Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Screwing the Little (Wo)Man

I got this email the other day from a supervising manager. Basically, it suggested Logos move me to a freelance capacity rather than my contract capacity. Reasoning wasn't given, and the only thing which would change, the manager said, would be my method of reporting completed projects. The manager went on to say that I was not in trouble and that I couldn't call until two days later.

In my work as a manager and sub-manager, and this was one of the worst combinations of polite wording I've seen. Never mention anyone is EVER is trouble, even if they are. This isn't preschool. Unless we're talking theft from the company or sexual harassment, the only "trouble" one can be in is in terms of less productivity or worker interaction. Those aren't trouble issues: those are communication issues. You can't solve them with email.

Second, don't treat your worker like an idiot. If you're not mentioning the reason for the change in contract, it's clear you don't want a record because something uncomfortable is involved. Moreover, anyone who knows anything about freelancing knows that it carries a 25% tax rate. I'd consider that more of an inconvenience than how the work is reported. It's why I ask for a higher rate of pay when I freelance.

I called the manager today. I was told 1) that work on the project was winding down, and she wasn't sure there was enough work for me to do my forty hours anymore; 2) that she had noticed I had been doing less work of late; 3) that my freelancing was more convenient for them.

The last statement was undoubtedly true: Logos employs innumerable writers and editors as "freelancers," which is another way of saying, "poorly-paid university students with no benefits." I have virtually no loyalty to this company, being a project-only editor myself, so mentioning that it benefits the company only increased my perception that it was screwing me for their bottom line. The first statement was either a lie or sign of a misinformed manager. I know that the editor directly above me has had no shortage of work to give me. The second statement I cleared by telling her I was sick last week, as I emailed her, and that I've never had less than a forty-hour week since I was hired, even doing unpaid overtime to meet deadlines. I also told her that I would prefer to quit than have the inconvenience of a 25% tax rate for the mere three weeks left in my contract.

She got quiet. She said she'd talk to my superior editor. And (no surprise), she wrote back saying that my contract would remain the same for as long as there was work of the current level on the project.

I've a distinct feeling they tried to pull one over on me.

1 comment:

  1. Having followed this, admittedly from a spouse's intimate view, I would agree. It costs the company something to keep you, and it seems as if they were tightening their belts along the way. I'd also wager that Logos was attempting to transition you early, so that when the project ended, you wouldn't have any illusions about your status. It seems that they farm a lot to cheap subordinates, which is fine if that is what permits them to do their work. But you are quality, with an education to back you up, and years of experience already in the work. They should not have tried to pull one over on you, and I think they realized that...which is why you have three weeks left at your normal salary.