Guilty! Being Paid for Doing Nothing

Even in this economic climate, a surprising number of people seem to have too little work.

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For all that the media tends to talk about employees being stretched thin and overworked in an economic slowdown, when payrolls get lean and workloads double, there are still plenty of people who don't have enough to do.

Take for example, the discussion underway over at Yahoo's Shine site.

Margie H launched the issue. She writes:

OK, this is crazy! I hope no one finds me but I had to blog about this cause I sit here in a large corporate company and do nothing almost 95% of my day!

I will ask my bosses and coworkers for something to do and I get one or two items. I'm done and that's it! I'm sure there are folks out there who do five times more than me and get less than me. It's seriously very sad!

Well, Margie, we found you, and it turns out that you're not alone.

Says one commenter: "Me too, and I really do feel guilty about it! I am more than willing to help with anything, but my bosses are so busy, they can't seem to find time to delegate the work!"

Another writes: "ME TOO ME TOO! Doesn't it suck to feel guilty about getting paid to do nothing. I like read books but then I worry that I will be frowned upon for doing that, but hey...they haven't given me anything to do, right?! I am starting an eCommerce business, so I usually spend all day doing that."

A popular book in Europe coined a term for this phenomenon. It's called "boreout." You can read more about it here. In the meantime, if you fall into this category, try asking for more work. If you don't get it, start finding projects for yourself and letting your boss know that you'll be working on them. Next, sit down with your boss and get really clear about what his or her expectations are for you. If the expectations are low—and totally in line with the amount of work the boss is giving you—then you'll have to show that you want more, or find a new place to shine.


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