Is my start to new job normal? Paid to do nothing

Hello,

I started a new job as a first year analyst at a small investment firm out on the west coast. During my first few days, I learned there is no formal training program here and it is basically learn as you go where I would be pulled into various projects to help out. However, I am now 4 weeks in and have not been busy at all or pulled into any serious projects. In more detail, I work 10 hour days and only have about 1 hour of actual work. The rest of my day is sitting on my computer doing nothing productive. I'm not being lazy - as I go DAILY to my superiors/co-workers and ask them to give me something to learn or work on in which I get the same basic response that they'll start getting me involved soon and it takes time. But its been 4 full weeks now! I know it may sound nice but I have never experienced this severity of boredom before.

Any advice? Should I just grind it out a little longer? It's a good name/experience to put on my resume but I really can't stand it anymore. I feel like I'm wasting my life away.

 

I don't have a lot of information on your firm or details that would enable me to provide better guidance, but I'll try.

Look at your company. Analyze its various parts and see how each team member operates to achieve their objectives. This will be important because ultimately you will want to be the person helping them to achieve their objectives.

The difficult part about this, is that sometimes new hires are taken on and the team is too busy to train the new hire. In this case, being a self starter is highly important. You have to become comfortable with fragmenting your time between team members in order not to be a burden or annoying, but taking the time to learn the skills needed to be a contributing part of the team. I have been in several situations like this in low levels and management. Be available and don't get in their hair.

Be sure to take notes, don't let your team members repeat themself. Its a real pain in the ass when a new person is bugging you about something and you explain it to them, and they forget it. This team member is not going to want to teach you again. Maybe they have to in some situations, but with a lack of structure in training such as your company, this is something to look out for.

So be proactive, make rounds, see if anyone needs anything, get them coffee, copies, reformatting on documents, touching up excel files, data entry, anything to get you going and interacting with the team. I don't mean to belittle your role, but sometimes acting in humility to help out with mundane tasks lets your managers know that you are willing to do what it takes no matter what. It is a sign that you are taking initiative and taking the first step, rather than sitting at your cube knowing that because you haven't been given any responsibility, that you have no responsibility.

I really despise situations like this and feel your pain. I am for a somewhat regimented training pipeline and reception into a company, but sometimes due to the size of the company, budget and labor constraints, a sink or swim self-starter approach is the result of these factors.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 
Isaiah_53_5:
I don't have a lot of information on your firm or details that would enable me to provide better guidance, but I'll try.

Look at your company. Analyze its various parts and see how each team member operates to achieve their objectives. This will be important because ultimately you will want to be the person helping them to achieve their objectives.

The difficult part about this, is that sometimes new hires are taken on and the team is too busy to train the new hire. In this case, being a self starter is highly important. You have to become comfortable with fragmenting your time between team members in order not to be a burden or annoying, but taking the time to learn the skills needed to be a contributing part of the team. I have been in several situations like this in low levels and management. Be available and don't get in their hair.

Be sure to take notes, don't let your team members repeat themself. Its a real pain in the ass when a new person is bugging you about something and you explain it to them, and they forget it. This team member is not going to want to teach you again. Maybe they have to in some situations, but with a lack of structure in training such as your company, this is something to look out for.

So be proactive, make rounds, see if anyone needs anything, get them coffee, copies, reformatting on documents, touching up excel files, data entry, anything to get you going and interacting with the team. I don't mean to belittle your role, but sometimes acting in humility to help out with mundane tasks lets your managers know that you are willing to do what it takes no matter what. It is a sign that you are taking initiative and taking the first step, rather than sitting at your cube knowing that because you haven't been given any responsibility, that you have no responsibility.

I really despise situations like this and feel your pain. I am for a somewhat regimented training pipeline and reception into a company, but sometimes due to the size of the company, budget and labor constraints, a sink or swim self-starter approach is the result of these factors.

MIRROR SELFIE, MIRROR SELFIE.. sorry the only thing I can think when reading your posts

 

Perhaps it's a personal flaw of mine, but it often times takes me a few weeks to get my new analysts fully baked into the team with full-time meaningful work. Alot of times we are in high-leverage situations and the team can't always count on passing work to the new guy because it needs to be done correct/accurately the first time. I'd just wait for them to ease you into the team and then i'm sure the work will come. For now, get up to speed on whatever you can, knock out any firm training you may have and continue looking for where you can plug in.

 

Investment firm? Is this a buy-side research role? If so, you are fucking up royally right now by pissing that time away.

I interned at a small asset management shop and the 2nd day in the office, the Vice PM hands me a sheet of paper with all the holdings in our fund. He said to me, "Figure out why we own each of these names". Then hands me a marketing deck and said "here is our investment philosophy".

That was it, I literally spent the entire summer reading 10-ks, earnings transcripts, and building my own models. They rarely ever assigned me anything but after a month or two of grinding, my knowledge had improved immensely and I was able to hold my own. They started letting me sit in on meetings with company management and sell-side guys, attend conferences, and pitch my own ideas. They let me intern during the school year and were going to hire me on upon graduation.

My point here is you have an opportunity. You should be taking initiative and doing your own research, trying to learn your firm's investment strategies/holdings. It is hard for anyone on the team to assign you any projects when you don't even basics about the business model of the companies you are invested in. Show some initiative and they will start including you more.

 

You're building up IB experience at least... focus on the bright side. My situation is different, but I can somehow relate to yours. I started as an intern for a F500 working in investor relations/ Corp Fin last summer and my first 2 weeks were dead boring. Then I introduced myself to the CFO and Dir of Strategy and proposed to do any work they needed to as I wanted to learn as much as possible. At first, the CFO made me put some books together, proofread presentations etc... boring stuff but I did it as well as possible and was reading a ton of research on the industry. A month later I overheard that director in the elevator talking about European competitors so I took a chance and offered to pitch him on 3 potential acquisitions for us overseas... I did my best, he liked it and now I'm full time investor relations/ strategy analyst. I sit in all the meetings with IB MDs pitching us deals and work with the executives on a ton of small projects because they heard I was committed. I passed the CFA lvl 1 last week and taking 2 in June. Now I am thinking about the next steps of my career, any advice welcome but my point is reading up on research, and taking any projects thrown your way will really leave a good impression and allow to build trust with your bosses. Good luck man

 

Ask yourself what drove you to take this job in the first place. What are you positioning yourself for in life? What skills, knowledge, network and authority do you need to get to that point and thrive?

If you think the answer is to be told exactly what to do by somebody rather than think creatively about your own ability to impact and generate your own satisfaction then you will continue to be frustrated by the persistent lack of a ‘guiding hand’ in life.

This attitude typifies that of someone who has grown too used to being told what to do rather than taking a first principles approach to their situation and building their own perspective. You will quickly realise (perhaps when you look at the owners of your business) that there are people in life who make, build & assert and there are people who sit around and wait for someone else to show them the way and give them meaning. Figure out which bucket you fall into.

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