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New Job Conundrum
Old 04-05-2014, 11:37 AM   #1
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New Job Conundrum

I've recently started a new job, and I'm starting to second-guess my move. I wanted to see if the group here had any thoughts on this situation.

Note: Staying at my old job was not an option, as the company is moving, and I did not want to move with it.

Pros:
Salary - Base salary is basically a wash, but the new company is doing very, very well financially. Barring anything unforeseen, I can expect 10-15% bonuses yearly, which I didn't receive at my previous job.

Commute - I'm saving 50-60 minutes of commute time every day, because this new job is less than 2 miles from my home.

Co-workers - Everyone on my team is nice, and my new boss seems very reasonable.

Cons:
Boring - I've been there 3 weeks, and haven't even come close to writing a line of code yet. There doesn't seem to be any urgency to get me ramped up and productive. My boss is in meetings all day, and doesn't respond to email when I request assistance/guidance. She'll tell me that she's going to send me something that I can start reviewing, but I won't get it 4 or 5 days. I struggle to fill 8 hours a day, and find myself watching the clock all day long.

I worked hard to get into this company, because the commute is so short, and the company is doing well. Now I'm concerned that I might die of boredom before I reach FIRE. Has anyone found themselves in a similar situation? What did you do?
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:52 AM   #2
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The work will come and you will get assimilated soon enough. The key is to try to help where you can and network as much as possible. Yes the days go slow, but over time, little tid bits of work will fill partial days. Once people know your abilities, you will be the go to person. Until then keep your mind busy with ER planning. I've had jobs where it took at least 6 months to get absorbed into network.
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:54 AM   #3
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Present ideas? I don't know your line of work but they could include, cost savings ideas, new business ideas, etc. And, how about friendly e mails mid day asking, "can I do anything to relieve your work load?" Stay positive, smile and think about your short commute and future bonuses. One of my 1st jobs years, ago, was similar and I was almost fired because I left early (5pm instead of 5:30) because I just didn't have anything to do........so, I got creative, won a sales contest and got promoted.......lucky I thought of something.

I do understand the frustration of boredom because of lack of work.....Oh, one other idea......internet courses to improve skills that will help you in your job? Now, realize YOU are the best source of ideas because you are there every day......so all any of us can do is suggest.....you have to implement. Good luck......many would envy you because of all the advantages you outline in your post......not me, my years of wanting to work hard are over......I've already done it for many, many years.!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProspectiveBum View Post
I worked hard to get into this company, because the commute is so short, and the company is doing well. Now I'm concerned that I might die of boredom before I reach FIRE. Has anyone found themselves in a similar situation? What did you do?
After the first two startups I worked at in Silicon Valley failed, I took a job as a contractor/consultant for a few months while I figured out what I wanted to do longer-term.

The company I contracted at was similar to what you described - they were always delaying things, wouldn't move forward, etc. I was responsible for setting up a lab to do some testing, and all the Purchase Orders for getting the equipment kept getting delayed for weeks, leaving me with nothing to work on.

I'd sit there surfing the web trying to find something to do, so I know what you mean by boredom.

Mine had a quirk, though...because I was a contractor, I got paid by the hour, and I specifically wrote into my contract that 40 hours (at a minimum) would get billed each week, regardless of work load.

So after a couple weeks of boredom surfing the web while I waiting on them to move forward, I started going in for only a couple hours a day to see if there was anything for me to work on, and if not, I'd leave.

That doesn't help your situation, as a salaried person wouldn't be able to do that.

I would suggest cornering your boss and having a heart-to-heart and let them know you're itching to move forward and work on something, but you need their input.

It's interesting to me the company is doing so well with that kind of attitude. Do you think that extreme "hands off" mentality is company-wide, or is that just your boss?
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProspectiveBum View Post
I've recently started a new job, and I'm starting to second-guess my move. I wanted to see if the group here had any thoughts on this situation.

Cons:
Boring - I've been there 3 weeks, and haven't even come close to writing a line of code yet. There doesn't seem to be any urgency to get me ramped up and productive. My boss is in meetings all day, and doesn't respond to email when I request assistance/guidance. What did you do?
Ask fellow workers in your department about the source libraries. Submit any security forms you need for access. Review source code for standards, common routines, and in general how system/applications are designed at your new place. Build your private folders.

Pick an application your department does the dev/maint and begin to become the expert.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:29 PM   #6
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You're a developer, dig in, what's the application do? What's the business funtion? Do you have access to check code out, build it, create a sandbox environment to play in?

Do you know their methodology? What about qc, what are the qc folks expectations of done? Watch qc, great way to learn the app and sometimes the business.

What about the support aspect? Some product support areas are great centers of knowledge. They might tell you 20 issues about the application, that are laying in a backlog. Might not be considered proper to fix them, depending on the culture. It does show you're interested.

