Like A Boss: The negotiations never took place

Ha ha ha! I'm the boss of you!

Ha ha ha! I’m the boss of you!

I recently completed my first year of working at home as a contractor. Although not as good as my dream of doing nothing, the year was still pretty good and … I had no complaints.

What’s good about working from home? No phones. No walk-in customers leaping in your office. No floor sales. No public toilet across the hall. No attending awkward pizza-only lunches on every employee’s birthday. You don’t spend your day using company-owned equipment. (A previous boss liked to joke he was logging my keystrokes. That was a real damper on my twitter activity.) You get your very own chair. No boogers from other employees on your stuff. There’s an ottoman where two cats sleep and the view out the window is squirrels playing.

When my one-year contract expired, of course I wanted more. It was a no-brainer.

These are the actual and verbatim excerpts of the official transcripts of the negotiation process. I’m sharing them because I don’t mind being humiliated in public.

From: Shouts
Subject: Contract

I am ready to keep things simple and renew the same deal, no changes needed on my end, with all the same terms (another 12 months) excepting a modest increase of only $x.xx to the hourly rate for COLA. That’s $xx.xx/hour up from $xx.xx. Other than that I can’t think of anything else.

It’s official. You all know my salary now. I literally make $X amount. Note my colorful use of marketing terms like “modest” and “only.” Ha ha ha! Player at work! Also, thinking I was being clever, I provided dollar amounts and not percentages. This was a deliberate attempt to confuse and astound. -Ed

Make the jump to read additional communiques from the “negotiation” process and the surprising twist at the end.

From: Boss
Subject: Re: Contract

I’m confident this is no issue.  I’ll get back to you soon.

From: Boss
Subject: Re: Re: Contract

I’ve attached the updated contract and have made it effective as of today (the sooner the better, I’m thinking). The pay rate as you requested is $xx.xx per hour.

From: Shouts
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Contract

Thank you! I received the revised contract. I’ve printed, signed and will return to you via snail mail immediately.

Holy shit. That seemed to go remarkably well. What could possibly go wrong?

No doubt as all of my reader (always singular) will point out, only an idiot signs a contract without knowing exactly what is contained therein. Any other course of action is ill-advised. (I admit my lawyer taught me the phrase ill-advised.)

I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday. Of course I read skimmed the damn thing. I glanced at all three pages. I didn’t see anything askew. So I happily signed and shot that sucker off.

A month later, though, while discussing the ins and outs of upcoming vacation days, my boss had this to say:

Our CPA required that we eliminate [vacation] from the most recent contract, however, since you operate as an independent contractor; something I forgot to mention to you. Sorry!



I guess my raise wasn’t as big as I thought. Now that you mention it, the whole process did go damn smooth. Yet I forgot to recognize the warning signs of Tom’s Law #42 which states that a free lunch is probably poisoned. And that a free lunch is too much of a good thing. No wonder he agreed to my proposal so quickly.

Maybe I should release a virus on his website and casually forget to mention it? Maybe one that deposits the fractional part of all financial transactions directly into my bank account?

Looks like I won’t be a Go-Go on vacation this year. Too bad, because vacation is all I ever wanted. Now my wife is mad about missing vacation. She’ll be gone and I’ll be home. Working. “Meant to be spent alone,” indeed.

8 responses

  1. Vacation? Hmm… that sounds like something I did a decade ago.


    1. Back when I was a person I had a salaried job that paid well, included four weeks of vacation and benefits. I quit that job hoping to find more rewarding work. I failed miserably at that and 90% of the years since then haven’t had vacation at all including a wee period of time I like to call The Decade of Despair. Good times.


  2. Gosh I hope this was fiction.


    1. Nope. Not fiction. I’m not that creative.


  3. NotAPunkRocker | Reply

    That was shady. With a renewal you at least let the person know what terms have changed instead of hiding behind the “you signed off on it”.

    Wait, that’s right…that’s the *nice* thing to do. Of course they won’t do that.

    Sorry you got screwed over :-\


    1. “Hey, Tom. Yes, I went ahead and included that substantial take-away we never discussed. Meanwhile, I went out of my way to emphasize the thing that went your way as a form of distraction, just like a magic trick.” It feels deliberate. Sneaking in take-aways without talking about them first is hardly negotiation. More like a total lack of respect. Lesson learned.

      Things might seem like they are going well. That’s when you need to be extra alert.


  4. Where’s Mrs. Abyss going on vacation? Maybe we could hook up. I think we’d have a blast.
    And we’d Instagram every moment of our fun. Just so you don’t feel like you’re totally missing out.

    My gift to you.


  5. What is this “vacation” you speak of?
    I’m really, really sorry you got the short end on this. Ugh.


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