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#1 cdosrun01   User is offline

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Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:42 AM

Hello.


I'm posting this right now because I feel like I should quit my job, but I don't think its a good idea.
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Background: I'm a 21 year old college student majoring in CS. Thus far I've had 1 coding intensive internship at a startup, but that program ended and the startup went under. Then, I got a job as a blog writer for a while, although it was interesting, it wasn't programming and I stopped doing it. Then I got a job as a tech support agent, and this was the most aggravating job out of the three because I was paid to literally do nothing.

Everyday, for about 3 months, I walked in and checked the emails and manned the phones. Phone calls were ok, but they didn't happen every day and sometimes they wouldn't happen at all. Our team worked via a ticketing system where we would complete jobs on the system and the online board. This all seemed fine, until I realized that I couldn't do anything because:

1) Literally every little thing had some protocol to it and the protocol wasn't always recorded
2) I couldn't ask anyone because my supervisor took time off and I was usually the only one working in my dept during my shifts.

Whenever I did work with others in my dept, like 1 or 2 days out of the week, I was constantly told that I was not to contribute since I was new. At first I understood this, because it was true; but the more I tried to learn and get experience, the more I was told not to do anything. It was very aggravating.

This continued for 2 months, until I just said F** it and started doing some coding projects while sitting at my desk. This upset my boss who asked me if I still wanted to work there. When I responded with, "I can't do anything because you won't let me and to be honest, I'm not sure why you hired me.", he would get blue in the face and tell me that there are always things to do, I just need to look. After this, they allowed me to do more things, but I was still left with nothing for most of the day. And the "Don't worry, you shouldn't do X or Y", continued.

Eventually I quit because I just couldn't take it anymore.
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Fast forward to last month, where I finally decided to get another job before my internship next month, but this job is the exact same thing. The only difference is, there aren't any phones and my bosses told me on the first day, "you can go on facebook or whatever when there is nothing to do, we don't care."

As much as I love getting paid for doing absolutely nothing, I didn't know the tech industry had jobs like this. Like, I"m paid nearly $20/hr to sit at a computer for 8 hours and go home. That's it. I do some paperwork in the morning, and from time to time I fix a computer that has the BSoD or something simple like that.

Is this normal? Is this what most tech support/non programming tech jobs are like?

TL;DR: Getting paid to do nothing is annoying; is this what its like working in the tech industry, when you're job isn't programming?

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Replies To: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

#2 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:43 AM

Read a book & expand your skill set. You have the chance to get paid to educate yourself, & you are ready to walk away.

** Topic moved to corner cubicle **
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#3 cdosrun01   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:45 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 07 August 2015 - 11:43 AM, said:

Read a book & expand your skill set. You have the chance to get paid to educate yourself, & you are ready to walk away.

** Topic moved to corner cubicle **


Not that, that isn't a bad thing; but isn't getting paid for not working unethical?
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#4 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:46 AM

You get paid $20/hour and have an internship in a month. And you're a college student. I second no2pencil's sentiments. I've had three or four projects up in the air this summer outside of my full time internship. By a textbook and work through it. Learn a new language or API. Build something. Take advantage of the time you have.

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but isn't getting paid for not working unethical?

There is downtime at every job. Obviously do what you can where you are. But when there is downtime, it's not unethical to do a side project especially given that your boss said it's fine to hop on Facebook.
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#5 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:48 AM

View Postcdosrun01, on 07 August 2015 - 02:45 PM, said:

but isn't getting paid for not working unethical?

Are you doing the work they are paying you to do?
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#6 cdosrun01   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:56 AM

When they call upon me, I always do what they want in an efficient and timely manner; but they don't usually ask me to do anything aside from doing some paperwork in the morning.

So, I guess.. yeah, but it just isn't what I thought working would be like.
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#7 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:06 PM

Quote

I responded with, "I can't do anything because you won't let me and to be honest, I'm not sure why you hired me.", he would get blue in the face and tell me that there are always things to do, I just need to look.


Posted Image
The Etiquette Advantage in Business by Peter Post


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my bosses told me on the first day, "you can go on facebook or whatever when there is nothing to do, we don't care."


