So this story starts a few months ago. I was doing an internship for college at a company with some other guy let's call him A who is well acquainted with the boss (he lives next door to him). We were supposed to develop a mobile app. My boss said at the time that if the app would get sold we'd get some form of payment. We already had one customer for the app.

Forward 2 months our internship is over and my boss says: "Alright, i think i can give you guys a payment of amount X or you can choose a laptop" "Also the two of you can stay and work here for the summer if you want". I said i wanted the payment, A said he'd go for the laptop. After that we signed a contract to work at this company for a decent salary. Then we received a second customer for the app.

Now here the issue: It's been over a month and i haven't received anything yet. A did get his laptop two weeks ago. Each time i ask about the payment my boss says he hasn't 'officialy' sold the app yet. Meaning the customers who're supposed to buy it haven't signed some contract yet. When i asked why A did get the laptop he said : "Yeah but he has to pay back for the laptop, i paid in advance so he doesn't have to pay taxes".

This is my first real Software Developing job and i really like it, i'm still in college and this would be a great add to my resume. However i am not sure if i'm being screwed over here. I will receive my first payment (for actually working here) in about 3 weeks. What am i supposed to do here?

  • You hope to get a first working payment in 3 weeks. When he said X did he say it was contingent on closing a contract? – paparazzo Jul 30 '17 at 11:28
  • @Paparazzi Yes he did but it is taking really long – A1RStack Jul 30 '17 at 11:33
  • You didn't sign anything regarding payment for the internship? Only a future work contract? – Erik Jul 30 '17 at 12:04
  • @Erik that is correct i didn't sign anything for payment of my internship but he said i will get it, just haven't gotten it yet for quite some time now – A1RStack Jul 30 '17 at 14:08
  • My very first employer made to me a promise - the very first license of the software I developed for him would be a prize money directly to my pocket for my overwork and dedication to the project. It was a very specific, very mathematical software for chemical QA. The license was around 12k US dollars. He closed the deal with our first customer on the Friday night, and fired me first thing in the following Monday so he wouldn't have to pay me the bonus he promised. Never trust promises of payment for your work unless you can get them on a contract. – T. Sar Jul 31 '17 at 13:35

The only thing that matters is what it says in your contract. If it says you're hired and you'll be paid X monthly, then the company has to pay you X monthly regardless of what the company's customers pay or don't pay.

That said, if they company is so chaotic/short on cash that they can't make payroll, this is a very strong warning sign that they're in severe trouble and you should start looking for better options immediately. Also consult a lawyer if they do fail to pay you what they owe you.


With regards to the payment for the internship, you may or may not be screwed over. The problem is that you've got your word, and your boss has his and almost certainly both of you have a different idea of when the money is due. It may very well not be malice, just an issue in communication.

What might help there, is just an honest discussion with your boss. Tell him that you were under the impression that there were no more conditions to payment for the internship. Then ask if he's willing to write down the conditions for you, just so you're both on the same page on when you will be paid, and what's left to do before then.

For your normal contract, that's a lot easier. You have a contract, which means your boss is obligated to pay you on whatever payday is set in the contract. When that day passes, there should be money on your bank-account. If there isn't, your company is in clear violation of contract and you have plenty of options. But start with a message to HR asking if something went wrong with the payment, because probably it's again just a minor issue. If they really are going to try not to pay you, bring your contract to a lawyer and they'll sort it out for you.

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