• Ben (unregistered)

    I was out of the Army for about a year when I was recalled, and got stuck with a bunch of yokels from the Louisiana national guard. I'm in Baghdad, Iraq, and once a week or so we drive a bunch of trucks for an hour and half, sit around and then drive back.

    Including prep time, I work at most 10 hours in a week, and some of these idiots are bitching about not having enough time off.

    There are thousands of people at this FOB doing fuck all, just sucking up taxpayer dollars.

  • (cs)

    I want a job like this. Only in my case I would spend it sleeping until 10am, drinking coffee at the local starbucks, and playing World of Warcraft.

    Where can I sign up?? This is like my dream job!

  • Nick (unregistered)

    I want such a job too... a couple of them actually... I think I can do part time for at least 5 companies :)

  • DannyV (unregistered)

    Best. Job. Ever.

  • Whiskey, Eh? (unregistered)

    When I read the article I kept thinking of Accenture.

    Being paid to do nothing only sounds like a dream job to those who haven't tried it. Sounds more like jail to me. I hate, hate, hate being bored.

  • Crabs (unregistered) in reply to Izhido
    ... are you people so much in hate of your own profession, that you would actually jump straight to the chance of actually doing "nothing" for a job? Such a dissapointment...

    Yes. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone loves their jobs. I am good at programming, but it's boring and monotonous. I do it for money. If I can get a job that pays me more money, I'll do that. I am not my job, it does not define me as a person, and it doesn't need to be fun, exciting, or challenging. It's work that needs to be done. We don't all get to be astronauts.

    If I could find a job that would pay me while I fiddle around on my guitar and play video games all day, I would do that. Hell I'd probably eventually do some small contract work on the side and get double the pay.

  • . (unregistered)

    At the large consulting firm where I worked it wasn't uncommon for someone to spend a couple months on the bench. I met someone who spent at long as 5 months before he got fired. That's really the scary part is that if you are straight out of college, you really need the experience. If you get fired and then try to get a new job, all you're going to be able to say in your interview was "They didn't think I was qualified for anything, and then they fired me". Guess how well that will go. The 5-months guy is now working as a salesman in a computer store -- a major step down from consulting.

    The fact is that if you are talented, you won't spend a single day on the bench. As soon as I was finishing one project, they would have me lined up for the next one. If you spend that much time on the bench, then there is something wrong with you... and possible future employers will understand that. After all, who's going to work with someone crappy while paying a talented person to do nothing?

  • VB Pro (unregistered)

    "they needed a mid-level experienced VB developer."

    So, she was over-qualified for the job?

  • Hourly Paid (unregistered)

    I have never heard of a company that paid the full pay check whilst benched. Most companies pay 40% - 60% of the total pay.

    That's how employment contracts are written.

  • Rootbeer (unregistered)

    One summer in college, I accepted a job through a staffing firm that ended up being a lot like this.

    Ostensibly I was hired to set up desktop PCs for employees who were being moved into a new office space, and for maybe the first three or four days of the job that's what I did. After that, the move seemed to be falling behind schedule; I couldn't set up computers that hadn't arrived yet in cubicles that hadn't been constructed yet, so I'd be idle a few hours for every few minutes of actual work I could do.

    Within a few weeks, I was getting paid 8 hours of wages each day to drive to the site, do a walk-through, drink coffee and read the paper, take a 3-hour early lunch, do another walk-through, and then drive home.

    I consider it the worst job I ever had. Lord knows how Sally could tolerate it for more than a year, or how some professional shirkers made a decades-long career out of it.

  • Hourly Paid (unregistered) in reply to VB Pro

    It was beneath her.

  • Kempeth (unregistered) in reply to AnOldHacker
    Gentlemen, please! This poor girl is STRAIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE. All she knows is that she's been "employed" doing nothing for a year, and that odds are that at some point, she will need to get a real job. That she is to scared to take advantage of the situation should hardly be a surprise.
    I agree.

