Thursday, July 10, 2014


Today I spent some time reading through a contract. I can't and won't go into the details about it, but suffice to say that contract negotiations are never very fun.

Legalese is a valuable language to learn. It's a strange language, though, mostly because it sounds so similar to English. It uses most of the same words, the sentence structure is mostly similar. It's kind of like if an alien landed on Earth and took the shape of a human, trying to fit in by carefully moving in a way similar to the people around him. The motions are there, but they're in strange places, and the meaning is all twisted around.

Before you can begin to translate the meaning, though, you have to get through the most treacherous part of the process: actually reading it. It may sound simple, especially if you are generally a reader who enjoys novels and articles and such. However, no matter how avid a reader you may be, even if you enjoy reading textbooks for fun, the language of legalese will stop you in your tracks. It's like running along happily down a forest trail then suddenly finding yourself waist-deep in swamp, with the combined water resistance and the suction of the soft, sticky mud under your feet  combining their powers to turn your forward momentum into something that, at best, can be called a "slog."

And yet, if you're reading a contract that you're about to need to sign, you absolutely must pour over every word in that document, because contracts are tricky business.

The one I reviewed today in particular was a real doozy. If we had signed it, the other party would have had total rights to screw us over big time and there would be nothing we could do about it. It was the kind of contract that Disney hopes you'll sign to turn your company into free labor for its short, gullible existence.

I am an easy-going person, and I rarely feel insulted. However, this contract did it. I was legitimately offended that this contract was placed before me.

So, at some point tonight I get the pleasure (?) of categorically declining that contract and presenting my own terms, with the option of walking if that doesn't work out. Woo.

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