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I have been the curator/manager of a small historic building for 10 years and a change in management now requires that I document my working hours and processes, presumably to determine a change in my salary. Specifically I am asked "from when to when do you work?" I have never been required to document my processes before, and this place has been generally neglected until I brought significant changes to its bottom line.

I live on site (my workplace is also my home) and my basic duties have been to look after it, manage maintenance (external workers/contracts) and handle visitors or anyone who wants to use the venue for other purposes like events.

Firstly, visitor inquiries (and visits) could happen at any time during the day and all other duties around maintenance and care for the building happen ad hoc around the clock - from when I wake up to when I go to sleep.

Beyond that, I was able to build major partnerships and bring more visitors, groups, events, etc. than all its lifetime put together. Also by attending conferences, traveling, etc. I significantly boosted the visibility, image and quality of the place.

The former owner of the place knows this but my achievements were never reflected in any formal review; I enjoyed full ownership and independence in how I worked and developed the place until it was noticed and is being taken over.

As someone who looked after the place almost like its owner and was dedicated virtually the entire day, I am not sure how to quantify my working hours, or how I could explain that I work based on "business needs" like an entrepreneur/owner would do.

Any advice appreciated!

  • Are they going to offer you a higher salary or are trying to reduce it? If the later case would it be better for you to negotiate a base salary + percentage of the profit? – greenfingers Jul 10 '14 at 9:57
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Start logging every time you do something work-related. Probably the easiest way is to install a suitable app onto your phone, so that you can just press a button to start the clock running when you work and to stop it later. Most of them will be able to send the complete log as an email or in some other format that you can forward to your management.

One thing to remember is that you are in effect being on call at all times, so that even during the times that you are not actually showing visitors around, you are still not able to leave the place because someone might come. That time should also be noted, though possibly separately from the times that the visitors are there.

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    Like a shop assistant is working when he or she is waiting for customers. Waiting for customers is work. If you are there twelve hours and showing visitors around for three hours and they want to only pay you for three hours, they need to decide which three hours you will be there. – gnasher729 Jul 10 '14 at 9:45
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Look for time reporting software/project management software e.g. Quickbase from Intuit. This software includes a time stamp for any activity that you report into it.

Report your time in 15-min increments like the lawyers do e.g. a lawyer may charge 15 minutes of their time for a 3-minute phone call. Don't be too shy about reporting it as 15 minutes, because by the time you finish reporting it, the time will be closer to 15 minutes anyway.

Report shortly after you finish your activity, especially if you have short-term memory issues like mine.

Don't write more than one or two sentences for each activity.

You want software that can add up your time on its own for any particular project such as organizing a specific event and drill down to your various activities e.g. you called 15 people, made two trips, received three visitors, had a working lunch with so and so, etc.

You want that software to give printouts on-demand including printouts in PDF or Word format so that you can send them to whoever is asking for the time reporting.

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Simply log each time you start working and stop working - get into a habit of doing it.

It shouldn't really matter if you are working irregular hours (unless there's lots of night and weekend work involved) - by this, I mean that just because you answer a call in at 5 am that takes a couple of hours, and then nothing happens until 3 pm and you get stuck until 9pm that day, then you've worked 8 hours - you have not worked 16 hours. Of course, the extreme times do need to be considered if they are a regular occurence as some consideration should be made that it is hard to plan a day with call times.

What really matters is if all those irregular hours add up to a reasonable time on average - for example, staff in my organisation are generally expected to do 75 hours a fortnight (on average), but we're not stuck at 7.5 hours each work day. Even on a fortnight to fortnight basis, we can do 80 hours and then 70 hours...

If you really find yourself working 98 hours a week, then it is very likely that your new managers will order you to cut back as that probably breaks quite a few rules in most jurisdictions.

  • I do night and weekend work. Literally, imagine you are the owner of a business or building. You don't have scheduled breaks nor scheduled work. As I am on call I don't think it is unfair to say I work at least 98 hours a week. – AlexNVC Jul 11 '14 at 0:05
  • I wouldn't necessarily say you "work" 98 hours a week - what happens if you're not called in? However, if you are hours are that irregular then this will be reflected in your logged hours, and should be a consideration. – HorusKol Jul 11 '14 at 0:07
  • Well as I said when I'm not called in, I work on maintenance, house- and account-keeping. I have already removed 8 hours of sleep and 2 hours for eating though often it's less then that. – AlexNVC Jul 11 '14 at 8:06

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