If it is quiet at work. I work on a Support Help Desk and sometimes there is very little to do. What should I do? Do I need to look for small tasks…In the past I have told my immediate boss and he has found something for me to do but other times there isn’t really anything. Can I leave early? Learn something? Is this stealing? Sometimes its very busy…it just depends on the day. I feel bad when I know my wife is having a tough time with all the kids…
The Mesilas Yisharim (chap. 11) writes that when a person is hired to work for someone else it is as if this period of time has been sold to someone else and it isn’t his. Therefore you cannot leave early, because then you are not available to answer phone calls etc. of people that need help, and this is what you are getting paid to do. This means even if your wife needs you at home with the kids. Of course, you can explain this to your boss, and he might let you leave early, but whatever he will not allow, since he is paying you, you must be available to service his clients. Regarding reading a book or learning something, you should also ask your boss about this. He mind allow it because he doesn’t want you to be bored, and he wants you to be happy on the job. On the other hand, he might mind when his worker is involved in something else. Sometimes when a worker is busy playing a game or reading a book, when something has to be done he may be reluctant to do it, because he doesn’t want to stop what he is involved in. Therefore some bosses would mind their worker doing this, therefore you should ask him, what he expects you to do during quiet time.
Pischei Choshen Sechirus 7 ftnt 34