Friday, October 07, 2016

A Distinct Lack of Busyness

One of the things I am grappling with in my “new” (already two months – hard to believe) job is that in some very odd ironic ways there is not a lot of work that I can do.

This seems to stem from two sources. The first one is that, simply put, I am a bit useless. I have no sense of history or ongoing projects. I have limited knowledge of a great many things – I am the character dropped in mid-story who can only act out of the past knowledge they have accumulated from previous similar situations and whatever they learn going forward.

It makes one useful in very limited ways: I can see gaps that are existing but not necessarily plug them with practical solutions, I can do a limited number of tasks which really are taking something off of somebody else's plate.

The second – to my surprise – is the lack of meetings that I now have.

I do not know that I can fully estimate the amount of meetings I have before, but I think a reasonable guess would be ten to twelve hours a week. Not producing, but stuck in meetings. Add to that three to four hours of meeting prep and almost half of a given week was spent sitting around conference tables looking at projected screens.

Now – maybe – I have an hour a week of actual meetings. More time to do actual work – but see item one above.

It is frustrating.

I want to contribute. I want to actually do things that are productive and improve things – but I find myself handicapped, waiting on others for next steps or scrambling to find ways to plug the gaps of empty time myself. Unfortunately I think I have almost grabbed at ever low hanging fruit I can find.

I read – a lot of industry material. I try to pre-position tasks I know that are coming up. I review past history documents.

And I wait.

This will pass, of course – it always does. At some point I will be looking back on this time with extreme envy, longing for the days I could review literature or think through problems.

Until then though, I simply have to fight the empties and lack of purpose and be as valuable as I can be.


  1. I was in the military for 21 years. I transferred every 3-4 years. Every job was different from the previous one. Several times, I "transferred" between jobs within one transfer! I know EXACTLY what you're dealing with. Don't try to be what you ain't. Do what you can as best you can, and be willing to apprentice. Humility goes a long way!

    1. I am sure it will pass Pete. Trying to find other wholes to plug in the meantime.

  2. I doubt that your new employer expected you to be an expert on All Things Pertinent upon arrival. The only question is "How long does it take to ramp up?"

    I suspect you'll do - and be - fine.

    1. I think you are right, Reverend. I just hate feeling useless, especially when I am being paid.

      Thanks for the kind thought!


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