Bored at work...need some perspective

My boss hired me June of 2018 to be his assistant and eventually, with training, do the same thing he does. Pays me well, etc. problem is, there is very little to do. Occasionally we will get busy, but that’s only several weeks out of the year.

So I surf the web and waste my time doing things not related to work. And the thing getting me tangled is that I can tell that he wants me to keep myself busy, but sometimes I don’t know with what. I ask, he will give me a task and once I complete it he sits on his hands for weeks or months.

He enrolled me in an education program which I can now work on a few hours everyday, but I still find myself distracted and surfing the web a lot to fill up the time.

I need some perspective on where my responsibility is with “finding things to do” or should I just not feel bad when I have nothing to do and that’s it? Working from home during the pandemic has made things even worse.

I’m anticipation of the question: yes, I have asked for things to do and/or if I could help with anything. Hasn’t changed much.

Essentially I feel guilty and convicted for not working…but then there is not much work to do!

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Well, you always have the option to find a new job…

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I would have a conversation with him and make sure he realizes that you don’t have anything to do much of the time, and perhaps ask him what is his vision for your position is and what his expectations are. Makes no sense that someone would pay an employee to sit around, but perhaps he is paying you to be available when he does need you. He may also elaborate on how exactly he expects you to keep yourself busy, and perhaps give you more authority and responsibility to come up with your own projects that you believe would benefit the business. That depends on what you do.

After that, don’t feel guilty for surfing the net. It’s not a moral issue. But if you get tired of it, you could look for another job.


If you feel bored, look for another job to challenge you more and where you can learn new skills. But don’t resign from this one until you have found another. And so long as you are surfing the web, maybe you can do a job search instead of just surfing.

If you do plan on leaving, I would like the name and contact number of your boss and the location of your job! LOL


Sharpen your skills with some common software (e.g. ms excel). There’s plenty of resources online. That probably wouldn’t be wasting company time.
And appreciate this period of low stress. As your career progresses it may become a fond and distant memory.


Is there anything to do to make the place you work for or the work that is done there better?

I have had several jobs with slow periods but I have never found a workplace that didn’t have room for significant improvements in efficiency, design or fiscal responsibility.

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With all due respect, while a global pandemic is going on that has led to historic job losses, I would NOT counsel anyone to tell their boss they have nothing to do much of the time - not unless they want to be laid off immediately thereafter.

So, if OP wants perspective: You have a job, period, which pays well, and is not at all onerous, in a time of global job losses of historic proportions. Thank God!

Having been both an employee and an employer, what will usually get a person fulfillment/ advancement at work? 3 things:
–Willingness to learn new skills; and
–A good attitude, including volunteering for more; and
–Willingness to be versatile and try new things.

Try to do all of those things, and your situation will likely improve.


Ask if you can work part time and look for another job. Or take online classes and work on it at work in your downtime.

Honestly, a lot of people would be envious of having free time at work, with a boss that doesn’t mind you not actually working,

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Can you work on finding new clients for the business?


I worked a job a lot like yours and spent the down time reading either books or webpages that benefited me professionally. This was before Youtube really took off. These days there are a number of videos and webinars are at your fingertips. Then you’re at least using the company payroll doing something relevant and adding some bullet points to your own resume.

If your profession is so tedious that there’s little new to learn, spend your evenings doing the learning so that when the economy looks up again, you’ll have more training to find a new job.

For this to work, you do need to stay disciplined while on the job and avoid those dopamine fixes of social media and (ahem!) CAF.


I once worked a temp job for the state. On my first day, I sheepishly tucked a book I was reading into my purse. My supervisor said, “No. Pull that out. Trust me. You’re going to need it!”

It turns out he wasn’t kidding! :rofl:

Your tax money in action. :+1:


Agree that sharpening your skills is important.

Learn HTML or Python, get a free Canva account and sharpen your design skills, heck, clean out the file room, etc.

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It is difficult to offer sound advice without access to your contract of employment. When a company has little, or no, work for an employee it can do one of three things: Make the person redundant; place the person on short time working; or lay the person off without pay (the last two subject to contract, or mutual agreement) This is UK Employment Law. It might be different for you.

It can, of course, permit the employee to loaf around, on full pay, for all or part of the day. This is no good, either for the company or the employee. I wonder why your boss is allowing this to happen. Have the two of you discussed matters? Have you offered solutions? Would you consider flexible working; part-time working; another role in the organisation - assuming there is one? For sure, this problem - and it certainly is a problem - is not going to be resolved here, on this Forum; only there, in your organisation. I wish you well.

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