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I'm an IT contractor working for a company through a contracting agency. I have recently moved to a new position (I've been here a month), and one of the things I'm noticing at the moment is that there's not really much for me to do. All the projects that involve me are currently on hold or are still in the development phase (I'm a QA). I have made it clear that I am idling, and my team manager has said yes, it's going to be a slow couple of days.
I understand that companies have busy and slow periods, and that this could just be a slow period, but I really don't know what to do with myself. I thought about up-skilling, learning stuff like VBA or a coding language like Ruby, but most of those learning websites are blocked by the company's security filter so there's only a limited amount that I can do. Every day for the past 2 weeks I've found myself surreptitiously browsing BBC news and stack exchange, and trying to look busy for the entire day.
This might sound great, but I'm getting extremely bored, and I don't want to look like I'm slacking by being on my phone too much, or mucking about on the internet (I'm sure they have usage trackers, my old company did!).
What should I do in this situation? Should I speak to higher ups and badger them for more work, or should I just accept that we're in a slow period and enjoy the downtime?
Thanks for reading this, any advice is appreciated :)