My last post talked all about this new job I've landed: online teaching. In spite of all the problems communicating with this company and coordinating schedules to arrange a teaching demonstration, problems that have gone on for months, I chose to accept their offer of a position, even though I worry that if they can't get their act together enough to hire teachers, who's to say they would manage to pay me correctly and on time?
And, because the MIT campus was on spring break and couldn't send me a contract at the time the Chinese contingent decided to hire me, I was afforded a bit of time to think about my options (they aren't good). And then, because of an email they sent after spring break was over, stating that their software was not up to snuff and I should expect a contract in the next few days, my misgivings grew. And then, when I finally received the contract and noticed a glaring discrepancy (and a few spelling errors), I got really leery of this program and company.
Specifically, the contract states that online teachers must fill out a tax form I-9 in case the law changes and independent contractors, of which I would be one, are considered employees from whom the company has to withhold taxes. A couple of paragraphs further down, it states that Independent contractors can never expect to be considered employees, will never receive benefits, insurance or incentives.
Clearly, somebody did not proofread this contract. And it makes me wonder about all of the independent contractors they currently have on staff. Could it be true that I am the only person who has noticed this contradiction?
I sent the support staff an email pointing out the contradiction in the contract. I pointed out the possible harm to the company – in the form of lawsuits that could result, and then made suggestions on how they could reword their contract to eliminate the discrepancy.
The support staff responded 2 days later: “Thanks for your letter. Any questions about the contract should be sent to ____.”
At least, they thanked me. Makes me wonder, though: why didn't they forward my email to the pertinent person?
So, I forwarded it to the person they specified, and then waited 2 days. By now, that niggling feeling that this would not be a good gig has grown into major alarm bells and, on the second day after forwarding the email and not getting any response, I sent them another email, declining the position altogether.
Even though I need a job, I am not about to contractually bind myself to a company that, by all appearances does not have it all together and drafted their legal documents on (what seems like) an Internet document mill, with no actual legal input or certification (or proofreading).
Three days later, I got an email from the person I was directed to about contract deficiencies: “If you have trouble downloading the contract, please open the attached link.”
I am now utterly confounded. Did he misunderstand my email? Did he not read my email? Is a contract deficiency meaningless to him in his avid search for teachers?
Does he expect me to sign a deficient contract???
And now I am worried that they will continue to email me, demanding that I sign a contract that most likely would withstand scrutiny – and certainly does nothing to protect me, and no matter what qualms I have about said contract, they will not be addressed.
And did he overlook my email declining the position?
Yes, I know I need a job, and I suppose it could be considered good/flattering that they are pursuing me with such ardor, but... doesn't that, in itself, make a statement?