Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




How do you know what to do?

The last several positions I have held have been wierd to say the least.  In each of the positions I was hired as a Programmer/Analyst or Systems/Analyst.  The troubling thing is that I was never "told what to do."  It seems the people at the companies really don't know what they want.  So I'm left with my arms up in the air.  Here's your cubicle.... ok... now what?

It would seem to me that "get's things done" is dependant on good leadership.  After all you have to know what has to be done in order to do it.  You also have to know the business and the general direction the business is headed.

At each place this "direction" is kinda fuzzy.  It seems everyone has "bigger things" to think about.

So my question is, How long does it take to get up to speed on "what to do" or "the business side of things"?  It took me an average of 4 months to catch on to how things "go" at these places and what I was "suppose" to be doing.  Wouldn't it be easier if my supervisor had a clue and just told me, "These are your responsibilities?", at least at the beginning until I had my "place in the business" figured out.

Guy
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

obviously it would have been easier.

i start to get an idea of what is going on at 2 months. Somewhere about 3-4 months then i have a good idea of what is going on.

it just takes time to learn the app, job, personalities, etc.

Patrick
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Be versatile. Do whatever your boss thinks is the most critical task. Never mind the "work-to-rule" mentality. You were hired to get things done, so be smart. Hey, where have I heard that before?

old_timer
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

There's always that awkward first day (or couple of months) that you'll feel like you are not contributing to the business.  That's normal.  Like another poster said, accept change, do what your boss thinks is the most important and you'll be fine.  No one performs up to par on their first days at a new job.  It's not like digging ditches where the work is clear cut.  In fact most work isn't clear cut (even digging ditches.)

Being told what to do is a fallacy.  You have to have the smarts to catch on to what needs to be done. ( Granted this occurs over time and needs to conform to what the boss thinks is the most important).  These people hired you for a reason, use your brain and figure out what it is they want you to be doing.  Obviously they didn't just hire you to sit around?

eaiou
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I also start from the view of 'what to learn' rather than 'what to do.'  I make sure there is nothing specifically wanted of me, and then I plunge myself into learning as much as I can.

Find the specs, the code, delve deep.  If possible I set up a Wiki for myself (used to be a Word document) and start filling it.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

>> Obviously they didn't just hire you to sit around?

Hah! You'd be very surprised...

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home