What to do when you are on bench?

boy-thinking

I see many young developers who work for big companies wondering about their future. Well, they are lucky enough, after graduating they got their first job in a big company. Even greater, they are on bench, waiting for an unlimited “training” time. Isn’t it great when you are doing nothing and people still pay you wages?

Wrong.

As a young adult, what are you lacking? Experience, confidence and trust. What do you have? Strength, Innovation power and peerless enthusiasm.

Let’s do a simple calculation. With your skill, you are able to create a value of $10 per day. So your company will pay you 30 x 10 = $300 per month. Let’s say it’s an ok salary for a new graduate. However, are you still satisfied if that salary level last for 2 years? 5 years? 30 years?

Many people think that their salary level will gain with their seniority. I’m sorry, but the market usually pay less than the value you create.

That means if your skills don’t improve or improve little over time, you will soon in a bad shape in the market. The lifetime of a software developer is generally a lot shorter than normal occupations. The world of information changes much rapidly and radically than the world of , let’s say, finance, retail sales or mechanics. If you don’t utilize your strength now to convert them to experience, chance are, you will never have that chance.

Free time

Did that ring any bell?

But wait, you say, I know this person X and Y and Z, they all do their work, repeatedly year by year, but they still live happily. Of course, the general rule doesn’t apply for everyone, do they?

Yes, instead of improving ourselves, there’s an easier way. We can simply spend more time working. If we can spend more time in office, why not? We go home late. We spend less time with our spouse and children. We “dedicated” our valuable time in a way the company never ask us to, so that we can complain how injustice it is each performance appraisal session. No rat race example can be clearer than that.

So you still plan to waste your time sitting there doing nothing? Even if you did bring the pay check home in the end of the month, is your value increasing? Your abilities improved? Your skills trained?

And now you are asking me that you can do what? Doing what?? Am I listening it wrong? You, the ones who are supposed to be the young and innovative energy of the company, ask me what you can do in your free time to improve yourselves? Stop joking! Doing what you feel best. Identify what is your strength, what is your weakness. Find your path.