I am in an IT graduate program in Western Europe for a big company where I am supposed to rotate only once a year. I am working there for four months but stuck in a rotation with nearly no work for two months.

The IT project I am working on, called Project A, is being replaced by another one, called Project B; the official announcement has been made two months after I started here. Therefore, there is nearly no work to do in my team, most of my team has been either transferred to Project B or fired. For two months, I am only busy around 10% of the time because nearly all the tasks have been cancelled and we don't have the budget to create new subprojects.

I have been approached by a manager of Project B who would like to pull me into his team, which seems very interesting. However, my manager of Project A refuses this internal transfer because he believes that in the future he will be able to restart the project in another division of our company. Therefore, in the meantime, I am supposed to wait and nearly do nothing instead of joining a new exciting project. HR have been contacted, but they are not motivated to act because my manager told them that Project A is going to be restarted, even though no progress have been made in the past two months and there is no evidence of a possible restart.

How can I get out of this situation? I feel that my manager refuses to transfer me for political reason and HR refuses to go over the head of my manager because I might have a lot of responsibilities if the project restart.

Last update is that HR asks me to schedule a meeting with them and my manager, but I don't know how to approach this meeting without being too rude in front of my manager and HR. If I run this meeting and the transfer fails, the remaining 8 months will be long.

  • Your company says they have no budget for projects, so they let the people who could do the projects sit around doing nothing? That means they are wasting the money either way. Well, that's the kind of corporate logic you get when you read too many books about controlling and forget that internal billing only makes sense as long as it results in 100% internal employment. – Philipp Apr 30 '17 at 13:11
  • Present your situation calmly, then suggest to be "borrowed" to another project as long as A isn't restarted. Set a deadline, if nothing happened until then, leave. – michi Apr 30 '17 at 13:35
  • Think positive: you are in an ideal situation here. Your only bad move was rocking the boat by trying to get an internal transfer. If you hadn't done that, you could have spent 90% of your "working" time educating yourself on whatever new technology you think will be the most benefit your career (with another company, of course) while getting paid for doing it. What's not to like about that? – alephzero May 2 '17 at 2:03
  • Can the manager of Project A block your transfer like that? Surely there's someone higher up whose remit it is to decide where people should be allocated. – Jonathon Cowley-Thom May 3 '17 at 12:53

Currently they are paying for you for sitting around, which isn't in anyone's interest. (even if you are on an unpaid position, they are still paying for you. Keeping employees around creates more costs than just their salary)

When nobody in your meeting with your boss and HR makes a better proposal, you might propose a temporal side-assignment. You are officially still subordinate of your manager, but you work on project B (or some other project) anytime your manager has nothing for you to do. When your manager has something for you to do, that would take priority.

Note that your manager wants Project B to fail. That means this arrangement encourages them to find lots of busywork for you so you can't contribute much to Project B. But anyway, you have something to do now. And no matter how that self-destructive rivalry between Project A and Project B ends, you were on both projects, so either outcome will benefit your career.


Go over your manager's head. As part of a graduate program the company has certain obligations they are breaking.

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