I recently understood the power that lies within negotiation.It’s a tool, you must always keep in your toolbox when stepping into an agreement with someone. Today I will be discussing the agreement I made with my former employer.

The Contract 

After I was hired, the next step was the orientation. We all know what orientations are so I’m not going to go into much detail about that. During my time there, I was presented with a contract for this entry level position. Yes you read it right-ENTRY LEVEL!!! Nevertheless we went through it together, and at the end, she asked if I had any questions? I said No and then signed on the dotted line(big big mistake)!! Looking back now, I would of done so many things differently!! Like:

  1. Asked for more detail on each section of the contract- I remember her saying quickly that she wasn’t going into detail about everything. No.. No.. No.. you demand for her to read it all in a polite way so you can understand fully what you are agreeing to.
  2. Been an active listener instead of a passive one– There was so much going on. I really wasn’t listening to her. I missed out on an opportunity to bring up questions right then and there while they were fresh in my mind.Be in the moment and not just present.
  3. Not signed it that day– This was a huge mistake . By signing that contract on the day, I gave up my right to negotiate anything on it. Instead I should have took it home, read it entirely and scheduled another meeting to discuss my finding(the things I wanted to negotiate). This is how they get us, especially black people. Some of us Blacks are so grateful to get a job these days, that we blindly follow their lead!! It’s time we open our eyes!!
  4. Consulted help–  If you have a lawyer on hand, that would be the best person to consult first. I talked with someone after I left the company(  Another huge mistake). Getting a second option from someone( preferably a lawyer) who knows more about contracts can help you decided if this is the right fit or not.

if I  done all of these things mentioned above, I would’ve never been an employee at this company. The need of a job clouded my mind and all I could think about was the bills I had coming up(the major stress of most within my socioeconomic status)s. Never be in such a rush that you get yourself into something you may regret later. My former boss was angry that I left without a two weeks notice. And oh so kindly reminded me about the contract I signed months prior. Angry at her words, I pulled out the contract and started to read it in it’s entirety. My jaw dropped at how restrictive and ruthless the non-compete section was!!!The  non-compete restricted me from working at surrounding business like theirs within a 30 mile radius of their company. I began to stress and wonder how I was going to take care of myself. These areas were very lucrative and in high demand of my trade.

New Job

The day I left my job, I received a call from another job who wanted me to come in for an interview. The next day they called and offered me the position.I took it, but worry filled me each day. Thoughts like.. What if they sue me for breaking their contract? I don’t have money to pay for a lawyer.My new job was right down the street from my old job!!! I didn’t discover this until I went in for the interview. This is why I was filled with worry. What if someone sees me? I talked with my family and a close brother in Christ and decided to move forward with this new opportunity.

Research 

I did so much research on contacts particularly  non-competes in Ohio. I found information on:

How to get out of non-competes in Ohio

Are non-competes enforceable?

Other states who band non-competes

And why entry level jobs are forcing their employees to sign non-competes?

Conclusion 

I’ve learned so much about contacts and non-competes because of this experience.The research along with the “four things I would’ve done differently” gave me a foundation I can stand on to negotiate the next contract. Negotiate ..negotiate …negotiate .. These jobs need us more than we need them. If they want us bad enough, they will take our modifications of the contract into consideration. Make sure the contract benefits you, as the employee, just as much as the employer. If it doesn’t,say goodbye with your head held high. It’s so much power in letting them know 1) you will be okay without this job and 2) you know your worth! You’re worth more than what they’re trying to make you settle for .

Be strong and have courage!!!

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