ready if something goes wrong.

But since you are new , you must be eager to learn and work hard. For that you must start studying and job hunting quickly. Find out which jobs are available and are in demand and study accordingly of course keeping your interests in mind.

Start looking for a job and quit only when you find one. Till then study hard in the field most jobs are open

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  • as I said, I'm studying by my own, doing a open source project etc. Fortunately, the field that I like, and that I'm studying, is requested in Europe (maybe less here in Italy, but anyway Italy isn't my final goal). It is really demanding and it is expected to grow in the future. Moreover, the skills I'm Learning is applicable to a wide range of field (automotive, aerospace, ecc). But what I really miss is a mentor, professionist that can teach me these arguments not in the accamedical way but in an industrial way. And studying by my own is almost impossible to acquire industrial experience. – Daniele Apr 14 '16 at 15:40
  • I understand. Looking for entry level jobs is the only thing in your control while studying. Till then maintain job. – Learner_101 Apr 15 '16 at 9:50

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