How to Deal

Don't Feel Challenged at Work?

By Lily Garcia
Special to
Thursday, September 20, 2007; 12:00 AM

My current job doesn't keep me busy enough to fill a 40-hour week. Most days I spend more than four hours surfing the Internet. I constantly send out e-mails to my co-workers and managers letting them know I have free time.

I hate being bored at work and think it would be in my and the company's best interest to switch to a part-time schedule. However, I've only been here since May. Do you have any advice on how I should broach this subject with my managers and HR?

Before suggesting that you be converted to part-time status, talk with your manager about your concerns. It's possible that he is not aware of how much down time you have. If your manager knew that the company is consistently paying double for the work that you do in an eight hour day, maybe he would be more responsive to your requests for projects.

Consider this: Your predecessor may not have been as efficient. And, if you have only been there for a few months, it is possible that your co-workers and managers simply haven't realized your potential yet.

I am left to wonder, however, if your lack of work is a normal cycle of the business. Many jobs have intense periods of work followed by relatively idle ones. Ask your manager about this. Perhaps your schedule will naturally pick up in the fall.

I commend you for your work ethic and desire to accomplish as much as possible during the day. You should give some serious thought to transitioning to a part-time schedule before approaching your boss. Doing so would likely result in a pay cut and may also cause a proportionate increase in the cost of your health benefits, the complete loss of some other benefits (i.e., 401(k)) and limit your professional growth within the organization.

Join Lily Garcia on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. ET for How to Deal Live.

Lily Garcia has offered employment law and human resources advice to companies of all sizes for 10 years. To submit a question, e-mail We reserve the right to edit submitted questions for length and clarity and cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered.

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