    Sure she had an easy life but how long can you possibly milk such a gig? Definitely not from College to Retirement. So eventually you'll have to find another job and I don't think

    2001 - 2005 college 2005 - 2010 paid vacation at XYZ

    makes for a particularly good resume...

  • Loren Pechtel (unregistered)

    If you run into something like this consider it study time.

  • J (unregistered)

    Seems like this lady should have been smarter. After about a week of sitting around I would have been looking for a new job. It is a miracle (and about as easy to believe) that they kept her that long. If this company did keep her around then they are the enemy in my opinion. Any of you who would do this and not feel as if your cheating, remember this situation the next time you are trying to convince a client that there is value in what you do...

  • t604 (unregistered)

    Wouldn't you be expecting a lay off at any moment? I would have spent the time looking for a new job.

  • Anonymous (unregistered)

    I'm pleased to say that I get to sleep in past 10:00am every day at my current dev job. But I do at least have to write some code now and then so Sally clearly has me beat. Where do I sign up?

    I have to say though, if that's the life I had straight out of University I would have gotten complacent and probably wouldn't have nearly as a good a job as I do now.

  • (cs)
    When Sally graduated from college, she had aspirations of finding a career in project management.

    There's the problem right there. If you're fresh out of college and looking to go right into any kind of management, you're going down the wrong path. Managers are notoriously expendable, and without any technical skills you may have a lot of trouble finding work if you are laid off.

  • t604 (unregistered) in reply to Hourly Paid

    I have worked for a company that did that, but while on the bench you were typically expected to come into the corporate office and do some sort of work on internal apps or training material etc.

  • Ed (unregistered) in reply to Whiskey, Eh?

    I'd rather be bored doing nothing at home than be bored working at my shitty job.

  • (cs) in reply to Paula
    I would be on my toes as well, preparing for future job interviews. I would live as they figured I'm useless any day now. It could stress a bit.

    Where's the "Profit!" ?

  • Abraham (unregistered) in reply to LOLer

    Could be, though it also smells of EDS.

  • D. Travis North (unregistered)

    So...now I know how people have the time to develop for the Open Source community. What kernel models was Sally involved in?

  • Steve (unregistered)

    This is not a WTF - it's a dream come true. And for those who have suggested that Sally should have looked for a new job, what the hell is wrong with you people? Have you got something against free money? I'd drag that one out for as long as physically possible, I couldn't care less about job security while I'm getting paid for nothing.

  • (cs) in reply to Craig
    In this day and age, when a slow sales DAY causes a company to lay off 25% of its staff, I find it hard to believe they'd keep paying someone for a year to do nothing. More and more I think ... (bla bla bla)
    Where is that hell of a country to work in ? USA ? And you guys actually *accept* this kind of evil contracts ? Wow ! I didn't want to use the word "moronic", but it seems that if we start to argue on this point I'll be forced to. Chop your bosses head off. and yours afterwards.
  • Plz Send Me The Code (unregistered)

    doing nothing all day? sounds like torture. how can you spend you life, or even a day, doing nothing?

  • Zelf (unregistered)

    Other than that being the perfect job, I take one issue with the story. Battleships do not turn slowly, nor do carriers. If you want a ship metephor for something that turns slowly, it is a tanker.

  • (cs)

    These situations DO (or DID) exist. I was hired by a computer temp agency and then spent three months on the "beach", as my company called it. Eventually, the client (who was paying the computer temp agency) got their requirements sorted out and hardware ordered, and I started doing actual work. This was many years ago; things may have changed in how this works nowadays.

  • (cs)


    I had a similar situation around 20 years ago. I got hired to do a project at a major insurance company, when it came to my start date, I was informed that the project had been canceled (about 1 month BEFORE I even interviewed with them).

    The first month I was there all they had me do was review the documentation for the canceled project.

    The second month, I took 2 weeks of pre-arranged vacation (this was scheduled before I was even hired, my taking the time was my condition of employment).

