How to Approach a Solution?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being unhappy in a new job: Every morning I hate going to work, because I know I’m not contributing to the workplace and I’m just going to be ignored the whole day.

I’m a new fresh-off-college engineer, and this week is actually the end of my 3-month probation. I went through training with a senior engineer on basics for about 2 months during my probation, and finally I’ve joined my designated field unit. Ever since I joined my unit, I have done very few things in which I quickly completed. The thing is I get very little work to do. I literally spend every day reading out of my engineering book.

My problem is that a technician in my unit has been doing engineering work ever since he left last year. So this technician has been doing his work for over half a year. Now I know there is work specifically for me. For example, our supervisor told me to get acquainted with MOCs. 3 MOCs came in last week for our unit. The technician takes them up and does it all himself. Everyone knows I should be doing them, but he doesn’t even utter a word to me about them. I feel like he does this so he can show off to our supervisor. He has stolen all the work I should be doing.

Beyond this, he loves to say, “I said this”, “I did this”, and “I completed this”. They exclude me out of everything–meetings, lunches, talks, and work-talk. I really feel like I’m being ignored. What’s worse is everyone in this unit is the exact opposite of me, including the supervisor, in terms of hobbies, social talk. I know it’s only been 3-months and I am learning by reading my book and looking over the work, but this is all my personal learning.

Every morning I hate going to work, because I know I’m not contributing to the workplace and I’m just going to be ignored the whole day. I don’t want to go to the higher-ups because I don’t want to create a bad atmosphere, and I know knocking a person in my unit will make everyone hate me. They already think I’m weird socially, because they look down on what I do in my own time. Let me know what you think, because I’m seriously depressed, and really want to find a new job.

Signed, Hate To Go To Work

Dear Hate To Go To Work:

Your description doesn’t reveal much about you except that you are fresh out of college, an engineer in a new job, and feeling depressed because you don’t fit in. There is no sure-fire fix for feeling excluded rather than welcome in a new job. However, possibly a clue to coping with lack of assignments and a coworker who takes over can be found in your sentence, “our supervisor told me to get acquainted with MOCs. 3 MOCs came in last week for our unit.”

You say that you didn’t do that because your coworker took that over. And you added a string of actions that you fault him for: “The technician takes them up and does it all himself. Everyone knows I should be doing them, but he doesn’t even utter a word to me about them. I feel like he does this so he can show off to our supervisor. He has stolen all the work I should be doing. Beyond this, he loves to say, “I said this’, “I did this’, and “I completed this’.” So what might you do?

Here are several overlapping suggestions for your consideration: Assert yourself. It is not too late to do what your supervisor said; to get acquainted with the MOCs. How? You introduce yourself and get to know each of their background, interests and share what you have learned about your workplace during your three months. Getting acquainted isn’t a one-time matter. It’s unobtrusively being friendly and making them feel included just the opposite of how you have felt excluded.

Request a meeting with your supervisor. This should be natural since you are now at the end of your probation period. In that meeting you can ask how you are doing. Your supervisor’s answer to that question should evolve to you explaining that you want assignments and have had a problem doing them because your coworker takes over. You can say you don’t want to make an enemy, but you would like to be assigned projects outside your coworker’s area. Also such a session is an opportunity to ask advice as to the steps you should take to be increasingly valuable to the company. Hopefully, you will have some ideas about ways you might use the things you were taught while earning your degree and during the probationary training.

Think team. Ask you supervisor how you might be work as a member of a team; a team that designs a critical path of who does what, when, and how toward a project’s goal. You probably know of PERT, Programmed Evaluation Review Technique, that was used by engineers for the Navy’s development of the Polaris submarine weapon system. Posting and following a plan generates work group cooperation. Rarely are assignments solo work; today’s lean management enlists team work. Look it up on the Internet. Why not talk to your supervisor about this?

Yet another suggestion is that you might renew connection with the senior engineer who trained you. Ask him for career path advice within your company.Finally, hang in there even if you feel that “They already think I’m weird socially, because they look down on what I do in my own time.” You don’t have to go out drinking with the guys and/or gals after work to make an effort to fit in. How they know what you do on your own time is none of their business however different it might be from them. But surely you are not so weird that you don’t put your pants on one leg at a time like they do. Surely you can find a coworker or two to occasionally talk with about non-controversial topics such as the news and weather. Surely you might find time to talk about what is happening within your work area and the company at large.

Think of yourself as a sponge soaking up information that might make you more informed and valuable within or if you should find work elsewhere. Are there not ways to cut wasted time, wasted supplies, wasted energy and duplication? Talk about that. Having a job that has potential in your field is something that many people would pay to have. So hang in there even if it’s miserable for a while and enjoy the fact you have a job. Get a life that you find enriching outside of work. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that’s what you want; working with others that is meaningful and fun. You can in a small way do your part to make that happen.

William Gorden