You were given carte blanche to dive into, and self educate, on anything you wanted.. while getting paid.. and as long as the errant BSOD was priority when it hit.. and you what? Didn't take advantage of the time? Wowzers. Is it a motivational thing, a 'self education phobia', or still strong codependent issues regarding needing a teacher there to dole out tests?

For Peter's sake you are a sophomore in college. At the very least you can eyeball classes you'll be taking next year and start reading up on them. Write some apps, dink with some programs, expand the brain, and expand the skills. Bemoaning how you are getting paid to sit at a desk and dramatically sigh about how annoying of a situation is flat out ridiculous. I am not sure where you live, but in the States there was this concept of 'rugged individualism'. Dig out the boot straps and pull yourself up. Any individual can better themselves and not just shuffle around and what - expect the situation to get better?

If you don't like the free time I am certain my local fast food joints are hiring.. granted for a bit less money but you certainly won't be lazing away getting paid to be on call for tech support.

Posted Image


Quote

TL;DR: Getting paid to do nothing is annoying;

Cliff Notes: free time and self improvement - and how you are doing it wrong.
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#8 NeoTifa   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:13 PM

Have you asked around for tasks?
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#9 cdosrun01   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:29 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 07 August 2015 - 12:06 PM, said:

You were given carte blanche to dive into, and self educate, on anything you wanted.. while getting paid.. and as long as the errant BSOD was priority when it hit.. and you what? Didn't take advantage of the time? Wowzers. Is it a motivational thing, a 'self education phobia', or still strong codependent issues regarding needing a teacher there to dole out tests?


I still have the job. I quit the first one like that because I was getting chastised for not doing work, while being told that I shouldn't be doing anything and being stopped if I tried. Essentially they were complaining that I wasn't running fast enough while shooting me in the foot.

The job I have now is a lot more lax about it, and I thought about quitting because I feel like I'm being paid too much for the little service I provide, but I figured I wasn't thinking about it the right way. I'll use the time to study for the coming semester and to work on a portfolio, but it just seems realllllyy wrong to use the company's time like this; but I guess that's looking at it the wrong way.

Thanks for the advice everyone! :)/>
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#10 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:41 PM

I agree that this is frustrating, and it's a terrible way to run an internship. I would never consider bringing in an intern to just sit around.
On the one hand, if you're doing everything you're asked to do, and you can find a way to develop your skills, that's not too bad. However, it would be better if your manager could find you something mission-related to work on. When you get to your next interview, you might get someone like me who's going to ask you "what did you do at this internship", and the best answer would be something like "I made things better for the people at the company by doing X, Y, Z." If you tell me you made use of the time to become better as a programmer, that shows a little initiative, but it also means your internship was kind of a waste, since it didn't really have you delivering a lot of value for the company.
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#11 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:44 PM

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because I was getting chastised for not doing work, while being told that I shouldn't be doing anything and being stopped if I tried.

This makes no sense. There seemed to be work for you, but you didn't want to make the most of finding (and even possibly recording) the protocols. If the problem is lack of written protocols then there is.. literally.. a problem for you fix, but ya quit. So I guess that's that.

Posted Image


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and I thought about quitting because I feel like I'm being paid too much for the little service I provide

If you don't want to take up my local fast food jobs the armed forces might help put some pluck into your effort vs pay concern.

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but it just seems realllllyy wrong to use the company's time like this;

Assuming you were not paraphrasing about your current boss telling you to surf face book then what's the issue?
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#12 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:46 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 07 August 2015 - 02:44 PM, said:

Assuming you were not paraphrasing about your current boss telling you to surf face book then what's the issue?


I think a sense of work ethic is a feature, not a bug. That being said, when I was working stage crews, we'd have down time, and in down time you were pretty much at liberty, as long as you were available if something heavy was suddenly in the wrong place. Sounds like your current gig is similar.
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#13 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 12:49 PM

Right.. been in jobs before that down time happened and as long as you were looking busy, and available to do work as it happened, do what you want. I've never been through a place that would stop you from, at bare minimum, read a book when on down time.
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#14 NeoTifa   User is offline

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Re: Getting Paid To Do Nothing

Posted 07 August 2015 - 01:29 PM

Oh I got a stern talking to for books. If you're at your desk, you better be working.
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