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I have just recently signed a six-month contract (using a recruiting agency)
as a technical communications specialist that was to start full-time this
coming Monday. The way this works is that I am considered a full-time
employee of the recruiting agency, but am contracted out to the agency's
clients on an as-needs basis. Before I joined the agency and signed this new
contract, I was finishing up another contract with a different client (as an
independent contractor), and needed the rest of this week to fulfill my
obligations to them, which is why I could not start my new contract until
When I called to let my latest client know that I was able to start this
coming Monday, I was asked to try and make it into the office for a couple of
hours on Wednesday to become oriented with the company, the people, and the
product with which I was to be working. I agreed, and spent 2 hours with them
on Wednesday. As I was leaving on Wednesday, I was asked to come in for a
couple of hours on both Thursday and Friday. I ended up working an almost 8
hour day on Thursday, but did not go in today due to a full workload with the
previous contractual obligation. I just received a phone call from my latest
client and was asked to go in again for work tomorrow (Saturday).
I have to be honest and tell you that I am quite annoyed with my latest
client's request for so much part time work before the contract was to begin
on Monday. I am new to this contracting business, and am not familiar with
the responsibilities and/or obligations concerning my work as a consultant. I
agreed to going in tomorrow for a half-day, but am not happy about it at all.
I feel as if I might lose this contract, or even my full-time position with
the recruiting agency, if I were to have declined. Can I say no to this
client? Can I be reprimanded for not going in part-time before my contract is
to actually start? Can they withhold pay? What about my obligations to the
recruiting agency? What are my future obligations to this client? Will I have
to work anytime they ask me to work? How would you all handle this?