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Some context: I recently started working at a new company that specializes in providing IT services to other companies. As they mainly deal with the network/maintenance side of things they only have one full time developer, but due to the large number of customers they hired another developer to help automate processes (which is where I come in).

I've currently been working there for about a week or two, and so far I've been pretty efficient at all of my work. I fixed all of the known bugs and added all of the features they didn't get the time to implementing.

This is where things started going wrong. I'm the type of person that can't sit around and 'do nothing'. If I'm not fixing a real-world problem or working on something that will improve things for others, to me it feels like waste of my time and my bosses' money.

When asking for more work, I get told there's currently nothing to do and I should read up on the code that he's (my co-worker) written so far, or read the documentation of a framework they frequently use. To me however, doing either of those is as useful as watching paint dry in real time.

  • Reading up on framework documentation: The company uses multiple large frameworks which I don't fully know yet, I've worked with them a few times since working here but I haven't "mastered" them. They tell me to follow the examples on the website, however since those are cookie-cut for newcomers, you don't learn anything new as barely anything ever goes wrong, you can't learn from your mistakes.

  • Read the company's code to get familiar with it: The same applies here, I've already scrolled through all repositories, but since I'm not looking for something in particular I won't truly get to know how the code works either. Either that or the thing I'm reading is complete spaghetti, which definitely makes it harder; but the same issue applies. You can't find something if you're not looking for it.

I'm currently quite conflicted on what to do, do I talk to my manager and let him know how I feel about this or is there a different route I should take? Thanks in advance for your comments.

marked as duplicate by Thalantas, gnat, paparazzo, Draken, Lilienthal Feb 8 '17 at 10:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    You could refactor code or find something that is missing from the current apps and make that using their frameworks, this would allow you to learn their frameworks at the same time. – Snowlockk Feb 8 '17 at 9:20
  • @Snowlockk I suggested that, they're worries I'll "break it" or they say it's a waste of their time. – DeleteLater88267 Feb 8 '17 at 9:26
  • Time to lean, time to improve documentation. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jul 4 '18 at 13:59
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You really should take his advice to heart.

If there is nothing to do, the best use of your time is to save time for your company in the future by getting up to speed now. There's a reason they don't just put you on cleaning duty or have you file papers all day long. They want you to be ready to be productive and knowledgeable when it will count - when you have work again.

If you find just reading / understanding the code to be dull, try to understand it well enough to replicate it for yourself, or try to refactor suboptimal parts of it. If you start doing that, you can even produce value by converting maybe shoddy old code into clean and nice working code.

If you find reading framework documentation dull, imagine yourself a task, and solve it using that framework. That way, you'll pick up what you need on the way and it won't be dull. Maybe write some quality of life applications for the office, like an overtime calculator or something of that sort.

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    I think the advice to read framework documentation should be interpreted as advice to learn about the framework. If the OP needs to be solving a problem to learn, pick an arbitrary problem to solve. – Patricia Shanahan Feb 8 '17 at 9:38
  • @PatriciaShanahan Thats exactly what a paragraph of my answer says. If you find reading documentation dull and unhelpful, do something with it and make a program using that framework. Thats what I did when I was first learning my company's main application - I wrote a program to order pizza more effectively for the monthly pizza lunch. – Magisch Feb 8 '17 at 9:40

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