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should I discuss this with my manager...

By boredom_sets_in ·
I work in IS for a fairly small company. There have been very few projects lately, and I am starting to get bored, very bored. While I still have some support to handle each day, everything else is slow. Should I approach my manager regarding this, and explain to him that I am in fact bored, and am looking for some new interesting work? I am concerned about bringing this up, only because there was recently a large layoff, and I worry that speaking up about my boredom may indicate my expendibility. I feel safe in my job, but in a cost cutting environment, I just can't be sure. I guess I want to have the appearance of being busy, even though I am not. Any advice?

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Pragmatic!

by luyasu In reply to should I discuss this wit ...

I have actually held an IT Manager postion for a year and half as a consultant. I have been in numerous teams. Companies do not always make it easy for IT managers to accomodate, but neither do IT managers often bring this to the attention of seniormanagement. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule.

Depending on the business your compant is in, a continuous trainng programme might be necessary. But it seems that in your case, it is not. You must decide on what grounds to build your career.
You should have some 'feel' of your manager's work attitude. He could see your issues as personal problems or a company's and that something must be done. But many more variables apply.

As a helpful tip depending on the environment, suggest self-pace Internet training and a personal development programme whilst at work. Your manager should take note of your drive and hence assist.

TSP

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Hmmm...

by ghstinshll In reply to should I discuss this wit ...

Rock and a hard place...

There's no answer to what you're going through, thoough the previous reply seems like a way to help weather the boredom. What studying and certifying in things will do for you/them is: (1) put you in a better position totell them later as you leave and they get a consultant to fill in instead of a full tiem employee (2) Lead them in the right direction with their technology needs and help them prepare for the future.

In my experience, the first is more likely to happen. How big is this office/company? Do you have more than 50 users? Is the environment stable? Do you have standardized hardware? Do you have a solid Ghost image of these machines that could be rolled out in case you leave? Is the LAN documented? Is the WAN provider documented? How bout backup procedures and disaster recovery? What is your tape rotation scheme and where do you store them offsite? You have plenty of work ahead of you if you are going to study and eventually leave. The trickto that idea is that if you do have to do all this, there won't be any time for studying... (-:{ You probably need to start a plan of action, start out with the basics (A+, Net+, Server+ - if you have RAID arrays on ur servers), then go for the MCP, MCSA. Once you're don with all of these in about a year or more, then start looking for a new job and refer that you're getting bored. Try to stay as proactive in your environment by reading TR's articles and get ideas about how to stabilize the environment, as well as other sites too. It's so unfortunate we all have to read so much when we hated doing it in school, eh? It's just a good thing that some high-tech people have written books for our minds, that read well and make sense, unlike some white papers I've read over the years.

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Tell him - but not that you're bored

by maxwell edison In reply to should I discuss this wit ...

"Hey boss, do you have a minute? You and I both know that it's been rather slow around here lately, and I think it's a great opportunity to do a little planning for the future. We've been thinking about doing this, that and the other thing (fill in whatever is appropriate), and then there's that other issue of (whatever) that's been discussed as well. You know, I have the time to look into and maybe even do some of those things if you'd like. How do you think these future technology issues could fit into the company's future business plan? I sure would like to be a part of it."

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Of course, an approach like this would have to be tailored to your particular circumstances as well as your areas of expertise - but training yourself could be a part of it as well. For example a new test server with Windows 2003 Server (if it's part of the plan) to get a jump on making it work. And what about writing some documentation, instructional papers, etc. Get creative. Look for things that you think need to be addressed, and offer to do them.

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Right Idea

by Oldefar In reply to Tell him - but not that y ...

Max has the right idea. Part of the value an employee brings is initiative. Rather than feeling bored and asking management to find additional work, it is better to hunt up that work yourself.

Some long term planning is one task - go to the boss with suggestions and see if that doesn't lead to a planning project. How about preventive maintenance processes? Put in place now, they can prevent an overwhelming flood of calls later. Lateral training is good - who backs up you and who do you back up? Get a partner, build a plan, and go to the boss for approval to implement.

