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I have started as a freelancer a couple of months ago (as from July) in the data management area. I thought that I found my luck when my ex-employer (a consultancy company) proposed a contract to keep working for them for a few projects whilst I get started, these projects were short-term (less than 50 days each).

Now we're a few months later and:

  • One of the projects has been postponed twice, for a length now which makes it impossible for me to bridge the two projects whilst being exclusive to this company
  • The other project only requiring a couple of days per month max, while before this was thought to be a continuous project.

This has left me in a situation which I can't maintain for my financial stability.

So I wanted to talk to the manager at my (former company turned) client, but he doesn't respond to my attempts to contact him.

I'm not thinking about breaking up the contract (yet), but rather, seeing as it's a couple of days work a month in the short term, looking for a full-time contract, whilst taking days off when needed to work for the second client.

But how can I best approach my former boss here? I want (and need) his written approval before taking on other work, as I'm afraid they could undertake legal action against me.

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    So they're not giving you paying work and you're contractually prohibited from seeking out other customers and projects from which to earn income? Perhaps you should consult an attorney on this matter. – joeqwerty Sep 17 '20 at 11:42
  • I sent two mails, attempted to call and checked his Skype, which showed him being presenting or offline. I am nit contractually exclusive, but I’m a bit apprehensive in this regard as I can see that, if I can’t follow the contractual obligations (eg there is work to be done but I’m unavailable) I can get in trouble – WillWorkForData Sep 17 '20 at 11:49
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    To understand: your contracts states you work exclusively for them, but doesn't guarantee you a certain salary? – dan.m was user2321368 Sep 17 '20 at 15:04
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I'm afraid they could undertake legal action against me.

This isn't an issue, they're ignoring you hoping you will go away because they don't have the work to give you but don't want to say so.

You're a freelancer, go get more work. If you're expected to be exclusive then that would be contracted. Check the contract terms, because if they're not fulfilling their obligations it's not a worry.

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  • Future lawyer costs may be a worry... – Solar Mike Sep 17 '20 at 9:16
  • That is indeed my main worry, especially since I just started out... – WillWorkForData Sep 17 '20 at 11:51
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    As a freelancer you need to have self confidence. If you start worrying about everything you won't get far. I've had threats of lawyers and all sorts of rubbish, laughed at them all. Company has to justify lawyer costs as well. Not something they'd do for a small matter. Just sending a lawyer to see you costs them money. Taking it any further is a substantial investment. I can see this if it actually made it to a judge. 'Why did you do it?... I was hungry and couldn't live on 3 days work a month'... classic disgruntled ex-employer, case dismissed with a slap on the wrist – Kilisi Sep 17 '20 at 13:23
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    Thanks a lot for all your comments, I think I do need to grow confidence in that regard, I’ll take your advice to heart! – WillWorkForData Sep 17 '20 at 21:24

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