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Freelance and Been Refused a Reference

(7 Posts)
ifancyashandy Thu 06-Jan-11 14:41:11

I work in an industry where everyone is freelance. I'm Senior Management, employed on a project by project basis and we're always asked to supply references for new jobs - as you would expect.

I've just finished a project where I worked my backside off. I lead the team, with one direct boss above me who was part time.

I have been told by a number of people on the team that I was integral to getting the project finished on time and to budget. That's not to say it wasn't without it's stresses and difficulties but we got it there.

At no point did my superior criticise my work. The 'major' boss of both of us (and the person who commissioned the project) sent me a glowing email and a bottle of champagne as a thank you.

There was one issue regarding days off / money owed which meant I had to finish the project two weeks before the end of my contract (but was paid up till that date). This was nothing to do with my direct boss but was to do with the main company who employed us both. (Don't want to reveal too much in case I 'out' myself). My direct boss said they understood what was going on. My direct boss is the person I would put as my reference.

I have emailed them saying hello etc and also asking if they are happy for me to put them as my referee. Direct boss has said they would rather not.

I am gobsmacked. At no point did they indicate ANY unhappiness with my work. I replied asking for feedback but have had no reply.

My career depends on my references (and CV).

What can I do? Am so upset and shocked.

ChessyEvans Thu 06-Jan-11 14:46:51

Hiya, really sorry to hear about your problems. Unfortunately in employment law there is no requirement on an employer or client to provide a reference. The legal obligations only kick in if a reference is provided (at which point it must be true, fair etc).

I suppose practically you could go back and ask again, explaining how important it is even if they just want to draft a testimonial about your work or something? But obv that depends on how strongly worded their "would rather not" response was.

Could you get a reference from the "major boss" given the email and champagne? Do you have any input into the freelance contracts that you are engaged under? If so perhaps in future you could include a provision allowing you to cite the work you do for a project and seek references? Would depend on the industry standard for this though.

Sorry can't be more help sad

MadamDeathstare Thu 06-Jan-11 14:50:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ifancyashandy Thu 06-Jan-11 14:53:42

Thanks for your reply.

It's not 'appropriate' for me to contact the 'major' boss for a reference - just not the done thing unfortunately.

There is no industry standard for my sector. It's one of it's major drawbacks! It's hugely unprofessional in some ways but people often take references BEFORE they even call you for an interview - it's a small industry where everyone knows someone who'll know you IYKWIM. Reputation is EVERYTHING.

The 'would rather not' was exactly that - 'I'd rather not...'. No explaination.


Thanks again.

ifancyashandy Thu 06-Jan-11 14:55:02

Sorry - X Post.

I can provide many other references. But it's thought odd if you don't have one from your last project.

Am also just completely shocked - really didn't expect this.

NewYearNewPants Thu 06-Jan-11 14:59:07

I would bypass the direct boss and go straight for the big boss. Just a short email saying that, after the success of the project, you were disappointed that X felt unable to give you a reference and that, although not usual protocol, you must now understandably ask for a reference from him.

'Not the done thing or not' - if your livelihood depends on it, do it.

ifancyashandy Thu 06-Jan-11 16:29:35

Well, development. JUst had a reply - saying that basically they don't want to discuss why they don't want to give me a reference but (as I had already put them down for one job) they will be positive about my hard work etc on this one occassion.

It's a very weird email, saying opinions are open to misinterpretation. Don;t understand it at all.

Very annoyed that having given me no feedback whilst we were working together, thus allowing me to make any necessary changes, they (cowardly) hide behind an email.

Still, I've got them for this one and won't use them again. Bad form though (them).

Thanks for your support and suggestions x

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