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I have just been offered a job and I accepted it on the spot. Here’s the problem, when I applied initially they were offering a full-time contract with a certain pay but after being hired I was told there were two different contracts they could offer:

  1. Earning a higher salary with a full-time contract.
  2. Lower salary, 20% less but I would also get company shares. After a year my salary would grow to the original offer. This would also be a full-time contract.

After some consideration, I chose the 2nd option (lower pay + shares) but tried to negotiate a slight pay increase since I was going to earn less. They said it was non-negotiable so I accepted it anyway. My mistake was accepting the job on the spot, right?

The second problem: they first promised a contract but they're now claiming they need me to work as a contractor for a few days before sorting the contract out. I said yes, when first asked on the phone, but after I got quite angry because I felt fooled. A real contract means (health insurance, paid holidays, etc). As a contractor, I have zero rights.

Do you think this company is legitimate? Should I quit before I start since I can grow attached to companies quite fast and tend to procrastinate even if in a bad situation?

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    Have you signed the employment contract? Such contracts almost always give a start date. – DJClayworth Oct 20 at 0:28
  • Does this answer your question? How can one resign from a new job gracefully? – Fattie Oct 20 at 11:01
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    I don't understand, isn't option "1. Earning a higher salary with a full-time contract." the same as they initially offered you? – puck Oct 25 at 8:36
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I assume you had been searching for jobs. I recommend that you continue searching for a job until you have a signed contract that you find satisfactory. If they are messing you round then there is nothing sweeter than being able to say "I've had enough, find someone else. I just accepted a better offer."

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I don't see that it was necessarily a mistake to accept the job on the spot. What would be a mistake is accepting their demand to work as a contractor before the contract is sorted out. Just make it plain to them that you are not prepared to do this. If this makes them rescind their offer, you are better off not working for them.

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  • I've already accepted because I have nothing else going on and we're living difficult times. I will go and see if they start making excuses as to why they won't give me a contract. – Randomator Oct 20 at 9:20
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Something is odd here.

Setting up an employment contract is not inherently harder than setting up a contractor contract. If they can set you up as a contractor they can set you up as employee. A good company can go from verbal acceptance to starting your first day in a week, unless they need to do something like a background check.

The first thing you should do is get an estimate of how long the delay will be and the reason. Bureaucratic companies can take a long time to make an offer, but they will always tell you what they are doing. And they usually take just as long to recruit contractors.

If you are currently in a job you should consider only one course. Do not leave your job until you have a permanent employment offer from them, signed and with a start date. Until you have those you do not have a real job offer. If you quit your current job you are open to a bait and switch, where the permanent job never materializes and you are left with only the temporary contract.

If you are not in a job things are more difficult. However in that case there is no downside to accepting the contract as long as you can terminate it whenever you want. A week notice should be the most. Then you can keep looking for a permanent job, and quit the contract if one comes along before the company makes a permanent offer.

If you consider working the temporary contract, make sure the pay rate is well above what they are offering in terms of permanent salary. This gives the company incentive to get you on the permanent payroll.

Don't worry about the fact that you "accepted the job". If they haven't given you a start date or a contract then it's not really a job. If they want you they will get you that offer, If they pressure you to start before terms of employment are sorted out, just keep telling them you are excited to start work for them and you will do so as soon as you have a firm permanent offer.

EDIT: You write in comments that this is a company setting up in your country for the first time. This negates somewhat some of the things I say. A company not established in your country will need to set up a subsidiary registered in your country before it can make you a permanent employee. However they can make you a contractor of the overseas parent company immediately. However this does mean that the delay before you can be an employee might be substantial. And a company with no presence in your own country should be checked to see if they are real.

My recommendations in this case are:

  1. Make sure this isn't a scam. Have you had an in person interview, does the main company have an actual product, a registered address overseas that you can see on streetview, and all the other things you do to check a company is legit.
  2. Get an estimate of how long before they can make you an employee. If it's "a few days" then simply wait until they can offer you a permanent position.
  3. If you decide to accept the contractor position make sure the pay is higher than the contractor equivalent of the money you would be getting as a permanent - i.e. not just high salary but higher allowing for the benefits you won't be getting as a contractor. This gives them the incentive to make you permanent.
  4. Make sure you can cancel the contract at short notice.
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  • Thank you for your help. Unfortunately, I've already accepted working for a few days just as a freelance. Part of me thinks they want to see if I'm worth it. Which already puts me in a weak position going in. As for the company acting in an odd way, they're setting the business in a different country (where I live), so assume they're still making it "legal" here. My husband insisted I trusted them and says I am being too negative, but I just know how startups work and, most of all, I know once myself. And once I'm there, with the people, I will end up accepting their excuses and stay. – Randomator Oct 20 at 9:29
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    Being a new company in your country does make a difference. I hope it works out for you. – DJClayworth Oct 20 at 12:46
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My mistake was accepting the job on the spot, right?

I don't see why that was a mistake. You said that you had already spent time considering it.

The second problem: they first promised a contract but they're now claiming they need me to work as a contractor for a few days before sorting the contract out. I said yes, when first asked on the phone, but after I got quite angry because I felt fooled. A real contract means (health insurance, paid holidays, etc). As a contractor, I have zero rights

You really need to find out what "a few days" means. It could be that it may take a week to get the paperwork sorted. Or you might find that it drags out into weeks and then months, with no employee benefits - and no shares either.

If in doubt, tell them that you'll only start work when the contract is in place. That's what normal companies do.

Do you think this company is legitimate?

Maybe, if it's a small company without a permanent HR department. Bigger companies would be better organised.

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