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I recently was reprimanded by a manager because I missed a deadline at work. I explained that happened because they requirements for that particular task kept shifting and I pretty much had to redo the whole thing four times almost from scratch, using a technology stack I'm not yet completely familiar with and a computer that takes about fifteen minutes to compile all that code. He then accused me of pretty much taking advantage of the current lockdown as an excuse for slacking off and not even trying to learn this new tech stack, adding that my colleagues aren't struggling the same way as I am.

As a punishment, I'm being made write daily reports about the day's activities.

I was furious, because he knows perfectly well that I do overtime every day and he wouldn't even consider the fact that other people have been working with that tech stack for 2+ years.

Now, my contract is expiring in a month and apparently he either doesn't remember or doesn't care about letting me know whether it's going to be renewed or not, so I wonder whether I should remind management or I should apply for other positions elsewhere and just let my contract expire without saying anything.

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    Do you want to continue working for this company and manager? – Evan M May 5 '20 at 18:29
  • Not really, no. – Massimo Di Saggio May 5 '20 at 18:31
  • Do you have alternatives in the current environment? – cdkMoose May 5 '20 at 19:02
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    Start looking for jobs elsewhere as soon as possible. – gnasher729 May 5 '20 at 19:57
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I suspect your actual error is not missing the deadline; it's that the first your manager heard about the restarts, the choice of a technology you don't know well, or even the ever-shifting requirements is when the deadline came and you weren't ready.

You may not want to keep this job, but if you do, I encourage you not to think of the daily reports as a pointless punishment, but as a way to keep your manager aware of what you're coping with. Perhaps the first time the requirements changed, your manager would have pushed back to that person and said nope, you can't ask for that change. Perhaps when you faced whatever reality made you choose the unfamiliar tech stack, your manager would have said "let's have Chris take that and you can do this other thing; Chris already knows that tech and can do it quickly."

Anyway, the relationship sounds pretty horrible at this point and it's likely they won't renew you, and you don't want to be renewed. Make sure in the next place, you communicate more, especially about changed requirements, having to start over, and especially the prediction that you'll be missing an upcoming deadline. These skills are vital and no matter how much overtime you work or how much experience you gain with a technology, if you can't communicate you're not going to do well.

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I suspect you have been targeted for cost cuts.

I assume you are a contractor of sorts. I have seen two cases where to preserve their relationship with the contracting firm while dumping a costly employee, the employer finds all sorts of reasons to complain about the contractor and uses them as a reason to not renew the contract.

In both cases, the managers couldn't be bothered to tell the person they were not renewing that they would not be renewed as they did not want to deal with it. Great for permanent employees as you know your boss won't fire you, but lousy for contractors, especially as one had another offer and declined to finish out the contract.

There is obviously no harm is asking for clarification, but the other contractors did that too and were met with avoidance.

Job hunt, as I suspect they want you gone.

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  • While I agree with the cost cutting, why would a manager go through all the hassle of reading daily reports, if all they actually want is let them go in a month, an event that will happen if all parties just do nothing? Even in my country of super-protective worker laws, you don't need a reason to not renew a contract. That is what a limited time contract is made for. – nvoigt May 6 '20 at 6:24
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Now, my contract is expiring in a month and apparently he either doesn't remember or doesn't care about letting me know whether it's going to be renewed or not, so I wonder whether I should remind management or I should apply for other positions elsewhere and just let my contract expire without saying anything.

If you wanted to be retained, my advice would be to become proactive and ask if your contract will be renewed. Don't want for them to come to you.

But since you have indicated in a comment that you don't actually want to continue working for this company anyway, there's no need to remind management about anything.

Just start looking for your next gig now.

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