I always looked for developers that picked things apart, jumped in with both feet. Even if they didn't know, they quickly become part of the team.

Your new job has promise, don't bail. Jump into the pool from the deep end. Best wishes.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback, all. Lots of good suggestions so far. I was brought in to build something new, in a technology that most of my team has no expertise in. My charter is to implement a new framework, and train the rest of my group on it so that we can transition lots of legacy code (which they're currently maintaining) into the new framework. I don't know the legacy languages, and they aren't particularly marketable/relevant to most employers, but I think I'll start learning them anyway. It'll give me something to do, and it'll help when it's time to train everyone, because I'll be able to draw analogies between what they've been doing and the new language. I'll also be able to jump in and do maintenance and help out with fire-fighting as needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneAspen View Post
It's interesting to me the company is doing so well with that kind of attitude. Do you think that extreme "hands off" mentality is company-wide, or is that just your boss?
It's difficult to say, but I think that it's a company-wide phenomenon. This place is very old-school/government-like compared to companies I've worked at previously. Most of the people working here have been here for a long time, and there seems to be a lot of bureaucracy (e.g. can't start any software projects without multiple architectural reviews of the software design spanning months). It's kind of the opposite of my last job, where we barely had time to do any design (also not good, but less boring).

They told me it would be slow during the interview process, I just didn't realize that it would be slooooooooooooow. Still, I think I'll tough it out, and do what I need to to get productive and better integrated into my group.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:17 PM   #8
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I think you need to change your online name to "Prospective Hard Worker" as the "Bum" part doesn't sound applicable to me. It is interesting on how we are all different. If I had a boring nothing to do job, I definitely would have milked it a few more years instead of retiring. Good luck in getting things going your way in this new job.


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Old 04-05-2014, 03:34 PM   #9
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My charter is to implement a new framework, and train the rest of my group on it so that we can transition lots of legacy code (which they're currently maintaining) into the new framework.
I so do not understand your complaint. You have a job to do that's large and rather open ended. They are leaving you alone (perhaps more than you expected) and you can get a good start on whatever background and design tasks you want to get your project going. Do it. Much better to do something that might be useful instead of doing nothing because you have not been given specific instructions for what to do.
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:49 PM   #10
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IDo it. Much better to do something that might be useful instead of doing nothing because you have not been given specific instructions for what to do.

I agree. I remember a book piece written by Herbie Hancock, talking about playing with Miles Davis (two jazz guys). Hancock was stuck and Davis' advice was "don't play the butter notes", which means don't do or expect what everyone else does. Find a way to stretch and grow
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:13 AM   #11
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I think you need to change your online name to "Prospective Hard Worker" as the "Bum" part doesn't sound applicable to me. It is interesting on how we are all different. If I had a boring nothing to do job, I definitely would have milked it a few more years instead of retiring. Good luck in getting things going your way in this new job.
Thanks. I'm definitely NOT the hardest worker I know, and would retire today if I had the funds to do so. Still, if I had to choose between being a bit too busy, and being bored, I'll take busy any day.

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I so do not understand your complaint. You have a job to do that's large and rather open ended. They are leaving you alone (perhaps more than you expected) and you can get a good start on whatever background and design tasks you want to get your project going. Do it. Much better to do something that might be useful instead of doing nothing because you have not been given specific instructions for what to do.
I can understand the confusion based on what I've said so far, but unfortunately this isn't really the scenario. There IS a design that's been completed by someone else. Actually getting my hands on this design has been challenging, to say the least. Lots of roadblocks & delays. As I said, I was told that things at this company move slowly, but I wasn't prepared for it to be this slow.

While I'm waiting for the resources on this project to be made available, I'll start ramping up on the legacy stuff, which I think does fall into your last suggestion about doing something useful. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:34 AM   #12
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You have been placed in a situation where you are being given no direction. If this is a forward thinking organization, this means that they expect you to begin problem solving and working towards a strategic goal. Perhaps they underestimate your need for a specific task to do. Either way, they will be disappointed if you continue to tread water and your performance report will be poor. I think you need to show some initiative here. So come up with a plan to execute what they hired you for and present it to your boss for approval and access to the resources that you need. Then get busy implementing it.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:12 AM   #13
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.....I was brought in to build something new, in a technology that most of my team has no expertise in. My charter is to implement a new framework, and train the rest of my group on it so that we can transition lots of legacy code (which they're currently maintaining) into the new framework. ....
Have you started to develop training materials that you will use to train your colleagues in the new technology? That, as well a perhaps scheduling an initial overview session might be a place to start. It sounds like the culture of your new employer is such that you will need to take the initiative. propose something to the boss that aligns with your mission/purpose for being there as you understand it. Worst case, the boss will point you in a slightly different direction.

BTW, I have found that the first year in a new job is the most difficult year as you get acclimated to the new employer's culture and method of operating.
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