I've automated most of the jobs I have to do everyday and left some just to kill the time between 9-5, technically it wouldn't be hard to automate everything (create some .bat's, code some macro's or create some simple apps). Should I automate all my jobs? Would that make me a bad worker who's lazy (I kind of am) and didn't want to do it manually (I really don't) or a good worker who has a more efficient way to complete these tasks?
You are a good worker who has a more efficient way to complete his tasks -- but only if your employer reaps the benefits of your efficiency.
Probably the best way to make that happen is for you to take on more tasks. Talk to your employer and request more work. Point out your automation methods, and ask him to particularly assign mindless repetitive jobs that you can also automate.
Don't forget, even when your tasks are automated, you're still responsible for them, so allow time and attention to monitor the automated processes. Eventually all your effort should be consumed in checking the correctness of your processes and results, and troubleshooting the occasional failure.
There is nothing to worry. Approach your boss and show him how your ingenuity has helped the company. Show them that while you can make mistakes when performing mundane/routine tasks, the scripts/automation software will not. This may have already saved your company some money. But also show them that you keeping on monitoring and improving robustness of the automated processes is very important.
If I were the manager, rather than laying you off, I will see if you can automate at least parts of other employees' jobs, and then try to take advantage of the new excess time to do productive and more complex/analytical work that could not be automated. In any case, offer your manager to automate some other mundane/routine processes. For example, I created a small program to do some analytics on the reported bugs for our software product, which created an Excel document with some nice charts. This was praised a lot and very quickly there were more requests of similar requirements.
If you're an employee, figuring out a way to do your work 10 times faster is your problem. Your employer has hired you for a task in exchange for a salary. If the task is done, you deserve the salary. End of story.
Why? Because the crazy amount of studies you put yourself into, and which today allows you to be that performant, doesn't belong to your employer. It belongs to you. So if your employer wants you to get more done, he has to pay more. Automation is not work you did today, it's work you did years before and which enables you to be over-performing today.
If you're an associate, then the company's interests are aligned with your interests. Then you should act accordingly.
The fact that your employer gives you a salary and no capital in exchange for your work proves that your interests are not aligned with the company's interests.
If your employer is not happy with that, he can either:
- Automate those tasks by himself
- Find some slave (other than you)
- Invite you to be an associate
My main point is: nowadays a lot of people (especially here on the Workplace - see the current most upvoted answer) tend to confuse being an employee and being an associate. Employers take advantage of this confusion. Don't fall into that trap.
Forget the BS about "team spirit", "we're in the same boat", etc. This is just marketing (directed towards employees). If your employer wants you in his boat, he has to make you an associate.
Employee: you're paid for a task. The company's interests are not your interests. Once the task is done, you're done. The amount of time you put into it doesn't count.
Associate: the company's interests are your interests. Act accordingly.
Ask your boss to work remotely then perform better than usual, he'll think you have a better work environnement at home and let you do it everytime you want. Then automate everything you left and use your time to do what you want (travel, play with your kids, etc.) Don't forget to check e-mails and you're good to go.