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When Schools Renege On Contract Offers
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:58 pm    Post subject: When Schools Renege On Contract Offers Reply with quote

I was offered a contract by email by an established private k12 school in Turkey almost three weeks ago. The Principal told me in that mail that they would post the contract to me if I agreed to the terms, I wrote back to her that I did accept them.

Days and days and days went by with no contract in the mail and no further confirmation from the school. When I emailed the American who had interviewed me for the job (he is apparently the English coordinator in the Elementary school, has a PHd, has written and published several books, seems like a pretty serious guy) about nine days in, he told me as far as he knew everything was on track, but he would try to contact the Principal and get back to me as soon as he knew anything.

Ten more days have gone by with no further contact from him and still nothing from the school, in spite of my occasional email to them over the duration, asking what the current status is.

This morning I again emailed the Principal, basically signaling the end of my patience and demanding (politely) that she contact me and tell me what's up. I got a quick, minimal reply from the Principal saying she was "very sorry", but a teacher at the school who had wanted to leave the country changed his or her mind, and thus they don't need a new teacher and won't offer me the contract.

Was I wrong to consider the first email as a solid offer of a contract, and am I wrong to think that to renege on such an offer, once made, is unethical or at the very least unprofessional?

And even if I'm wrong about that one, isn't doing so, and not even bothering to tell the applicant to whom the apparent contract offer was made, in a timely manner, not only unprofessional but downright bizarre?

I'm really interested to hear some thoughts on this one.

Welcome to Turkey.
Laughing
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was the email she sent initially, offering me the contract:

Dear [ ],

You can have a look at the contract we offer to our native speakers. The original contract will be in Turkish. If you accept the 6000 TL offer, we will send you the Turkish one and you will sign the 3 copies. You will keep one copy and send back us the rest. The school wants you to be in Turkey in July to be on the safe side as it will takes time to settle and we need time for paper work. The summer programme will start on 10th August. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Best Regards,

[ ]
Primary School Principal


And this is the reply I got from her this morning:

Dear [ ],
I am so sorry to inform you that one of our native teachers whom wanted to leave the country decided to stay in Turmey and wanted to work with us again. On this codition we won't offer you the contract.
Best Regards

These are the only two messages I have received from the school directly. The first was sent to me on May 31st, and the second one just today. In between it was total radio silence.

** Apparently she was in rather too much of a hurry to even compose her email carefully, or proofread it for mistakes. Besides her misspelling my name, I can only assume that "Turmey" means "Turkey" and "codition" is "condition". Her lack of precision and accuracy in writing emails in English, however, is the least of my cocerns (sic).
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11353
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bizarre, no---unprofessional, yes. Welcome to reality.

Unfortunately, this issue isn't new nor limited to Turkey. (Some US employers are equally complicit.) From their standpoint, it's a business decision; they either need the services/product or they don't. Frankly, you could have signed and returned the contract only to find out (as you're packing your suitcases) that the offer was rescinded for whatever reason.

Not surprising, some job candidates do the same by accepting an offer from employer X but then renege on that agreement because a tastier deal with employer Z suddenly came along.

What to do... When told that a physical contract will be mailed/posted to you, try to get an estimated time of arrival (ETA) for the document so that you can initiate plan B in case the packet doesn't arrive in a timely manner. You can still follow up with that employer while putting plan B into motion.
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your plan for "what to do" does not account for the fact that she never replied to any of my subsequent emails, nor did anyone else at the school. I did "try to get an estimated time of arrival for the contract". I asked when / if it had been sent. I asked for tracking information. No reply. Followed up with another email several days later, no reply.

One could say that I could / should have assumed earlier that they didn't want to follow through with the contract, but: when I contacted the American employee who interviewed me (he was not in Turkey but in the States during this time), he indicated that it was the last two weeks of the school year and perhaps she was just too up to her eyeballs in work / problems etc. That made sense, although the time to send a quick email (and / or a contract) - or delegate that task to someone else - is fairly negligible, and the failure to do so, in itself, shows a lack of proper care and professionalism.

They left me to mind read, which is the really despicable (and, in my experience, unusual) thing. To have simply let me know, whenever it became apparent to them that they didn't need my services, would have cost them nothing and would have been the ethical, professional and easy thing to do. The tiny but perhaps significant "courtesy" part of a simple business decision, if you will. They chose the even easier thing which was to do nothing, say nothing, and leave me hanging.

I am well aware that for the schools this is a business transaction and they are not required to "care" about treating people correctly or well, except insomuch as not doing so may affect their bottom line.

I've been on this planet for a reasonably long time (for a human) and in this business for several years. The unnecessary snarkiness of "welcome to reality" is ... well, unnecessary.


Last edited by mysterytrain on Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS: I do, in fact, have a Plan B, which is still operational and has already been reactivated. That, in terms of why I posted this, isn't the point. I wanted to hear (read) the opinions of other experienced teachers (or employers of same) as to the professionalism and / or ethics of the way this situation was handled by the school. I appreciate yours, with the partial exceptions mentioned above.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11353
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was no intent of "snarkiness" in my response. (I'm not known for being sarcastic.) I agree that this practice is unprofessional. However, none of us can control how, when, what, why, and if employers and recruiters respond. That school and recruiter were no exception.

