Yesterday, you read the employment contract, orally accepted the job offer, and shook hands while effusively and repeatedly sputtering "Thank you!", but, as yet,you haven't signed anything. Today, you are stunned to see that the Wall Street Journal has revealed an Enron-sized scandal and horrible 3rd-quarter revenues at the company; suddenly, the allure of the signing bonus and the value of the stock options that made the package so sweet are, like the stock itself, going sour and south.
Now, you want out. But, are you legally obliged to take that job and pass up a solid offer that you were going to pass up, even though you haven't signed the contract in hand? Conversely, despite the company's problems, is the employer legally obliged to hire you? Overnight, the job's potential has become much less obvious than its pitfalls, triggering questions you never imagined asking or having to ask.
Just one example like this is sufficient to demonstrate that, when you are offered (or offer) an employment contract, what can matter much more than the answers to your questions are the answers to questions you haven't even thought of and never imagined having to ask, much less did ask.
With rarely imagined as well as frequently asked questions in mind, the following employment contract Q&A supplements where it does not go beyond a typical FAQ, and includes an "IAQ"- a list of "infrequently asked questions" (and maybe some that although never asked should be, whether or not there is a clear and pat answer).