Sign on the dotted line…

Editors like me often work under contracts with larger entities, such as universities or publishers. I have no issue with this type of arrangement. When I was a scientific laboratory technician, I very often worked under contract.

The downside of this, however, is that contracts last only for a given period of time, such as one year, and then they must be renewed. And that may or may not happen.

It doesn’t just depend on one’s job performance, either. It depends a whole lot on M-O-N-E-Y.

You can be doing a wonderful job and your boss is loving you to pieces, but if the organization doesn’t have the money to pay you…Adios, Tonto, and the horse you rode in on.

Twenty years ago, I worked as a lab tech for a research university in the area where I lived at the time. I worked under a contract that was funded by my boss’s scientific grant. I loved my boss and my boss loved me. I could have worked for him until he retired. Sadly, his grant only funded me for a year, so I had to go after a year. (His wife said to me on my last day, “If he gets another grant, can he have you back?”)

Following that position, I spent four years in a different grant-funded position at the same university. I worked under a contract that had to be renewed every May. That was no problem at all, save for the fact that my unused leave went away every May and so I ended up having to take leave without pay to go on my wedding and honeymoon. After the fourth year, however, my boss could not get grant funding for additional time, and I had to leave.

Perhaps what they say is true: Money makes the world go ‘round.

Have you ever worked under a contract? What was your experience?

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