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The Employment Contract

By Steve Jones,

I ran across this piece on how we should pay people from Business Week. It's a look at the issues of specifying the exact work that someone will do once you hire them. I suspect this is a problem in many industries, but it can be especially tricky in technology, where the job requirements can change as the technology rapidly changes.

Most of the time I've taken a job in the US, it's been an "at will" employment, with a verbal contract between me and the hiring manager or HR representative. Nothing was signed, and I essentially did whatever my manager wanted, regardless of my job title. That was fine with me. Currently I have a written contract, but the requirements for my position are a little vague and my duties aren't explicitly spelled out.

However I wonder how most of you feel. Does it make sense to more explicitly list the requirements for your job? As a DBA, developer or other professional, would you want any limits on what you were required to do?  This Friday, answer this poll question:

Would you like to have your duties spelled out explicitly in a contract?

I know we don't typically sign contracts, but would you like that? What if the duties were modified every quarter, with an agreement by both you and the management of the company? What if you could just list the things you were not required to do?

Let me know this week what you think.

Steve Jones

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Today's podcast features music by Everyday Jones. No relation, but I stumbled on to them and really like the music. Support this great duo at They have a great version of Message in a Bottle if you want to check it out.

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