I'm a developer and have previously worked with startups only since graduating 3 years ago. The reason is that I want to learn as much as possible, upgrade my skills, while having to deal with as little bureaucracy as possible. Also, I have made three attempts to start my own startups from second year of bachelor's degree, 5 years ago, but failed at it.

Even though I wish to work on attempting another startup, I can not do so right away due to my financial needs of staying in this city and paying the bills. So, I recently joined a startup having 3 other developers (total 8 employees), where I am directly being managed by the CEO. The problem I'm facing is that I am facing mental block in accepting authority at workplace. I don't like when the CEO tells me to finish something by a close due date, which is mostly a tightly packed schedule.

I understand and empathise with the CEO's expectations, they do have tough targets to meet, but I don't feel motivated to give my very best to them all day. I feel like I'm being selfish here by not giving them my very best, but then my mind convinces me saying that I'm currently on my probationary period of 3 months, where the salary is also lesser than what it should be after the period is over and I get converted into an employee, if all goes well.

The co-founders have set their expectations from me to work 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week, with the option to voluntarily come to work on Sundays too if I want to, saying I'm a senior resource.

After doing my best for a few weeks, I now no longer feel like pushing myself to sit for > 10 hours, and I'm no longer motivated to work on just proving myself to them (being on probationary period). Before this job, I was working 12-15 hours every day, 6 days a week since the last 5 months at another startup, where the co-founders had expressed their failure to increase the salary after my probationary period had ended there, saying my skills are not good enough. The increase in salary was clearly documented in my negotiations with them before joining.

Right now I'm totally feeling de-motivated to give my best at work because I no longer want to work too hard only to get disappointed in the end, while ignoring my health. I had to accept the current job in a hurry, as otherwise the previous startup wanted to convert me into a full time employee on the lower salary they were giving.

This feels like a burnout, except that I still get excited by the idea of working on another startup of my own, learning new things, which then makes me feel like it is not burnout.

I sometimes get the urge to just end the day at office in the middle of the day, as my primary motivation for this job is just that it helps me pay my bills, and that in turn makes me feel like it is a waste of time, and I should instead be working on something of my own.

How do I convince myself to give my best to my current job and not have my mind roam around other factors for at least the next 6-12 months? In 6-12 months, I will have saved enough to jump, but then 6-12 months looks like a long period to wait for.

Anyone else who went through this? If yes, how did you cope up with this?

  • So how did you managed to cope with those last 5 months working at the other startup? Or you had problems with motivations since that other job? – DarkCygnus Jul 26 '17 at 22:43
  • I was motivated to work there because of the tech: AI related + big data. I did have strong urges to quit working for others even then, but they were not this strong as they are today :) – user74659 Jul 26 '17 at 22:51
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    sounds like your problem is more with uninteresting work and long hours, not authority... – 2rs2ts Jul 26 '17 at 23:37
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    How is having your own startup going to fix your problem with accepting authority? You will still need to meet deadlines, which would often be close to unrealistic. – Masked Man Jul 27 '17 at 3:08
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    Don't work more than 40 hours a week. It's bad for your health, and you don't become more productive because you'll just be creating future trouble due to being tired. Also, you don't get paid less during a probationary period. You're being had. – Erik Jul 27 '17 at 5:37

You leave. Those are utterly unreasonable expectations. I've worked at startups, some of which were wildly successful. Working more than an 8 hour day was uncommon (it would happen for very brief periods near real client deadlines). Working weekends was ultra rare (same thing, but even less of it). You're being taken advantage of. Unless you own a double digit percentage of equity without a cliff, there is nothing even close to reasonable about this.

  • Agree wholeheartedly. This startup's founders are expecting the same level of commitment as they have, but with none of the potential benefits. 60-80 hours per week in a startup deserves equity (and even then you should decide for yourself if this startup is a worthwhile investment). – brhans Jul 27 '17 at 12:23

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