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Is it normal to start work before signing a contract?

It freaked me out because a few days ago, I received an email notice that I was accepted to a job position that I applied for, but right after that email notice, there was another email giving me instructions for my first assignment and telling me that it needed to be completed within 48 hours. I should also mention that this job is 100% remote and online, and I would be considered an independent contractor, not an employee, were I to take the job. But that's the thing - I read the contract, but I have not signed it yet because I don't have a good feeling about this. I find it strange that I was expected to start work as soon as I was notified that my job application was accepted. Aren't you usually given the option to formally accept and/or decline the job? It's like they automatically assumed that I would accept the position just because I applied, and while normally that's true, I'm not sure if I want to take this job anymore based on the series of events that unfolded. I admit I don't have much experience with jobs since I'm just a college student, but I don't feel that this is normal procedure, is it? #job #job-questions #work #work-questions #contract #independent-contractor #college-student #confused #advice #job-advice #career-advice #help


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Angela’s Answer

Hi Catherine,


Go with your gut. If you feel like something is a bit off do not pursue the position. State that other circumstances arose and you cannot complete the position at this time. Personally, I do find it odd that they wish you to complete an assignment before you sign any paperwork. You are given a job offer, to which you can accept or decline. In this situation, it sounds like the employer needs this work done quickly and cannot wait to completely onboard you to the company. I would pursue other options.


Best of luck.


I completely agree with everything you've said. I will also look into pursuing other options. Thank you for your advice! Catherine T.

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Steve’s Answer

If you are being brought in as a 1099 Contractor, then do wait to start providing services until you have a fully executed Contract in hand. Important to have all the agreed terms and conditions spelled out in the Contract with provisions for most situations that arise during a standard day of work at the firm that you will be providing services for. You do need to plan for the downside and work towards having the upside in each engagement.

Be wise and get your Contract signed by all parties in advance of performing services.

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Loida Otero ➢’s Answer

Hello Angela,


It's not usual and seems a bit of a scam. Never give any personal information (i.e. Social Security # or any personal info). If your gut is warning you, then you probably you should go with it.


Good luck!


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Neil’s Answer

Hello Angela,

I agree with all the points above and would also add that if you are changing from on job to another you should sign the contract with the new job before handing in your notice with your previous job. I hope that helps and good luck!

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Madison’s Answer

Yes, you should sign a contract before performing work to protect yourself. Of course, you can start work before a contract is signed, but you will just be accepting more risk if something goes wrong


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Steve’s Answer

If you are being brought in as a 1099 Contractor, then do wait to start providing services until you have a fully executed Contract in hand. Important to have all the agreed terms and conditions spelled out in the Contract with provisions for most situations that arise during a standard day of work at the firm that you will be providing services for. You do need to plan for the downside and work towards having the upside in each engagement.

Be wise and get your Contract signed by all parties in advance of performing services.

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Drew’s Answer

I would make sure you read the contract you are signing very carefully. You never want to end up in a situation where the contract is binding and you can't get out of it.


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