Print Story Sympathy and support please
By CwazyWabbit (Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:23:51 AM EST) (all tags)
I'm on the verge of losing a job I've had offered to me, through trying to have a backbone.

The job seems fine, which probably means I'll get there and take at least six months to hate it.

However, the offer letter turned up on Saturday with the contract and the terms and conditions. What am I pissed off with?

  1. No paid overtime, which I will be expected to do as required by managers - OK, standard programmer fare. I shall not be signing the working time directive opt-out supplied though (it has an explicit "I don't agree" bit instead). Still, a mark against.
  2. Travel - as described by the recruitment guy (bites tongue) an occasional trip to another company site, something like a quarter way around the M25. As described in the contract, I am expected to be available to travel across the globe for a month at a time.
  3. Working - not allowed to work for any other company during my employment. I'm unsure of how common this is, but I know my last two employers didn't say this. I've heard sysadmin types have it normally. I'm able to spend every night hacking on open source projects until my eyes bleed, but one paid second would be illegal.
So what am I doing? Why, I'm asking to get the contract changed. I've not had full time work for seven and a half months, and I'm being picky about details.

Talk about this for me please. I guess I'd like to know if I'm right to not accept terms I'm not happy with or am I eating from pie in the sky.

Oh, hello HuSi.

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Sympathy and support please | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
All I can say is by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:33:08 AM EST
Good luck sticking it to the man. I reckon you'll be OK. They might turn round and say "no", at which point you can sigh and say "OK then" and sign the contract anyway.

I hate the no overtime pay thing and I'm surprised so many people put up with it. I get an hour off for every hour extra I work - if you do extra work for nothing bosses just start taking the piss.

I am a lazy bastard though.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Yeah, I always leave after 8 hours by DesiredUsername (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:36:42 AM EST
I've never had anyone try to make me stay without a) asking beforehand for a genuinely special project and b) paying overtime, though.

Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline
[ Parent ]
Heh by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:44:18 AM EST
The place I left about four years ago imported an American psycho (genuinely disconnected from humanity).

They got to the point where they put up lists of all employees and those who didn't work the weekend had their names highlighted in angry colours.

I'm kind of glad I had such low tolerance for crap that I got out of there when I did (it was for other reasons as well though), although it's not very stuff upper lip is it old chap?

[ Parent ]
If they say "no", I probably will too by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:57:49 AM EST
The no overtime pay + loads of overtime is just the way software development is in many places (everywhere I've worked) because we really don't know quite what we're doing. I've heard there are better places, it's just that none will employ me as I only have experience in "fire fighting" style companies ;)

I think moving back in with my mum has given me more security than I realised. I can turn down jobs as my outgoings are oh so much lower.

[ Parent ]
On negotiating contracts by BadDoggie (4.00 / 2) #3 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:39:34 AM EST
Return contract with stars at questionable items such as those you've mentioned and ask them to explain and justify the reasons/scope or remove the clause. Suggest your own limitations. If you're feeling ballsy, you can add a couple paragraphs which benefit you. Don't make them too extravagent, just enough to make a slight demand or require a concession. Your own paragraphs are also good for final negotiation since you can agree to delete this one if they'll forego that one.

In most cases, your desire to negotiate won't be seen in a negative light. Of course, they may be one of the minority who say "Sod this one" and offer the job to someone else.


"Eppur si muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."

Thanks, think I have a chance by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:52:57 AM EST
The first guy who interviewed me said he modified his and signed it, and nobody said a word.

I would grudgingly (but with a happy corporate smile!) sign away one weeks travel within the UK, so I'm not saying I'm not going anywhere and that I would travel as the job was originally described to me (and apparently the recruiter).

I'm only looking to do small bits of work with easy (or no) deadlines. Nothing more than a few hours on a busy week, and not every week. I don't know how to get across the "you have no right to tell me what to do in my own time" aspect without looking like "I'm only doing this job until something better comes along" which I'm certainly not. Any suggestions?

Aside from those, I'm happy with the contract and don't have anything to add. I can't see anything that I could use as you suggest, and think I'd look a bit mental for asking for and then giving up on extras.

Sound advice, so cheers.

[ Parent ]
I think I see your mistake by Rogerborg (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 01:56:17 AM EST
You read it before signing.  That's just going to depress you, and doesn't necessarily represent the reality of the job anyway.  If it guaranteed you got an in-cubicle blowjob twice a day, would you believe that?

