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I was fired 2 weeks ago from a startup and one of the reasons was that 'this isn't a 9-5 job, we are trying to do something nobody has ever done before and I don't think you're at that stage in your life where you're ready to dedicate yourself to this job.'

Translation: We are peer pressured into staying at the office for 10, 11, 12 hours a day everyday with no overtime or equity or anything. I did this in the beginning but lately reduced it down to 9.5-10 hours per day. Full story here : Got fired for not working enough overtime, just before the end of probation. What should I do?

Anyway my boss had originally handed me this Termination letter giving me until October end at the company. I asked him whether an extension would be possible as it would be difficult to find something so soon and then there's the added pressure of the Aufenthalstitel (German Residence Permit) being reduced to 3 months after termination.

So he said he'd talk to the CFO and see if they could find other tasks for me and keep me on (with maybe a reduced salary) until Feb/March next year. This of course gives me breathing room which is great. But anyway, nothing is final yet and this could also just be a ploy to keep me motivated to work.

However, I am still wondering whether I should start logging my hours myself and whether this makes sense?

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    Putting aside legal aspects, if it takes you 10 seconds a day to do and it may be useful in proving your worth (which seems to be measured in "time with bum on seat") then it seems you should do it? Sep 8, 2021 at 6:04
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    What problem do you expect to solve by logging hours? If you are trying to refine your estimates by tracking how long you thought something was going to take vs. how long it actually took so you can get better at estimation, sure. But it sounds like you are hoping to track hours to convince the current company to keep you on longer? Or for some other related reason? It seems highly unlikely that a log of hours is going to cause the company to un-terminate you. As an aside, I'm guessing you mean "originally handed me this termination letter"? Sep 8, 2021 at 9:06
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    It's not clear to me how the actual question (the last section "However, ...") is related to the background story...
    – Comnir
    Sep 8, 2021 at 14:49
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    Do it for yourself, and use the tasks that you complete to update your resume. Find a new job and move on; they're using you, and have no respect for you.
    – PeteCon
    Sep 8, 2021 at 15:12
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    I think the only way logging the hours would be useful is in getting your employer fined for letting you work more than 10 hours a day/ more than 48 hours a week which is a violation of the Arbeitszeitgesetz.
    – piet.t
    Sep 9, 2021 at 5:50

2 Answers 2

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I'm sorry you're in this situation.

That said, even if the situation is different (i.e., a good / healthy work environment), it's always a good practice to keep a track of the work or task assigned / accomplished and approximate effort spent on each work. It's a de-facto thing, consider this part of your "work".

Most, if not all, of the workplaces will need you to do this as part of the employment process/ workflow itself (in form of timesheet, or Jira time tracking or some other way). However, even if not being asked explicitly, it's a good practice to keep track because of two primary reasons:

  1. Have a record of your work / accomplishments.
  2. Make yourself better at future estimates.

TL;DR - Do it. Not that it's going to be super-useful to reverse the situation you're in, but it's not going to harm you, and in long run, you'll pick up a good habit.

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  • I love your advice, as general career advice. It won't help in this specific situation, but is super valuable in the longer term. People are absolutely terrible at estimating the time required for a task, often because they'll underestimate the time needed to request information or do research. Estimating beforehand and evaluating the estimates (of both research/wait time and work time) after the fact, has made my estimates much better on average. I've stopped underestimating as much, but my standard deviation is still pretty bad ;-)
    – MvZ
    Sep 8, 2021 at 13:17
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I've read your other post. They've been taking advantage of your willingness to work long days and your CEO is trying to save face after harassing you. Sharpening your time estimates is a great skill to invest in, but it will not have any impact on their decision to extend your contract.

It's not you. It's them. However, it might also be you:

It is early september, hiring is ramping up after the summer break. There is a massive shortage of qualified personnel throughout Western Europe and your English is excellent. Legally, this startup cannot require you to work more than 8 hours. The worst they could do is fire you - oh wait, they've already terminated your contract.

Why are you working 9-10 hours a day instead of spending two of those hours on your CV, LinkedIn or talking to recruiters? There is absolutely no reason why you can't have a job lined up for the end of October.

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  • It feels like a frame challenge answer to me. The question suggests logging time will fix something, but it's not clear what and given the awfulness of the company, I doubt it will fix anything. It would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic Sep 8, 2021 at 20:11
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    @JoeStrazzere In the context of the prior paragraph, I think the question can reasonably be interpreted as: ‘Does time tracking increase my chances of getting an extended contract at reduced pay?’ In the context of OP’s previous question (linked in the post), it feels as if OP is trying to solve the wrong problem. I did not intend it to be as harsh a frame challenge as it currently is. Would amending my answer to be less abrasive and more explanatory be appropriate here?
    – MvZ
    Sep 8, 2021 at 20:31
  • I think this is a good answer. Multiple comments have said that keeping yourself honest about hours is a good habit, but obviously the real issue here is the company culture (and probably also unrealistic planning, lack of process, but those seem secondary).
    – Pete W
    Sep 9, 2021 at 1:33

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