When To Insist On A Job Contract

The handshake is replacing the employment contract in more UK. businesses and the newly hired executive who asks for a contract risks displaying a lack of confidence in the company - and maybe in himself. Still, compensation specialists stress that in some situations, you should hold out for a written contract.

Their advice is to demand a contract when you:

Go into a volatile company, especially in such high-risk industries as airlines, railroads, chain retailing, textiles, and entertainment.

Are hired for foreign service, where you must pick up your family and move abroad.

Join a family-owned company, where temperamental relatives can fire you.

Get into a pre-merger situation, where you need a guarantee against being frozen out.

When a contract is justified, there are some key elements that should be covered in the bargaining. For instance, the term should be fixed at three-to-five years - seldom shorter and never longer. A guaranteed minimum salary arrangement should be spelled out, covering the whole term of the contract. Added incentive provisions also should be spelled out clearly. Many chief executives, in addition to other benefits, get a stated percentage of net profit. That, too, should be covered in the contract.

The experts warn that any contract has its drawbacks. While it locks the company in somewhat - they can fire you but it's harder - you are locked in, too, sometimes sacrificing too much career mobility. You can always quit, but with a contract there is pressure not to, and there may be some strings limiting your future activities if you do.


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Putting Your Profits On Paper

The executive who is changing companies - whether or not he employs professional help - usually must put himself on paper. This may mean a personal resume, or a short biography if he's a senior executive. Or he may decide on using several well-placed personal letters instead. Whatever the choice, this presentation on paper is one of the least-understood - but most important - aspects of changing jobs.

The biography or "bio" - a brief, low-key, personal history - has its merits. And there's the standard resume that openly "sells" and mainly details your business career. The finely tooled personal letter - directed to the directorof a company - also has its place. The question: What form... see: Putting Your Profits On Paper