Denny’s Daily Zinger: The Cowardly New World of Corporate Slavery

See this 55-foot Bristol Trawler.

Over the past 55 years—as an employee, freelancer and consultant—I have probably worked for 300 people and companies.
I was always hired on a handshake.

One of my favorite mentors was the Walter Weintz (pronounced “wents”). Walt frequently used this definition of a consultant:

When you ask your consultant what time it is, he borrows your watch, tells you the time and then keeps the watch.

Today, the ironclad employment contract is de rigueur—with the emphasis on IRONCLAD.

From an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times:

In these agreements, companies demand that employees, from those in low-level manufacturing positions to design engineers and creative workers, sign away all their innovations, and the knowledge they will acquire during the course of employment, and refrain from competing with their employer post-employment, whether that means taking a new job with a competitor or starting their own company. —Orly Lobel, “My Ideas, My Boss’s Property”

Takeaways to Consider

  • Under the above scenario, an employer is your lifetime enemy.
  • Sign a restrictive employment contract and your career is in jeopardy.
  • Employers most likely have deeper pockets than you do.
  • Several times in the summer, Walt Weintz would storm out of his office and shout, “It’s too nice a day to be working! Let’s go fishing!”
  • God, we loved Walt, his 55-foot Bristol Trawler and the martinis at the Norwalk Cove Marina restaurant.
  • A time once existed when work did not mean a sword of Damocles perpetually hanging overhead.

Denny Hatch is a copywriter, designer and direct marketing consultant. Click on the title to read the first three chapters of his most recent book,Write Everything Right!” at no cost. Contact him at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • Tim Orr

    I know it’s not much consolation, but more than four decades ago, I went to work for a major corporation and was required to sign just such an agreement. It covered ideas I had on company time, on my own personal time, etc. So I’m just saying this kind of predatory behavior toward employees is nothing new.

    Sounds like Walt Weintz was your "Old Fezziwig"!