It's obvious you really wanted that job. However, I'm not sure what it is you want others to say that will make things right for you. At this point, you can vent your frustration and speculate the what ifs and whys, but it won't change anything.

Good luck with your plan B.
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
There was no intent of "snarkiness" in my response. (I'm not known for being sarcastic.)


Okay, if you say so, I'll take your word on it. One of the little things I've learned in my time here in "reality" is that some folks can be a bit more subtle in their "snarkiness" than others.

Quote:
I'm not sure what it is you want others to say that will make things right for you. At this point, you can vent your frustration and speculate the what ifs and whys, but it won't change anything.


Nothing, obviously, is going to change this or "make things right for me". There is no specific thing I want, other than, as I said, opinions. The part of your post that is valuable or meaningful to me is, yes, that you agreed their behavior was unprofessional, and you make a valid point about this being simply a business transaction in which they are only - or primarily - concerned about their own needs or lack thereof, but I already knew that to be the case.

Some schools, in my experience and, I believe, many schools out there in general, would have taken at least the basic, minimal concern and respect to have notified the applicant as soon as they knew they had changed their mind. Some, as this example clearly shows, don't even bother. I have reason to believe that to some extent this may indeed be a "Turkey thing", although I agree bad practices by employers are hardly limited to one country.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1196
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't have taken that email as a firm offer. It's too ambiguous. They tell you what the school want, and how the process will continue, but they don't outright offer you a position. It all hinges on the contracts being signed, and if they don't get sent, they don't get signed. At this point they haven't even backed out of anything.

It sounds like they were stringing you along until the current teacher made a decision, and they were avoiding dealing with you until they knew for sure. Bad form for sure, but it happens everywhere.
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry if I seem obtuse, but what is "ambiguous" about "If you accept the offer, we will send you the [contract]" and "We want you to be in Turkey in July"?

Sounds like an offer to me. If expressed in an informal way, or sounding that way in English, that is typical in my experience of how the Turks communicate.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1196
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like a positive but ongoing negotiation not a definite offer. They were hedging. Apparently you didn't read it like that, but that's how I would have read it. Until contracts are signed, nothing is definite (and even then sometimes too).
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe pretty strongly that it was not unreasonable of me to take that as an offer. That said, I do take this as a "learn-from" and I appreciate your comments.

Perhaps in future, unless a contract has already been sent with my name on it, I need to ask "IS THIS A FIRM JOB OFFER?", as if I'm having a conversation with a half-deaf and semi-senile grandparent, and if no positive answer is forthcoming, just forget them and move on.

If they were stringing me, and you may well be right about that, as it explains the otherwise incomprehensible lack of further communication, well it may not be uncommon but I think it's definitely unethical and unprofessional. At some point, they must have known that their problem with the other teacher appeared to be resolved, and should have let me know.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 891

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Working internationally - Nothing is confirmed until 3 things have happened:
1) you have a signed contract,
2) you have an actual (proper) visa in your passport,
3) you have arrived in the country.

Until all 3 of those things have happened there is no obligation on the part of either party since the 3rd party to the employment (immigration usually) hasn't approved and you are not in the country and able to work (JUST LIKE the H1B (work) visa in the USA or non EU workers in the UK).

It is business as usual. Things don't work like they do at home. There will be lots more repeats like that in your future if this working abroad as an EFL teacher is more than just a gap year exercise. Get over it and move on.

.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 658
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for your disappointment, but you've been on the China forums and you know what can happen with contracts/offers. I would have to agree with the other posters and admit that I'd have been very wary of the offer from the get go and particulary once the hesitantcy came into play.
Best of luck with your next offer and it's definitely no harm to post about your bad experience with this school。
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kev20



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Posts: 113

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally you can guess something is up if they don't reply to you within 24 hours in a normal working day. I would take it upon myself to decline at that stage.
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mysterytrain



Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

getbehindthemule wrote:
Sorry for your disappointment, but you've been on the China forums and you know what can happen with contracts/offers. I would have to agree with the other posters and admit that I'd have been very wary of the offer from the get go and particulary once the hesitantcy came into play.

In retrospect, it's clear that I made a serious mistake in waiting so long on them. My judgment was clouded because, as has been suggested, I really wanted the job. I taught in Turkey very briefly (in a Winter English camp) in 2011 and have always wanted to give it a go longer term. I've stubbornly persisted in that desire even after all the negative developments of the past several years there, and the continued fall of the Turkish lira. This job seemed like a good fit as it's in Izmir which should still be relatively safe, moderate climate which would be a good compromise between me and my wife, teaching in a private k12, grades 3 and 4 which is pretty much perfect for me, decent-ish salary (in context).

My "gap year", as mentioned by another poster above, has been extended about 7 times already and into my 50s, with three stops in China, one extended stay in Indonesia (4.5 years, same school), a turn in Thailand and of course other negotiations that fell short of my taking the job. I guess I've been lucky, but I've never encountered a situation in which a school just threw an offer out there - after an interview - as a sort of bluff or ploy and then just disappeared. Obviously, yeah, it happens. Thanks for your insight.

Love your moniker by the way, TW fan by any chance?
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