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
where do I sign up? by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 02:38:37 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Note, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 03:11:35 AM EST
no one said it would be someone you like giving the blowjob

[ Parent ]
Here's a yoga manual by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 03:24:52 AM EST
Get self training.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Ob: Comments by Phage (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 03:41:53 AM EST
  1. Sounds standard, but worth questioning.
  2. Not a problem if they pay for it.
  3. Required. They don't want you to work for a competitor. Most places don't really care what else you do provided it doesn't interfere with your main job. They normally ask you to clear your other work with HR before taking it on. So your budding career as a wedding singer is probably quite safe.

Ob: Replies by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 04:28:25 AM EST
1 - It's shitty, but typical. I'll let it by and just not put much extra in (the contract does allow a manager to arrange to pay me if they want it enough).

2 - Is a problem as I can't go abroad more than a week without getting homesick. A month would kill me. It also appears there is no extra pay for going abroad as it is part of the expected job duties.

3 - I would certainly agree to a clause stopping me from working with any competitors, but the contract says any other jobs are a no no. Somewhat overkill.

[ Parent ]
Okaaaaay by Phage (4.00 / 1) #15 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 07:50:52 PM EST
  1. Sorted
  2. Are you mentally ill ? Homesickness !? Why should they pay extra for sending you overseas ?
  3. Definitely overkill. Would not probably stand up in a court for reasonable outside work.

[ Parent ]
Travel by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 08:00:35 PM EST
I thought you meant extra pay for travel; I assume they are not going to make me pay for my own plane tickets ;)

And yep, I'm just a homemaker. It was Rusty's sourdough article that really got me into K5. I'm being serious.

[ Parent ]
Blergh by Phage (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 09:14:50 PM EST
Just a home maker....Are you trolling me ? Aren't you living with your parents ?

If this is a genuine comment, I think you may have some issues. Not being able to leave your parents home for more than a couple of days is....odd...abnormal even.

[ Parent ]
Are you trolling me? by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 09:55:42 PM EST
I've moved back to my mum's as of two and a bit weeks ago as I've not had full time work for more than seven months and couldn't/wouldn't keep raiding my savings to keep renting a flat shared with my ex. Previous to that I've lived away from my parents for more than six years. I get homesick for wherever my home is when I go away.

[ Parent ]
Very rarely troll by Phage (4.00 / 1) #19 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:18:08 PM EST
Certainly did not mean to cause offence. I just can't imagine your point of view.

Do you know why you get homesick when home may be a variable ?

Oh, and if this is a major issue, don't take the job. If travel is not possible for you then it would not be fair to either you or them to try and force yourself to do so.

[ Parent ]
Hardly offended by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:30:15 PM EST
Hanging around K5 has made me impervious to anything anybody else online claims to believe. Not that I cared so much to begin with.

I get homesick as I like my own personal space and a hotel room isn't it. Hence, although I'm currently cooped up in my mum's spare box room, this is my space and I like it here. Hotel rooms can never be that. Slightly related, go look at idiot boy's diary. The hotel life is not one I want to lead.

Travel to the level discussed with them is fine. I'll accept a week off away somewhere now and then; they need to send engineers to support customers and I'd do that. But the contract goes far beyond what we discussed. I've been screwed over by the difference between what is said at interview and reality before, so I'm insuring my position against future circumstance.

I was half hoping you'd say something like "Why yes, I was trolling you".

[ Parent ]
I'll admit I was tempted by Phage (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:40:35 PM EST
A geek, living with parents, possible agoraphobia. All the usual targetssuspects...But most of the time I can't be arsed.

As far as the job goes, make sure sure any changes to the contract are fully discussed and in writing.

[ Parent ]
It wouldn't have touched a nerve by CwazyWabbit (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 10:54:37 PM EST
The jump from "homesick after a week away" to agoraphobia is pretty far, and the living with the parent is just temporary and convenient circumstance. I could have written tons of angsty diaries about living with an ex which would explain why this is better, but just take my word on it.

To reassure you, I hope to be gone within two weeks and can't stay here to go to the job anyway as it is in a different city. I'm moving out once I find a new place to live, once I actually sign a contract.

I will request new copies to sign, as one of the disputed documents is not actually the copy I will sign but a template (minus my name, start date, salary etc.). Thanks, a younger me would have got caught out by that.

[ Parent ]
I want you to do me a favour. by ti dave (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 06:42:18 AM EST
Stop labelling the breaking of a civil contract as being "illegal."

That's a very harmful mis-conception. Thanks.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

"Breach of contract" by CwazyWabbit (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 06:59:22 AM EST
My apologies.

[ Parent ]
Sympathy and support please | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback