You know the excitement of finishing a degree as well as finally feeling ready and willing to be an adult? Well in most cases you think finding a job will solve all your problems! You then send your CV almost everywhere and wait patiently to get a call from a potential employer. So you pray, fast and do almost everything you believe in to hopefully attract the right job your way. Eventually the stars align and you receive that call you’ve been waiting a while for.
As nerve wrecking and exciting as it is, getting a job for the first time comes with a lot of adulting and in most cases we can never say we are ready for this new endeavour. We get caught up on the actual job, the salary and job title that we hardly ask the most important questions nor read in detail all the documents we are given by the Human Resource department. This is understandable because the situation is fairly new, besides we are impulsive beings especially in our early 20s.
If you are like me and recently signed your first contract, welcome to adulthood! I remember being asked in an interview if I have ever made a big mistake and how did I overcome it, well not knowing that signing an employment contract could be my biggest mistake LOL. In fact, lately hearing the word contract makes me cringe because I still cannot believe how unfair the world can be.
In case you do not know, a contract is a legal agreement between parties to fulfill an obligation. It is a legal document that people sign to protect them in case the other party does not meet their end of the deal. It is supposed to be voluntary, fair and binding! However is a contract really voluntary and fair, because at times it seems like an instruction especially in a David a Goliath type of situating.
Employment contracts are a perfect example of a David and Goliath type of situation, because in most cases employees feel obligated to just sign out of desperation. By signing that contract means you adhere to your employer’s instructions, therefore signing off your powers and in most cases your future will be dictated by someone else.
It is evident that the world we live in is individualistic in nature as no one really cares about you. I harshly realised this recently when I was told I cannot terminate a contract by resigning as it is not stated in my contract. This left me feeling captured, frustrated, constrained and what hurt me the most was that I always thought a contract was there to protect me; not knowing that it was the other way around.
Don’t get me wrong, contracts do protect employees especially in times of uncertainties where the economy is very volatile. For instance the New Keynesian Economics (NKE) school of thought recognises a range of real world imperfections (Snowdow, 2005:365). Therefore this school suggests that wages are rigid due to contracts being negotiated on a long term basis. This means in whichever phase or direction the economy is, employees’ salaries will never change because they signed a contract that protects them from uncertainties.
I guess a contract is a good thing after all; it just depends on which side of the contract are you on. Therefore in future always sign a contract that is advantageous for you. You can never be apologetic for putting yourself first, because at the end of the day no one cares about you but yourself. I guess self-interest is the main reason contracts even exist after all!
Snowdon, B. & Vane,H.J. (2005). Modern Macroeconomics-Its Origins, Development and Current State. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited: Massachusetts.