Recently I was given a task, rather I choose to do it as no one else was doing it and I had no idea how to do it but that is how I.T. works. Overtime was approved and I spend a weekend (a few hours) learning it, and eventually doing it but it took me a whole day and whole night to do and still ongoing. I have to fill in overtime, do I put in hours I took to learn e.g 3 hours + 12 hours. Can the manager ask me why it took you so long to do it?

Background: I am a senior developer who is on his last month of probation and I do not have any say or do in the project, when stuff get out of hands. I m the person e.g the task was done by a junior dev who has no research value into which plugins to choose. It limited our business model of doing things, so I recommended we should do our own version as there wasn't any "free" functionality like plugin available. so everyone agreed. I been working nights since Friday to do it and finally in a good shape, but this has caused me a lot of stress as the work I did overnight could have to be done in a week to 2 week time if the decision were put made in light of senior developer and it could harm my probation chances as my manager is on deadline today and I m still a little behind which again leaves me stress.

In this scenario, is it fine to ask overtime including what you learnt and as I did it very slowly because of first time.

  • What does your contract say about overtime? And what country are you in.
    – Aida Paul
    Jul 6, 2020 at 14:09
  • Do you have any experience/feeling how "strict" the company is with probation period? To be honest, if that was my last month of probation and after that, I have sort of an unlimited contract and would not need the overtime money much, I would let it go this time
    – guest
    Jul 6, 2020 at 14:26
  • @TymoteuszPaul the overtime is on-demand so I was told that overtime will be paid.
    – user110973
    Jul 6, 2020 at 14:36
  • I have edited/updated question
    – user110973
    Jul 6, 2020 at 14:42

3 Answers 3


While sometimes it is easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission for doing something, this is one of those situations where communicating before the event would have been the right thing to do:

Hey Boss,

I think I can do this high priority task by Monday, but I'll need to spend some time doing some learning over the weekend. Would it be alright if I did that and booked it as overtime?



You then get one of two answers:

  1. "Sure, go for it". Problem solved.
  2. "No, we can't authorise overtime in this case" - in which case you let your boss know it won't be done by Monday. It's now their problem to solve.

All you can do know is ask your boss if you can retrospectively book it as overtime. If they say "yes", you're okay but if they say "no" it may just be best to put this one down as a learning experience and do it differently next time.

  • I think no answer here can be complete without taking clear account of OP being on last month of probation. This is very special period and standard approach may not be the best idea as there is a lot to lose if it goes wrong.
    – Aida Paul
    Jul 6, 2020 at 14:28
  • @TymoteuszPaul That's why I suggest not kicking up a fuss if the overtime request is denied. Jul 6, 2020 at 14:31
  • Sorry I forgot to mentioned. Overtime was approved but I m afraid of saying 12 hours of overtime will look bad
    – user110973
    Jul 6, 2020 at 14:37

If you feel you have to defend yourself, you project that feeling into others. When it took you 12h of work, its just the way it is. Act accordingly. If you get questioned, then you can explain. But only if. Otherwise just state that it took you 12h.

What you did sound like crazy hours and you should earn at least some respect for the willingness to do it. Also, it shouldnt get commonplace ;)

If questioned: Learning in IT is normal. Dont say it was your first time. Simply state you had to figure out problems.


Learning is part of almost any software development project. In your situation, the thought of not including that time in my hours wouldn't have even entered my mind.

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