Why do I Have all of These Contracts?

Nov 25

How often should I be renegotiating my contracts at my job? I’m in my first position right now. I landed what I thought was an amazing position in the city, which is hard enough to get with years of experience and I got picked up right away. I should have maybe been suspicious at that point, but I just felt like maybe they saw something in me. Now, I’m not so sure.

The thing that’s making me reconsider is this contract situation. This is a full-time position, which I assumed meant there’d be only one contract signed at the beginning of the job and then I’d be set. But for some reason, every month or so, I have to sign a new contract, sometimes pretty dramatically different from my last one.

At first, these new contracts seemed to go in my favor. I’d get a raise or access to a new benefit or the potential for bonuses. All that stuff. But for the last six months (and I think this coincides with some slow times for the business), the contracts have mostly been taking more instead of giving more. I’ve had my pay cut twice, not because of mistakes (I was assured I was doing well) but simply because of “extenuating circumstances.” The bonus structure was removed. My hours have been cut, so now I’m on 29-hours. I lost my health insurance.

The job is still great in some ways, I’m still in the city and doing what I love, but I’m starting to worry. I’ve been here almost a year, and after these rollercoaster contracts, I’ve gone from a mediocre salary to a pretty good one to back to a mediocre one and possibly, with the next contract, a cut that makes it hard to keep up living and commuting around this expensive new city of mine.

I’m not sure what to do at this point. Is this illegal what they’re doing? I don’t even know if I’d want to go to an employment discrimination lawyer, but I guess I’d like to know if I had a case if I decided to do so.

Should I just refuse to sign any more contracts? Can they fire me for that?

I really need some advice on this stuff. Again, I actually really like this job. The work is great, and I get along with most of the people, even the ones pushing contracts in my face. I’m getting great experience, meeting people in the field, and I feel like there’s a career here for me. But I don’t know if I’m just fooling myself. I don’t want to lose this position, but maybe it’d be better to chuck it and look for something more straightforward, even if it was lower on the totem pole, or…and I hate to say this…outside the city.

Even thinking that makes me want to cry.

Hopefully, the company will start making more money again soon and the next contract will reinstall that old salary and the benefits. At this point, all I’ve got to go on is hope.

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