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Anyone been in this position - happy at work, but nothing to do?

fiisch Forumite Posts: 499
Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper
Suffering a slightly strange problem at work currently, and not quite sure how to deal with it.  On the face of it, I suspect many would gladly swap into my position, but it's actually left me feeling very displaced, my mood is down, and is starting to impact my life outside of work.  I'm also starting to suffer from what I suspect is some form of imposter syndrome, as I don't feel confident I know how to do the job I'm paid to do.

I first joined the large company I work for 2 years ago as a Business Analyst and it's been a great place to work.  I've been a serial job hopper during my 15-odd year career, but finally I thought I'd found somewhere to settle down and get some longevity on the CV.  When I joined, some recruiters warned me I was slapping on the golden handcuffs, and there is some truth in that as they're a good company that generally look after their staff - industry-leading salaries, paid travel, very flexible work policy meaning I very rarely travel into the office, all of which means it's difficult to look at other jobs without considering a drop in salary.

About 6 months ago, I was promoted into a newly-created role which meant I was no longer doing work for my line manager, yet the reporting line remained unchanged.  I enjoyed a nice pay bump to take me over the six figure mark, and things were looking good.

However, since promotion I've had no work - nothing, nada.  I've spent today doing housework, as I do most days.  I occasionally get an email, maybe have a meeting to attend every other day, but I've not been specifically tasked with any work or given any steer as to what I should be doing.  I am not au fete with exactly what the role description is, and despite speaking to the people who I am supposed to be working with and raising this, I get very vague direction "get your arms around project X", "see if you can make this process more efficient", but as a one man band out on a limb project teams don't really want to engage with me, given they don't have to and it's not in their remit/on their backlog.  I don't have any seniority/line management in my new role, but it feels like there isn't actually a need for this new position, and I'm simply a bum on a seat. 

I'm at a total loss what to do - the terms are good, the working pattern fits around my young children very well, and I like the people, but I am literally spending my days as a house husband and doing a bit of matched betting, which is incredibly unfulfilling.  I don't know whether to give my notice and return to contracting, which was far more demanding but focused, or to ride it out and enjoy the free time, or at least pseudo-free as i'm still tied to the laptop - I feel I need to at least give an impression of being present, and there's a constant fear I'll be found out and asked what the hell I've been doing for the last X weeks and months.

Has anyone been in this situation, and how did you handle it?  I have an upcoming meeting with my line manager (who now works in a different area of the business), and I don't know whether to rock the boat and call this situation out, or let it ride and see what happens over the next couple of months....


  • Saver73
    Saver73 Forumite Posts: 87
    10 Posts Name Dropper
    I had a job role where there wasn't enough work to do. It was uncomfortable, I had low mood and felt quite negative.  I can empathise with how you must be feeling.

    Some people may think it's great being paid for not doing much but in reality it's bad.

    In my situation, there were too many people and not enough work, this didn't change over a period of time, so it was fairly clear cut the best option was to find a new job.

    I think your situation sounds like you need to have a chat with line manager to define the job role and expectation?  Whichever way it turns out would be better than what you currently have?

    I wouldn't give up on it just yet... Definitely worth talking to line manager.
  • Khaderbhai
    Khaderbhai Forumite Posts: 91
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    I can relate a little. I held a role where I didn’t fully believe that role was actually offering any real benefit to the business, so it was a bit of a moral dilemma. Do you take the cash and benefits and stay quiet or make a decision? 

    In the end, I decided that I could never be happy in the role or fulfilled if it wasn’t adding any value and decided to jump ship, I didn’t regret it. 

    It could depend on your life circumstances though. In your position, I would be lapping up the time with the kids and being home whilst getting a salary, but that’s not for everyone.

     I think you have to go with your gut. Hope this helps in some way.
  • breaking_free
    breaking_free Forumite Posts: 726
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 7 July at 12:49PM
    Yep, can relate. I've quit two jobs due to this.

    As with yourself, imposter syndrome set in and I also began to feel demotivated after a while. Even though the pay was pretty good I was just spinning my wheels. In my case though, I didn't have a family to support, so in your shoes I'd think very carefully about givng up a well-paid job. 

    In my current role I'm still underutilised and often ask colleagues if I can help them out (I'd tell you my role but it's quite niche and I don't want to identify myself in case my boss reads this!) Actually, I once tried to move sideways into being a business analyst so that gives you some hint of the type of work I do. 

