In Which Middle Escapes the Grip of the Giant Conglomerate (With His Wits)

On Tuesday evening, Middle mentioned that he was being asked to sign two documents regarding his employ with a very well known company. A huge company. A highly regarded company. A company the products and services of we all use every day, all day. A company that thousands of people apply to but which asked Middle if he might work for them.
Obviously I cannot tell you the name of this company.
One of these documents seemed pretty straight forward. How he'd be paid, when he'd be paid, his agreeing to decline to be insured (grrrr).
But the other document was a 21 page "conditions of employment" contract and it was formidable.
I had a look at it and, frankly, was too scared to speculate on the meaning of parts of it and so I told him I'd have someone at work have a look at it.
I can't stress this part enough: this company is one of the top companies in the world, known for being an amazing place to work - people love working at this place...but this contract....
Among other issues, Middle would have to be willing to surrender his camera, his phone and his laptop at any time for "audit." He would have to agree to list any and all of the video projects he's been involved in and they could, possibly, become the property of the company. And, anything he created whilst working there would, in the end, not be his.
I went to work the next day with a copy of the document. I gave it to KT in contracts and she agreed to discuss points with TK (oh, look at that! KT/TK) who was on vacation but reachable.
TK is an intellectual property attorney, and has acted on our behalf before.
They spent a bit of time with it and KT came to see me later in the day to say that it was, in fact, the standard document used by the giant company. TK felt that it was over-reaching in its scope but said that so many people want jobs there that they sign their lives away. She suggested he mention his concerns but also that she knew, for a fact, that they would not hire him if he didn't sign it (there have been other times where she's said that employers want their prospective employees to question clauses).
I went home and told him what they'd said.
We talked more about what it would mean to work for these people and the fact that he has several other jobs. 
We talked about buying a computer solely for use at this one company. 
We worried about what they might want to claim as their "property" in the future.
We left the dinner table and I assumed he would sign. He might not like it, I thought, but who wouldn't want to work there?
Him, it turns out.
He came upstairs late that night and told me he wasn't signing. 

I went to work the next day, nervous. 
He left shortly after I did and went into town and told the man he worked with that he didn't want to sign.
I think the guy was incredulous, but Middle had really thought it out.
He didn't want to be part of the culture of that company... but I don't think they'd met a 20 year old who didn't jump at the chance.
They stumbled over how to pay him for the time he'd worked (a couple of days) and he left the building.
You know, the building where he texted me about the breakfast bar? And the snack cabinet?
And the perks people adore?
He called me an hour after he arrived there to say he was on his way home.

We're tremendously proud of him.
By that evening he seemed a little shaken.
Your friends at work saved my ass, he said, which may be over-reaching too, but we all think he made the right decision for him.

And the contract?


Anonymous said…
You raised yourself a boy with strong standards. Excellent! (I loved hearing your voices -- you, K, and Middle, I presume?)
Kathy said…
Oh! I am proud of him, too! And speaking as your psychic friend (well, one of them) I KNOW it was the right decision for him.

It is so amazing to see our kids forming strong opinions and moral codes and philosophies, isn't it? THIS CRAPPE IS NOT IN THE PARENTING BOOKS.
Mary said…
There is the delight in " our boy" ( and they do feel like ours as well - all these beautiful children of internet friends) making such a wise decision.

And the unexpected benefit of hearing the Blackbirds talking and laughing together.
Anonymous said…
I am SO relieved.
Well played.

kt said…
So wise......and an opportunity to make a familial moment 'round the hearth!

Yay! Well done youse.
L.P. said…
Kudos to Middle for going against what might have felt like an overwhelming tide. That takes real confidence.
Laura Jane said…
Wow. That took guts.

I wonder if it will make them (The Big Guys) think at all?

Will Middle turn out to be the one who got away? I sure hope so.
Unknown said…
Congratulations to middle for telling google to shove it. (Just a wild guess...)
Anonymous said…
THAT is courage and integrity. Bravo, Middle.
I imagine this was one of those sweating moments of motherhood. You handled it well, answering his questions and finding resources, but leaving the ball in his court to hit where he wished.
YOU HAVE ACCENTS! (I guess in my mind you sounded more British--who knew?)
unmitigated me said…
The language about the things that one creates while in the employ of Company X is standard for any company. The auditing seemed over the top.
KPB said…

A decision well made.

zephyr said…
i am impressed with his independence, too. It is hard to turn "all of that" down...but there is always a price. It's wonderful that he knows what he is willing to give, and what he cannot.
Paola said…
The kid got balls (can I use this term here as I don't know how best to express my thought?!?).
And that will take him places (as I always say).
alice c said…
Wow. Respect to Middle. I don't know that many 20yr olds who are that protective of their intellectual property and I admire him for it.
RW said…
good for him.
hand wrenching for you.
gosh that is some son you have got there.
Anonymous said…
That's our boy.

Hilary said…
WOW! Middle is a great guy, with such a great head on his shoulders. So many kids would have totally ignored the advice... thinking "they know better". You must be so proud!
Hilary said…
silly question - but, any chance middle is looking for an accounting position?
Miz S said…
SHEESH! They wanted him to sign away all that, and then no health insurance? Frak that!