I'm a Web developer and I have the following situation.

I was looking for a job 4 months ago. A friend approached me and subcontracted me for a job offer that he had, so I can do the job and we can divide the profits at half each month. The wage is 2600 USD so it's not so bad, but that's not the main reason for this.

My friend's client has a policy of having 3 virtual meetings every week. At first they were audio calls, but now they have implemented video calls to allow the team to get to know each other. I haven't attended these video meetings because my face is totally different from my friend, and they would realize that he and I are not the same person.

Also, I have been working for them for 4 months now, getting tons of congrats for my good job. This is creating a hole in my CV because I cannot put a job entry from a job that I'm not performing under my name, and I'm not getting any of the professional recognition that my friend is getting from my job.

So my question is how to proceed: do I tell the truth in the company or keep doing what I am doing right now - pretending to be my friend? my goal is to preserve the job because I love what I'm doing, love the team, and I love the work flow. Should I explain the truth to the CEO of the company? Should I continue operating as my friend? I'm not motivated by the money, just the professional impacts.

  • 3
    I'm going to assume that it's illegal, or at least against the contract, for your friend to "subcontract" his work to you?
    – David K
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 15:34
  • Hey John, welcome to The Workplace. Mind rephrasing your questions? "How to proceed" is actually too broad to answer, mind including a goal? Do you want to include this experience on your CV? Who has been attending these meetings in the past? Does your... friend do anything or he just claims his cut of the pay?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 15:35
  • 2
    @JohnSmith so, to clarify, he's not doing anything, you're doing all the work, he gets half of your salary and all of the recognition and accolades that rightly you should be getting?
    – AdzzzUK
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 15:44
  • 6
    Related: US employee 'outsourced job to China'
    – Masked Man
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 15:46
  • 1
    @JohnSmith I understand that, I've been there myself so I can relate for sure. But it's really not a fair deal for you. You're being paid a crappy salary (considering you should, in any other job, be able to get at least double what you're getting now) and your so-called friend is cashing in,at your expense. You're potentially damaging your employment prospects in the future by doing this, and he is taking you for a ride.
    – AdzzzUK
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


I'm not really sure that your "friend" is anything of the sort since he's basically taking half the money for none of the work.

This is creating a hole in my CV because I cannot put a job entry from a job that I'm not performing by name of course and I'm not getting any of the professional recognition that my friend is getting from my job.

Well you haven't got a complete void on the CV - you could put the work down as "freelance" work. There is a problem of references though - I suppose "friend" could act in that regard but something tells me that if/when you look to find a "legitimate" job he's going to be none too happy that his free ride is ending and will turn rather uncooperative.

Do I say the real story to the CEO of the company

I wouldn't recommend it, what your friend is doing is essentially fraud and while I can't comment on whether it would meet the legal threshold for that in your location, even if it's legal it is certainly dishonest and people don't tend to like it when they discover that they have been the target of a long term orchestrated deception. And like it or not you are a willing accomplice to that deception. I think the best outcome you could hope to expect from telling the CEO would be that he would fire your friend and say no more about it. And no, you wouldn't be in line to get the job.

do I continue operating as my friend

I wouldn't recommend this either. The whole charade is perilously close to coming to pieces already, you might be able to keep going for a while longer but it's going to fall apart sooner or later.

The idea is to preserve the job because I love what I'm doing, love the team and the work flow.

Yeah that's not happening. This will fall apart and you will lose this "job". You are not part of the team - and this is not a movie where someone fakes something for ages and then when it all comes to light everyone discovers that he's such a great guy and they love him so much that they forgive all and everyone lives happily ever after.

Can you advice me something?

Start job hunting now. List your current experience as freelance work describing the sort of work you've been doing and once you have a firm offer that you've accepted tell your so-called friend that you are taking a new job and you'll no longer be able to carry on your arrangement.

Please understand that I'm not saying any of this to be harsh to you - you've dug yourself a bit of a hole but I don't believe that you set out with any bad intent just a truckload of naivety.

  • 1
    This is an excellent answer, exactly what I wanted to say. Please do this, OP. In addition, consider taking some of the work you've done and having it as your portfolio. The situation cannot continue as is. Perhaps the reason for switching to video conference is they could be suspicious - regardless, I suspect your days are numbered so it would make sense for you to have some element of control over the process.
    – AdzzzUK
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 8:07
  • Excellent answer. I made a couple of spelling fixes, and inserted a missing word which, from the context, is what you probably meant to include. If you had a different word in mind, please do the usual honours. :) By the way, some of the sentences seem to be much longer than your usual style. You might consider breaking them into shorter sentences. Not a huge deal, just one of my OCD things. :)
    – Masked Man
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 12:12

IANAL, so I do not pretend to speak on the legality of subcontracting in this particular scenario. My guess is that it's highly dependent on the contract itself.

Do I tell the truth in the company or keep as I am doing right now?

This is a decision that your friend needs to make, and ideally your friend needs to set the context for what happens next, and make the situation clear to the employer. You should not be required to resolve this matter.

Your friend can either attend the video calls (alone or with you), or set the expectation with the company that you are working on the project, and will be attending the video calls.

Do I say the real story to the CEO of the company?

Since you are not an explicitly named party to the contract, contacting the employer directly would not be a good idea. Again, this is something your friend needs to do.

This is creating a hole in my CV because I cannot put a job that I'm not performing by name...

You can certainly put this on your resume -- would probably be best to provide a generic name for the company, such as "midsize financial institution." Sometimes consultants/contractors do this because they do not want to reveal their agency's client list.

If you're doing work, you're doing work. More than one person can work on a project.

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