What am I supposed to be doing?
At some point in your "simming" career, you're probably going to ask yourself this question. It happens to the newest cadet as well as long time members of a ship. I think the reason is fairly simple. On an advanced sim with 20 or so people things can get "really" busy. The "boss" can get pulled in several different directions until it becomes all but impossible to keep up with what everyone is doing.
This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and make you feel like you're being neglected. Especially if you come in at the middle of an ongoing mission. The question is: what do I do about it?
Do a little prep work. Review the ship's crew roster and find out who's in your department. Read the mission logs/briefs and other postings from the crew to determine where they're currently at and what they're doing. If the ship is in the middle of a sim mission, look back a few weeks to see how they got there. There's nothing wrong with emailing your department head to ask them how they want to handle your arrival and if there are any orders for you to carry out.
Rely on the basics. Report to your duty location. If the department head isn't there, talk to the highest ranking person in the section. Follow their directions or perform the tasks that seem logical for your position. There are always medical supplies to be inventoried, diagnostics to be run, or scans to be conducted. But pay attention to the mission. If the ship is under attack it may not be a good time to take the matter/antimatter injectors off-line for a good cleaning.
Get Involved! Listen to the officers around you and look closely at any problems the ship has encountered. If you have an idea on how to overcome up. Speak up. BUT! Remember the chain of command! Discuss the solutions with your department head before you implement anything. If you're the chief, then talk it over with the operations or executive officer. If all of those folks are down with Rigellian fever and for some reason the chief medical officer can't come up with a good supply of ritalin, then the chain of command may go from you to the Captain. But these are rare instances. Hey if everyone's down with da fever and you're new to the ship....you may be the acting Captain! How's that for your first day on the job!
So... listen and watch what's going on. Talk to the people in your duty section. Follow through with the mission objectives. Avoid doing anything excessive (like ejecting the warp core, curing everyone onboard in 5 seconds, personally destroying an entire fleet of Cardassian war ships, discovering Bengal tigers running amok in the hydroponics bays, shooting a fellow crewmember...that sort of thing).
Get involved and HAVE FUN! After all...that's what we all signed up for.