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Who's in Control? You or Him?

by jkaras In reply to Right Idea

I get what everybody is saying but dont you think it's the bosses' responsibilty to challenge and build the employee's knowledge? I get the inititive side to a point, but a good boss keeps control through proper monitoring and feedback, failure to do so results in an ineffective manager. The manager is in control of the environment, not the employee. Management isnt all budget and meetings. I also am one of the lucky ones faced with total boredom. Finally I am getting alternate training to get more work, but only because a higher up making things happen.

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Whose problem is it? Yours or his?

by Malcolm R In reply to Who's in Control? You or ...

Perhaps in a perfect environment, a manager will be able to keep his charges 100% utilized and headed in the right direction all of the time. But if that isn't the case, it is better to show the initiative and start solving the problem yourself instead of waiting to be rescued by your manager. Have a problem - solve a problem. Initiative and drive will pay off, no matter what your workload.

Malcolm

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I agree w/ Malcolm

by TomSal In reply to Whose problem is it? Your ...

I agree with Malcolm. Speaking as an IT manager who (like most) started as "just a tech" - I've seen both sides of the coin. Its a shame that the poster above Malcolm's seems to imply that all the responsibility on keeping an employee motivated and utilized is on the manager's plate. Managing has many facets to it, and yes a major one is making sure the proper resources are applied to a problem to create and ultimately deliver an effective solution. However, I firmly believe in the old militaryaxiom (sp?) that a general is only as good as his troops and the troops are only as good as their general.

Effective managers need (and should accept nothing less than) effective employees. The employee needs to be self-motivating and proactive.When the employee feels under-utilized it is her/his duty as a good/effective employee to communicate that to his/her manager. Likewise, if the employee feels that over several weeks/months his/her manager is not doing an adequate job of maximizing his/her potential - this needs to be discussed with the manager.

Communication is good, but EFFECTIVE communication is the real key.

Finally, being a manager - sometimes you get swamped by many duties and responsibilities at once, making it very difficult to monitor your people 100% -- all the time. In truth, in my few years in this position, I've not seen or talked to another manager (ie. at those wonderful management seminars -- lol) that achieves 100% all time over their employees.

That's just the reality of business.

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thank you...

by boredom_sets_in In reply to Tell him - but not that y ...

Thank you for your replies. Maxwell, this is exactly what I have been planning on doing, well so to speak. However, my boss never seems to be around. I have contacted him about some time, which he says he has and will make himself available, howeverdue to the slowdown in the office, my motivation and self-starter attitude are faltering. It's tough to stay focused! Thanks for all your input. I know what I have to do, its doing it that I have to focus on. Thanks!

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How to stay focused

by maxwell edison In reply to thank you...

I think the key (at least one of them) to staying focused is doing something you really enjoy doing, something you really want to do, and/or something that will produce the kinds of rewards that are most appealing to you. If you can meet all three of those, then you've got it made.

Sports is always a good analogy, so if you want to stay focused on and motivated to improve your golf game, for example, and be persistent with the necessary practice, then you have to visualize yourself hitting that 300 yard drive or imagine yourself breaking 80 for the first time. But if that's not your gig, if you play golf only to relax, drink some beers, and have some fun with friends, then the focus to practice and improve is easily lost. (But if that'sthe case, don't expect to be dropping too many birdie putts.)

So the distant goals should be ones that can really grab you - something you can get really enthused about. If it's something you don't really have to do, and it's something you would really prefer not to do, and there's no attractive return to look forward to, then it's time to change the focus onto something else.

How to stay motivated - how to stay focused - how to stay enthused. Now that would be a great discussion, don't you think?

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Expand the contact

by generalist In reply to thank you...

Consider expanding the contact to email if you haven't done so already. The email might include an agenda of what you want to discuss so your boss can prepare in advance.

The email would also establish a paper trail that could be useful in the future.

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