I work for a large tech company on an engineering team. This particular team is one of five responsible for building a product. Our particular responsibility is the lowest priority feature set of the product.
The dev lead on this project is approaching retirement and pretty obviously isn't invested in the success of this asset, nor the success of his peers.
Both he and the "manager" of the team - the person who's responsible for gathering requirements - have a very lackadaisical demeanor about their roles on this project. This means the two people who should be providing guidance to the rest of the team are not doing so, leaving us to "guess" and fend for ourselves, inventing requirements to have something to show for the months we've been on this project.
Several engineers have left the team via internal transfers as a result of this.
I, however, see it as an opportunity to focus on the technical areas that I'm passionate about: front-end development, WebRTC, Azure, AWS, etc. These areas have zero overlap with the project I'm working on, but they're interesting to me and I think they make me more valuable to the company than some half-assed contributions to an unimportant feature led by folks who seem to have checked out.
I've done my CYA due-diligence - lots of emails requesting meetings, requirements, with clearly nonexistent or noncommittal responses.
What I'm wondering is - is it unethical of me to not escalate further and just use this time for my personal gain (as both an employee and wantrepreneur)? Because at the end of the day, version control tracks history and my name barely shows up under commits. Part of me wants to take the calculated risk of not escalating for the reward of focused technical development doing exactly what I want (never happens), while the other part knows that seeing company resources misused and folks clearly not doing their jobs automatically puts me in a position of responsibility that I should act upon with professionalism - tactful escalation with supporting evidence. But then I'd likely be pulled onto stressful work, given more responsibility, or fired for some BS political reasons due to the fact that I'm nonconforming at best or combative at worst.
I have a fairly high risk tolerance - mortgage paid off, no debts, plenty savings. I'm honestly at a point where being forced to coast is A-OK with me, but my biggest fear is a legal one - using company time and resources to develop skills of my choosing.