A few months ago I worked as a consultant for Company X. I worked on a specific platform (a platform like IBM Bluemix for example, though less popular).

I'm not really sure what transpired but things seemed to have gone very badly. My boss, the person who hired me, made a renewal offer for my contract but then rescinded it. Also he blocked me on social media which he had at first really wanted to be connected over. He got mad that I used Company X's name on social media, saying that his client list is confidential. I didn't see it this way - I didn't actually know he was a contractor and not an employee. I asked this before and I still am a bit unclear about the whole bit about you're not supposed to say the name of the company you worked for as a contractor.

Anyway, I don't think my ex-boss would give me a good reference. There was another consultant who I can contact. We attended many of the same meetings and worked on the same platform (though never really worked together). Someone suggested I could ask him for a reference. Is this a good idea? How would I do it without saying that things didn't end well between me and my boss?

Hi. We worked as consultants for Company X last summer. I was wondering if I could in the future use a a reference to confirm that I worked with Platform?

It's hard to put into words but my ex-boss's work style was sort of inherently dishonest. For example he once told me it's better to sound confident in the work place than to be honest.

I felt a bit lied to how after he hired me he said "you're not actually working for Company X because I'm not an employee of there's. I'm a contractor, therefore you're working for me and can't say you work for Company X". I realize "contractor" is a bit of a loaded word but I think strictly speaking neither me nor my boss were contractors, in the legal sense of the word. Is there anything that should/could be done in these situations? In the future I will get much more detailed contracts, but if the person's a schemer they will try to work against this.

  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere it was my boss, though this wasn't made clear until after the fact. And yes, I was led to believe I was working for Company X. He can't just be the one signing the check and then unilaterally say that mean's I'm working for his own company (at least I consider that dishonest).
    – JazzgeMica
    Oct 31, 2020 at 11:34
  • What country is this in?
    – Player One
    Nov 1, 2020 at 19:18
  • @PlayerOne The contract said "governing law is Canada" and my boss and I were located there.
    – JazzgeMica
    Nov 3, 2020 at 8:14
  • However the rest of our team worked in the US. And most of the company, including the HQ, is in Europe. Also the office my boss and I would meet in was a shared office space that he somehow got through a previous firm he worked with and could still use their desks. I want to reply to a now removed comment: No I didn't meet with HR because he said they are in a different country but would forward my info to his manager who would make the decision of hiring me. So this led me to believe I was working for the company and not just him. I think he muddied the waters intentionally.
    – JazzgeMica
    Nov 3, 2020 at 8:17
  • I know this is just speculation at this point, but I'm very curious why my "boss" thoroughly searched through my online profiles for references of Company X and repeatedly demanded that I remove references to it, then after that blocked me on social media. If it was that important I find it strange it was never made clear until after the job ended.
    – JazzgeMica
    Nov 9, 2020 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


Someone suggested I could ask him for a reference. Is this a good idea? How would I do it without saying that things didn't end well between me and my boss?

It's always a good idea to use references who would say good things about you, rather than folks who wouldn't.

Only use this other contractor if he would actually be able to vouch for your work. It would likely take more than attending a few meetings together for this to be viable.

Something like "Would you be willing to give me a good reference for our time together at Company X?" should suffice.

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    All of this. And definitely ask permission first, per the last line.
    – Justin
    Nov 1, 2020 at 14:00

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