Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bad news, good news

The Bad News
This morning I went to the consulting company that I will be working through for the job at Ameren. This involved filing out paperwork such as w-4, I-9, a contract with Ameren, and a contract with the consulting company. The agreement with Ameren was fairly typical. It included clauses saying that I would be a contractor (not an employee of Ameren), a confidentiality agreement, and that they own whatever code I wrote while I was there.
The agreement with the consulting company (who I have decided not to name) had a couple of clauses that I did not like. The first one looked like this:
Employee recognizes that (consulting company) has incurred expenses in pursuance of hiring Employee... Therefore, if Employee terminates employment with (consulting company) before six (6) months have elapsed, Employee will pay to (consulting company) the full amount of the agency fee incurred by (consulting company) in hiring Employee...
They said that this one did not apply because I was not hired through an agency. They did not have a problem with removing that clause. The other clause was more of a problem:
Employee agrees that during the term of his employment with (consulting company), and for a period of two (2) years following termination of such employment...Employee will not, in any way, directly or indirectly, for Employee's benefit, or on behalf of any other person, firm, partnership or corporation, solicit, entice, hire employ or endeavor to employ any of (consulting company)'s employees. Employee acknowledges that it would be difficult, if not impossible to compute the amount of actual loss or damage which (consulting company) might sustain by reason of violation by Employee of this paragraph and that any such violation would damage (consulting company) irreparably, and Employee acknowledges, accepts and covenants that the conditions of this Agreement are reasonable and necessary for the protection of (consulting company)'s business and that (consulting company) may enforce these terms by way of injunctive relief and/or money damages for any such violation.
I told them that I thought that this clause was too broad and for too long a period of time. I am not planning to become a head hunter, but I might recommend someone for a job sometime in the next two years. This would mean that a year and a half from now I couldn't suggest to someone that I worked with at AB to come work where I was working if they were employed by that consulting company.

They told me that they would not enforce the clause in that case and that they had never used that clause against anyone in the past. I suggested that they remove the clause or at least modify it to cover a shorter period (such as six months) and only to apply to people who I met through my employment with them. They were adamant that they would not change it at all. They suggested I take a couple of hours to think it over. I did not expect to change my mind, but I agreed just in case Helen told me that I was being an idiot.

I talked it over with Helen as she drove me to work at Asynchrony. She did not think that I was being unreasonable. I was disappointed that I wouldn't be working at Ameren, and at having wasted their time (and mine).

The Good News
The project at Asynchrony has been winding down. I told Brian that if he didn't need me to come in for the last two days that it was okay with me. I didn't want to be there if I was not contributing. I also told him that the 6 week project had fallen through, so I would probably be available at the beginning of December if they got the contract that they were bidding on.

Brian went to talk to his boss, and within an hour I had a job offer (okay, this time I buried the lead). They decided that they had enough work to keep me busy even if they didn't get the contract that they were bidding on. I accepted the offer with reservation. The were willing to have me start immediately, but I asked to take the rest of the week off. They were fine with that or even taking more time. I just wanted to take a few days off on purpose. You can't really enjoy having time off if you don't know when you are going to be working again.

I told Zac that I was either going to demand an X Box as a signing bonus, or that I was going to sneak out and buy one and tell Helen that it was a signing bonus. I didn't get the signing bonus, but don't tell Helen. XBoxes are on sale at Walmart this Saturday.