    Months 3-6 I weaseled my way onto a project as a systems analyst

    Somewhere around month 7 they asked -- "do you know anything about XYZ???", my answer was no, but I do know "ABC & QRZ -- which is why you hired me in the first place" so they sent me to school for XYZ then I got put into another holding pattern -- "just wait" they said

    After the 10th month I finally called a former employer and asked if they had anything open and told them I could start any day.

  • (cs)

    If I had a job like this for 11 months, I'd like to think that I'd spend at least 10 months working on some awesome open-source project under a pseudonym.

    As an added bonus, at my next job interview, I can point to that project and tell them that I did it in "my spare time" and watch how impressed they were.

  • been there done that (unregistered)

    Infosys. Totally sounds like Infosys. I was benched for 2 months before I got bored and started sending out resumes. Glad I did too, b/c like "Sally" anyone who wasn't fired after a year on the bench got shipped across the US to a region they didn't request to do PM work they did not go to college for. Pretty great 2 months though!

    captcha: delenit. "Dag-it maw, stop downloadin' all that adware and delenit' already."

  • The Dark Lord (unregistered)

    6 years at an IT consulting firm and I haven't done a single day on the bench. But then I came in with 20 years experience, and demand is high for senior infosec consultants.

    We usually hire juniors to fill jobs on contracts we already won or are working hard on winning, so a new arrival sitting on the bench is a rare exception. It happens regularly between contracts, and it is necessary for us to have a few guys on the bench so we can respond quickly to customer needs.

    Those who spend long times on the bench are those whose resumes don't fit customer's requirements on RFPs. Some resumes are harder to "sell". When that happens we try to give more training to the guy, to make up with missing experience. In rare cases we have to let someone go if we can't find him a contract after some time.

  • (cs) in reply to Izhido
    ... are you people so much in hate of your own profession, that you would actually jump straight to the chance of actually doing "nothing" for a job? Such a dissapointment...

    CAPTCHA: tristique ... Alas, exactly my feelings right now for the future of my beloved professsion...

    Oh, It's not due to hate of my profession, it's due to laziness. I could get paid to stay home from any profession, I won't discriminate. You could pay me to not do IT, or not do building contract work, or not do plumbing, or not do farming, I don't mind.

  • Melkins (unregistered) in reply to Visage


  • Jimmy (unregistered)

    Someone's complaining that they didn't have to work and still got paid? There's your WTF.

  • thirster42 (unregistered)

    nah, the thing to have done was to wait about a month or so, then start looking around. get hired and have both jobs. then when they finally called for a job tell them you quit. that way you still get to collect 2 paychecks for a year.

  • Bob the Consultant (unregistered)

    The issue with the job wasn't that it wasn't good, it was, in fact, too good. The issue is that when the company starts to downsize, I'm sure its going to be looking for all the people that it's paying to sit and do nothing first.

    In a project manager role, there isn't much you can train for. It is experience. Experience dealing with types of requests, clients, associates, time-lines, deadlines, corrections, bugs, QA, etc.

    "Boning up on your skills" on your downtime in this case would be either butting in on other projects for the company, or working for other companies at the same time, a strict No-no for most consulting gigs.

    My solution in this case would be to try and butt-in to someone else's project at the company, but not do someone else's job for them, just shadow them mostly. Learn as much as possible, and at least get facetime as trying to be productive.

  • Sam (unregistered)

    Am I the only one here that doesn't see this as some kind of dream job? Sure it would be nice to get a steady paycheck with no responsibilities and to have a bunch of free time. But, when this job ends, and it will eventually end, what do you put on your Resume? What do you tell the next company about your experience, especially if this was your first job out of college?

    After a month or two of doing nothing, I'd be getting paid to go on job interviews and find something that will actually advance my career. I compare that job to the one I have now and it's no contest. My current job is much more desireable. It keeps my busy, but it's fun work and the people I interact with are fun too. Sitting around at home with nothing to do on a regular basis doesn't seem that exciting to me.

  • Jay (unregistered)

    I had a contracting job once where after working a couple of contracts for about a year, I was on the bench for several months. At first they had me coming in to the office to study up and learn some new skills, but pretty soon it became, Just sit at home and we'll call you when we need you. While I understand this sounds like a dream job, I found it very stressful: I kept thinking, How long will they pay me to do nothing before they just fire me?

