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Thread: First time being professional, don't want to get screwed

  1. #1
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    First time being professional, don't want to get screwed

    Hey all,

    I'm out in China teaching English, and the company I work for has approached me (based on my resume) to join a project coming up with new teaching materials - textbooks and storybooks for Children.

    Since I just graduated, this would be my first for-pay job (if I get it), and I'm not sure what I should be on the lookout for to not get screwed out of fair pay for my work. Keep in mind that, though it's American company, it's still in China and, out here, I still have to fight just to get my overtime at the end of the month (My boss: "Oh, I'm sorry... I don't remember... you did overtime, really?").

    I really need to watch my back, and for that, I need some advice from you more-experienced and world-wise sages out there. Much appreciated!

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  3. #2
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    Even in the US, textbook work is almost always work-for-hire, so it's unlikely you'll be able to get a better rights deal than that (although there's not usually much secondary market for it anyway). Just make sure the payment is worth your time. Make sure everything is budgeted by the piece, not by the entire project, so that they can't keep adding work without increasing the payment. Also, make sure the time frame is such that you can do a decent job. Since the client is your current employer, any problems with this project could effect your main gig, and you don't want that.


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    Get everything in writing. Actually, it would be a good idea to do that even for over time. If you have e-mail, it's not too hard to send an e-mail to your boss when you leave saying "Well, I've been here for 12 hours, so I'll call it a day, so and so is taken care of, I need to talk to you about x tomorow, evening!" The e-mail is time stamped with the hour you left and you keep everything on file. Same for the additional work, if you negociate verbally, you recapitulate by e-mail RIGHT after. So if they come up with a contract (you NEED a contract) that doesn't match what you negociated verbally, you have a back up that was written RIGHT after it was said.

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    I hate being such a politician, and it's not needed in my current job, but it's a reflex that I picked up where I used to work where they screwed up time sheets all the time and everything is based on crazzy bureaucracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    Get everything in writing. Actually, it would be a good idea to do that even for over time. If you have e-mail, it's not too hard to send an e-mail to your boss when you leave saying "Well, I've been here for 12 hours, so I'll call it a day, so and so is taken care of, I need to talk to you about x tomorow, evening!" The e-mail is time stamped with the hour you left and you keep everything on file. Same for the additional work, if you negociate verbally, you recapitulate by e-mail RIGHT after. So if they come up with a contract (you NEED a contract) that doesn't match what you negociated verbally, you have a back up that was written RIGHT after it was said.
    Actually, it's probably more of a cultural thing with the overtime. I know workers in Japan are often expected to work overtime without any actual overtime pay, because it's rude or something to leave before the boss leaves. So, a lot of employees are stuck at the office for hours after their shift is actually over, because they're socially obligated to stay. It sucks. Don't know if it's exactly the same in China, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    As an American, you can probably be forgiven for bitching at them until they actually pay you for your work. I would definitely get a contract and do whatever you can to ensure that you're being paid for your time.

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    Well, it used to be like that here too. Then we got unions and Labor laws. As long as the employees shut up and work for free, there is no reason for the employers to start paying for overtime. If his boss pretends to forget his overtime, it means he's supposed to pay for it. It's something that is worth fighting for.

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    Well, this is from a while ago, but I turned it down. As it turned out, the gig was this:

    We would be responsible for our deadlines and stuff and for completing x number of workshop hours in a week. Like 20 or 30 or something. Workshop being the creative whatever (it was open ended for visual artists, singers, whatever).

    Meanwhile, we'd also being doing "part time teaching," which would have been a contracted 20 hours a week. I'm already doing the maximum contract where I am, which is 25 hours a week. The smallest contract is 15 hours a week. Regardless - to me, this means that they were subsidizing our creative stuff by making us teach in the English mills.

    And we'd get a small stipend for the creative stuff during the creation process with the promise of profit sharing once the new textbooks came out.

    To me, it smelled very, very strongly of bullshit. And they wanted me on a year contract, which I couldn't do. Thanks for the replies, though, it certainly helped me know what to do with the proposal when it arrived in my inbox.

    MY SKETCHBOOK IS AWESOME
    karmiclychee.net

    EAT EARTH, DIG DEEP, DRINK WATER, GO TO SLEEP, YOU SHOULD NOT BE WAKING.
    Peepul: Tulokyn :: Nakhon :: Deadlyhazard :: raminafshafari
    :: Mr. Magic
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