[ ] My boss is a great guy, and we have a great relationship. We work well together and enjoy each other’s company.
Today he proposed an idea.
He wants me to sign a lifetime employment contract.
“Whoa, that’s pretty weird. Besides, lifetime employment contracts are unenforceable.”
He assured me that there is a specific lifetime employment contract that courts will enforce.
I was listening.
“Here’s the deal. I’m an honest guy, so let me make some disclosures. This business has a 50% chance of failing within 10 years. If it does fail, you’ll pay me 50% of your net worth outright. You’ll then – depending on what the judge enforcing our contract had for lunch – pay me anywhere from 40-60% of your earnings, in the form of a monthly check, each month for the next 10-20 years.”
I was really confused. But there must be an upside. Otherwise, there’s no court in the world that would enforce the contract.
“OK, I’ll promise you a substantial portion of my net worth. This must mean you’ll guarantee me future employment.”
He explained why I was wrong. “No, that’s not how this contract works. You will remain employed at-will. This means I can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. I can fire you if you bore me. I don’t even need to explain my reasons. You’ll just show up to work one day, and your stuff will be gone.”
The idea seemed off-the-wall. Is my boss going crazy?
I summed it up, “OK, so you’re saying that you guarantee nothing. You can end the relationship tomorrow. Even if you end it, and even if it’s your fault the relationship ends, I’ll still be required to pay you 50% of my net worth immediately, and then continue paying you for additional decades?”
“See, you’re a smart guy. That’s why I want you to sign the contract. A smart guy like you is more likely to end up paying me more money in the long run. You understand the contract perfectly.” [ ]