    The idea of sitting around the house doing nothing, just watching TV or playing computer games or whatever, sounds great for a while, but I wouldn't want to spend my life doing that. On the other hand, if something like this happened to me now, I have all sorts of pet projects in the back of my head that I'd love to work on, some computer-related and some not, from Open Source projects to charity work to writing a novel, never mind finally getting my back door fixed ...

  • J. Random PMP (unregistered) in reply to abitslow

    Damn...looks like the secret's out!

    But if Sally is like most PM's I know, she can barely use Excel or Microsoft Project. Any REAL technical work is far beyond her scope of knowledge.

    If it weren't for the steady paycheck, I'd be seriously looking to get back on the technical side of the house.

  • ebv (unregistered)

    Almost definitely accenture. I've worked with those people before. . .

  • Zapp Brannigan (unregistered) in reply to EJ_
    ... are you people so much in hate of your own profession, that you would actually jump straight to the chance of actually doing "nothing" for a job? Such a dissapointment...

    CAPTCHA: tristique ... Alas, exactly my feelings right now for the future of my beloved professsion...

    Oh, It's not due to hate of my profession, it's due to laziness. I could get paid to stay home from any profession, I won't discriminate. You could pay me to not do IT, or not do building contract work, or not do plumbing, or not do farming, I don't mind.

    I'm mostly with you but they don't pay enough to not surf the web at work.

  • BenchedGuy (unregistered)

    Just so you guys know the company that she worked for was Infosys Technologies. I used my bench time to find a new job and polish my MW2 skills

  • (cs) in reply to Izhido
    ... are you people so much in hate of your own profession, that you would actually jump straight to the chance of actually doing "nothing" for a job? Such a dissapointment...

    CAPTCHA: tristique ... Alas, exactly my feelings right now for the future of my beloved professsion...

    I enjoy my job...What I would enjoy more however is having 24 hours a day to myself to do what I wanted while being paid the same.

    In the end I would likely still spend hours a day coding because I actually enjoy doing that but it's always nice to be able to do projects on your own time, at your own directing.

    Also it's nice not having to wake up at 7AM, or being able to randomly go some place for a day/days at a time.

  • (cs)

    Hey Sally,

    I live in the Seattle area. Want to go out on a date?

    You're buying.

  • (cs) in reply to Sam
    Sitting around at home with nothing to do on a regular basis doesn't seem that exciting to me.

    You are allowed to go places other than work and home. you know that right? If you don't have to work, that doesn't mean you have to sit at home. There's like... stuff out there.

  • Farmer John (unregistered) in reply to Mr. Major
    Mr. Major:
    No, no, no, no. The government pays you extra to grow corn. Getting paid to not grow something like corn would be silly and preposterous. The government pays you to not grow alfalfa!
    But of course! Hey, if I can sit around and make $X for not doing anything, I'm going to need $X+Y to do actual work, like growing corn!

    Captcha: nobis. The government has nobis meddling in what farmers do and don't grow.

  • Mr. Bob (unregistered)

    What is all this talk of quitting and finding another job? I can see doing the last half of that..

  • Carl (unregistered) in reply to Craig
    More and more I think these articles are the result of someone's fertile imagination (y'know, like the letters to Penthouse).
    Hmmm, I think you're onto something there. Combine computer screwups with letters to Penthouse, mix in a little Irish Girl for good luck, and you've got yourself a website!
  • Consult This (unregistered)
    As it turned out... they needed a mid-level experienced VB developer.
    Obviously her employer expected her to spend that year at home learning VB. OK, maybe they didn't get around to saying so, but take some initiative already and use the time to add skillz!
  • blah (unregistered)

    When did the site become "The Daily BTW" (Better Than Win)?

    But seriously, that has to be the first article I've ever read here where I thought, "Yeah, I could work for them". Especially amazing considering it's a consulting position, not a coding position.

Leave a comment on “Benched”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article