2019-04-09-hrexaminer-article-revenge-and-contracts-heather-bussing-photo-img-cc0-by-Savvas-Stavrinos-black-and-white-bracelet-cooperation-814544-crop-544x356px.jp

“I’ve been thinking a lot about contracts. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter what’s in them, because people do what they say they are going to do. The important thing is what’s happening in the world, not the paper the lawyers are playing with.” – Heather Bussing


I’ve been thinking a lot about contracts. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter what’s in them, because people do what they say they are going to do. So the contract could call for one party to eat bananas in a purple, sequined tutu and hiking boots, and no one would care.

The important thing is what’s happening in the world, not the paper the lawyers are playing with.

That’s why people sign things without reading them, check the “I agree” box on the screen, and even sign things they read and don’t agree with. Most of the time, the contract is forgotten as soon as it’s signed. Like policy manuals.

So why do we continue to use contracts? Why do we issue policy manuals? Why do we put things in writing?

For the times that it goes sideways, I guess.

photo of Heather Bussing on HRExaminer.com in black and white

Heather Bussing, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board


But then what happens? You hire lawyers who fight about the words of the contract that have nothing to do with what was actually going on. And there’s always some clause that says everything is in the contract and nothing else counts– that’s always a complete lie. You spend months, years, and way too much money staying stuck in being mad and wanting to win a fight for the sake of winning.

Most of the lawsuits I see are stupid. They are never about what they say they are about. They are about wounded pride and egos, and economic leverage. Sometimes they are a tool to stop bad behavior. Even then, they don’t really work. If the weasels ignored the contract, what makes you think they will pay attention to court orders?  Mostly, lawsuits are about revenge.

Revenge is not a remedy. Revenge is destructive. Revenge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other guy to die.

Get over it. Cut your losses and move on. Lawsuits won’t help. (I’m pretty sure I have to turn my bar card in now.)

And next time you are faced with a contract, the first question to ask is whether you trust the person on the other side.  If not, you better read it and agree to everything in it. Really, don’t sign unless you know what’s there and really do agree.

Better yet, don’t work with people you don’t trust. Do you need the money that badly?

Most of all, be trustworthy.



 
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