    So how do I use my free time? I've done a swathe of work-related online courses, all paid for by my company. (I'm currently doing a ChatGPT course and it's raised my already high level of output and I daresay improved it.) I actively seek out tasks, rather than waiting to be asked. If I were a business analyst I'd be looking very closely at my own company's processes to see what could be improved. I'd even go through old documentation, including the website, to see if anything needs revamping. Perhaps there are other staff members you could mentor? Perhaps you could implement or improve the onboarding process for your company?

    Anyway, wishing you the best of luck.
    PS when I used to describe your/my problem to people I got eye rolls and "I'd love to have your problem" type reactions. 

    "The problem with Internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" - Abraham Lincoln, 1864
  • Miser1964
    Miser1964 Forumite Posts: 203
    100 Posts First Anniversary Photogenic Name Dropper
    edited 7 July at 1:03PM
    TBH, I wouldn't let it ride. In fact, I'd expect anyone on £100k plus to be highly proactive to identify an issue and come to the table with considered options.

    All companies go through good and bad times, and your name would be at the top of those to 'let go' when economies need to be found if nobody can see any value being delivered. 

    I'd go into the office regularly, get your face known and chat to people about what's happening in the company, who is working on the 'strategic' projects etc. and angle to get yourself onto a project where you're busy and productive. Most companies have ample works for good BAs!
  • fiisch
    fiisch Forumite Posts: 499
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper
    Thank you - that's helped clarify things in my own mind...

    For clarity, I'm no longer a Business Analyst - I've been promoted from a Business Analyst, so I'm supposedly learning this new role, but with little guidance about what to learn/how to go about it.  I have been proactive, but I work with a lot of hot-air middle-management types...! :smile:
  • Exodi
    Exodi Forumite Posts: 2,478
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited 10 July at 3:49PM
    fiisch said:
    I get very vague direction "get your arms around project X", "see if you can make this process more efficient", but as a one man band out on a limb project teams don't really want to engage with me, given they don't have to and it's not in their remit/on their backlog.
    I think the type of job you described will require you to be much more assertive. The reality is most project teams or individuals will not be warm to the idea of running their ideas past an outsider (who they may see as less knowledgeable on the subject) for unwanted criticism.

    The business I worked for changed owners a number of years ago. Prior to the sale, a business consultant was appointed by the seller to ensure the business was positioned in the best possible light for the sale. As part of this, he would hold regular meetings with the senior managers and directors to get detailed knowledge into the business. He'd then put forward ideas for improvements... needless to say, he faced a frosty reception and a lot of resistance from people who felt they were being told how to do their job by a stranger.

    He would constantly challenge why things were done a specific way - his favourite word seemed to be "why" and his favourite phrases seemed to be "I'm going to challenge that", "let's turn that on it's head" or "don't let the tail wag the dog". Some of the changes he proposed were quite dramatic, let's say.

    Well fast forward a few years having adopted many of the changes, I have to say despite all of us giving him a rough time, in hindsight he was right about most things.

    I know business consultant and business analyst are different roles, but what you describe seems to have a lot of similarities.

    I think it is a thankless task, in which you will have to carefully handle people who you know don't want to engage with you, but that's why the compensation is good.

    As one of the posters above said, I think the key is to be proactive. If you don't engage teams as they don't engage you, inevitably you will have nothing to do.
    Know what you don't
  • JReacher1
    JReacher1 Forumite Posts: 4,626
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper I've been Money Tipped!
    To be a bit frank your company won’t put up with this situation for much longer. At some point you’re going to have to provide evidence of what you have done. It appears you have done nothing and just made excuses. 

    A six figure salary indicates a senior position and you should be far more proactive than you currently are. You’ve been given the guidance of improving processes on a project. You should be documenting the current process and identify inefficiencies that can be improved on. People are resistant to change so you need to bring them with you. If they don’t listen then go above them and seek assistance to help push this change through. 

    As a starting point you should be attending the projects meetings. You mention a backlog so assume it’s agile in which case attend the stand ups, attend the retro’s, attend the sprint planning and refinement sessions. Get yourself known to the project team and start to make a difference. 

    A role with a wide remit like you have sounds like a dream for many people. You can make a success of it or just do nothing until you are dismissed.  
  • eastmidsaver
    eastmidsaver Forumite Posts: 276
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    i've had a couple jobs like this where i did almost nothing.
    most of my days were spent browsing the internet.
    sadly they were not on the salary you are getting,   as they were just temp admin positions.
    will never forget the first day in one of the jobs,   my boss told me something on the lines of  "i;ll be honest with you, most of the time you will just be twiddling your thumbs,   but if we didn't recruit somebody,  then we would not get the budget to do so next year".
    the job was only for 3 months, i was young at the time, and i quite enjoyed it.
    but i do get that for someone in your position,  it can't be fulfilling.
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