I seem to remember avoiding the contract law course offered for business students at Iowa… And now I know why!
Yesterday afternoon Eric and I met with a lawyer in Iowa City to discuss his proposed employment contract. Perhaps I expect too much from lawyers, but so far I can’t say I was overly impressed. Satisfied I guess, but not wowed.
First, the lawyer was quite young. Now granted, age doesn’t tell everything, but when it comes to practicing law, I’m going to assume the longer you’ve been doing it, the better! Also, I was underwhelmed by his office, which appeared to be a rented room in a larger office building, dedicated to individuals who only need a small, private space with no support staff. I’ll give him props for being prepared when we arrived though, as he had all our documents laid out on his desk, various pages marked with comments.
So we jumped right in, reviewing each section separately. I had made a list of questions and concerns, so I made sure to address those as we got to each area, as did Eric with his concerns. I started to get more comfortable as the meeting progressed, as the lawyer pointed out statements that should be removed, language that could be reworded, and a few clauses to add to make the contract more specific. Our basic areas of concern are non-compete limitations, malpractice insurance, the corporation’s rights to Eric’s inventions during his employment, signing bonus, and a few other random adjustments, like yearly reimbursement for conferences and continuing education. The base salary is generous, so that wasn’t even a topic of discussion. We requested copies of a few documents mentioned in the contract which hadn’t been provided, like the shareholder agreement and specifications for our health insurance and other benefits. I assume most of our benefits will be standard, similar to what the University is offering us now, but nice to review ahead of time to avoid any surprises down the road.
After two hours of legal talk I was exhausted. Overall we requested quite a few changes to the contract and a part of me felt needy and ungrateful for wanting so much, when in reality, the contract offered us more to begin with than I’d ever imagined. What’s that saying about the more you have the more you want? I was also feeling a little invaded as several of the sections encroached on the personal aspects of our lives. For example, Eric and I are required to become active in the community, as the contract listed seven organizations with which we must be associated, and the practice dictates the amount of liability coverage we carry on our personal vehicles. I understand the logic, but still…
Our lawyer agreed to update the contract and resubmit to the practice for their review, so we just wait now I suppose. Eric is hoping to sign by the end of next week, well, if all our requests are granted. I realize they have recruited Eric quite intensely, so I can’t really see them saying no to many, if any, of the changes we’re requested, but time shall tell.
Yesterday when Eric asked me if I would join him at the appointment with our attorney I was a little annoyed… I should have been happy he was including me, but instead it just felt like one more thing I had to handle, one more thing to overwhelm me. It’s no secret that Eric’s current position doesn’t afford him much free time, so it probably also shouldn’t be a surprise to know that Eric does virtually nothing around the house. No laundry, no cleaning, he’ll grill if he has a night off, but that’s rare, no helping with Kona, no paying of the bills, no tracking of loans or investments, no lawn care or snow removal, no help with rental property, well, aside from sucking up water from time to time… I feel like I do everything to keep the house running. I doubt Eric even knows how much we pay in property taxes, or when they’re due. I’m fairly certain he couldn’t even tell you his yearly salary. So yes, this was one more thing to add to my list of stuff to handle, when I’m already handling everything. I already feel like I have too much responsibility…
How do other households handle everything? Do other wives renew their husband’s driver’s licenses? What about make their husband’s dental appointments? Did they need a power of attorney at their mortgage closing because their husband was too busy to be there?? Does it surprise you to know I was seriously considering checking into employment offers for Eric since he claimed not to have the time??
Sometimes it would just be nice to have another set of eyes reviewing our student loans, or another brain making sure our credit cards are paid in full each month before the due date. I realize Eric is busy, that he gets at most 4-5 hours of sleep each night with sometimes no days off for over two weeks straight, but how does that exclude him from household responsibilities? He made the commitment to medicine, not me. Shouldn’t he be willing to at least provide some help at home? What happens when we add children to the mix??