Doing nothing at my first job

Hello. i just stumbled on this site. I’ve been a software dev for around 8 months. I have yet to work on a real project. I’ve either done nothing, programming tutorials, or menial documentation type tasks for all this time and I just dont feel good. I feel empty when I come home everyday. Like I have no value or purpose. Unfortunately I am stuck at this job until I have been here for 2 years. Supposedly I have the opportunity to move horizontally at the 1 year point so I have been holding on to that hope. I just want to do something and use my skills. Im worried I won’t be very marketable when I go to get a new job because this one is essentially giving me no development experience. Any suggestions?

Can you expand on this ? What’s preventing you from interviewing for another job ? Contract problem ?

Yeah sorry, I should have been more clear. If I leave I will have to pay back a hefty relocation package. I have had various major expenses come up, and so paying that back is completely out of the question. Every recruiter/company I’ve talked to has essentially just cut contact with me because there is just no way they are going to pay that cost for me to be able to hire me.

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Is it possible to work on your own stuff in your free time? Do you have alot of free time at work? Maybe you can work/study the things that interest you while waiting out the 2 years at home or work when possible.

Alternatively maybe speak with your management and explain youd like to take on more involved tasks and see what input they have. Or maybe you have already done that?

Yeah I do have a lot of free time at work. I have worked on personal projects, but I feel like I can only go so far with those at work. That is a great suggestion though, and I need to try to come up with more to work on without my manager getting upset. I have talked with my manager about it, and he is aware and hopefully trying to get more meaningful work for our team. It’s a huge company though, so I don’t know how many strings he can pull to get projects moving. Thank you for your input!

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No problem. I was in a similar situation for the last 3.5 years at work. I was mainly doing tech support and maintaining existing code while not really creating new things. It wasn’t until the last year or so I decided to just work on my own things and study the things I like. I have also tried to make the most out of my work and taken on more projects lately even if they don’t necessarily interest me. It feels like I might’ve wasted the first few years and now I’m barely getting into real development but there’s no point for me to dwell on that.

Is it possible to find ways to automate things? When given drudgery-type tasks that’s what I usually do. It stinks not to have goals to shoot for, but perhaps you can define your own, learn the frameworks your team uses, learn to profile code to try to find bottlenecks, just generally find ways to be useful. Are there teammates or a team leader you can simply go to and ask, “What could I do to help you today?”

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I am also in the same position. It sucks to not have any goal to improve my skills. At first I thought maybe I posted this.

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You’re in a job where you don’t feel valued and are doing menial tasks; you don’t feel part of the team, and I feel for you. I understand completely that you feel empty at the end of the day.

Have you spoken to your team lead or manager about how you’re feeling? If so, how did the conversation go? What did you say? What did he/she say? I’d also love to know more about the company. Is it small or large? How many developers are in your team?

You say you’ve not worked on any real projects. What do you mean? What is a real project?

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That reminds my first year. Some companies are just horrible to onboard new hires, too much fear to get them in the critical path, no mentorship, dysfunctional teamwork, etc. In my situation, I ended moving to a different team that had real projects. In the meanwhile, I did small projects and prepared for interviews (internal interviews!)

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