There is not a "better" or a "worse" join type. They have different meaning and they must be used depending on it.
In your case, you probably do not have employees with no work_log (no rows in that table), so
LEFT JOIN and
JOIN will be equivalent in results. However, if you had such a thing (a new employee with no registered work_log), a
JOIN wold omit that employee, while a left join (whose first table is employees) would show all of them, and nulls on the fields from work_log if there are not matches.
Again, performance is a secondary thing to query correctness. Some people say that you shouldn't use
LEFT JOINs. It is true that a LEFT JOIN forces the optimizer to execute the query in one particular order, preventing some optimizations (table reordering) in some cases. Here is one example. But you should not choose one over the other if correctness/meaning is sacrified, as an INNER JOIN is not inherently worse. The rest of the usual optimizations apply as usual.
In summary, do not use
LEFT JOIN if you really mean
INNER JOIN and
JOIN are the same. In the standard, and semantically, a
CROSS JOIN is an
INNER JOIN without an
ON clause, so you get every combination of rows between tables.
You have examples of all semantic types of join on Wikipedia. In practice, in MySQL, we tend to only write