I don’t have enough to do. Should I say anything?

When you are having issues at work that you just can’t quite figure out turn to the Nine to Five column in The Globe and Mail. Today’s column has me advising someone who just doesn’t have all that much to do from day to day.

Nine to Five: Special to The Globe and Mail. Published Sunday March 3, 2013

THE QUESTION

I started a new job late last summer. My six-month probation is almost over and I think I’ve done well; I get along with everyone and the work gets done well. But I’m not convinced there is enough work to sustain the position I’m in. I have nothing to do for at least a couple of hours each day! I have been politely asking for more tasks to fill the time but those are usually one-day filing chores. I’m about to have my review and come off probation. What do I say, if anything?

What do I do? If I am honest and say there is not enough work for all of us in my work team, I risk losing my job, no? Or do I just keep my mouth shut and try to find my own non-obvious projects to keep myself occupied? I really don’t know what to do.job?

THE ANSWER

Colleen Clarke, Corporate trainer and career specialist, Toronto says…

A review is not the place to tell an employer you aren’t busy in your job. If the managers haven’t figured it out, it is not your place to tell them, unless you want to be let go.

If you like where you work then look for projects and tasks that will improve your skills and add to your tool kit.

Scrutinize processes and procedures to see if you can come up with efficiency strategies; build a data base of resources you can call on when equipment fails or glitches occur.

Offer to sit on committees, initiate a fundraiser and volunteer for any task that has you meeting decision makers in other parts of the company.

Work on raising your visibility to promote your professional wonderment — in other words, get out from behind your desk and look for ways to make a difference. Make phone calls instead of sending e-mails when appropriate.

Is it possible to step outside your immediate department to see if you can be of use to a busier work unit?

Probably the last thing you want to do is conduct another job search after only six months, but that is an option. If you aren’t growing and learning then you will eventually suffer “rust out.”

This starts an unpleasant cycle of mistakes, resentment, regret and eventually being let go. Make a real effort for the next six months.

If nothing changes by then, re-evaluate your situation and decide what course of action to take.

Colleen Clarke
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer

Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It
http:///www.colleenclarke.com