My fiance works at a place where they use a giant excel spreadsheet as the company's local database. He is very ambitious and when his boss mentioned how the company needed a REAL database, he volunteered himself AND me to work on it. The boss gave him the job. They already have a MySQL server in place that they don't use and I think we could do it. I'm a contract worker and I have the time. I don't care about the pay; I want the project on my resume. Here is the problem: He is not a programmer but I am and I have done database work. I would do the project if I could put it on my resume as a portfolio piece. As it stands, I would work on it and I would help him, but he would get the credit as the employee. I want to ensure that I get credit, but he's worried that if I make a big deal about it and try to meet his boss to iron out the details, his boss will call the whole thing off. How can I ensure his boss will vouch for me on a resume? Should I draw up a contract?

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    Unless you want to be responsible for all consequences of a project you did not even get payed for you should indeed have a contract with some sort of indemnification clause. It should be clear that you won't have to face any consequences if things go awry (being blamed for consequences is part of what freelancers are being paid for), and at this point this probably stops to be an appealing idea to your spouses boss. Also setting up a database that nobody in the company can maintain is not exactly a favor to the company. Dec 28, 2016 at 15:12
  • @EikePierstorff good point, I hadn't considered that no one can maintain it.
    – user52991
    Dec 28, 2016 at 15:14
  • On the other hand if they find value, you might be able to earn yourself another contract.
    – Paul
    Dec 29, 2016 at 21:55

2 Answers 2


How can I ensure his boss will vouch for me on a resume?

You can't ensure the boss will vouch for you without someone talking to the boss.

If your fiance is so worried, have him talk to his boss about it and get agreement without making it a big deal.

Get verbal or written agreement before you start. Otherwise, just do the work and chalk it up to an unreciprocated favor to your fiance.


Hold your horses. You do contract work. As any type of worker, you don't list projects on a resume. You're supposed to list businesses you've done the work for. But in this case, you have no explicit contractor-client or business-employee relationship. You can't even claim to be a subcontractor.

There are a couple more things to consider here.

  • First, if you are going to do the work, you need to get your fiance out of the middle and establish a direct relationship with the company. Why? (a) Most prospective future clients will take any work you claim to have done for someone in an intimate relationship with you as suspect. (b) Relationship statuses change, and you need to be on your own standing to use the boss or company as a reference.

  • Second, you need to get paid something. This adds credulity to anyone you're discussing this with in the future. The other side is that people don't value what they get for free, or respect boundaries. (There's are a ton of related articles on http://freelancing.stackexchange.com) If you don't see your work as valuable enough to get paid for, what does that signal to a prospective client or employer if someone asks if you were paid for the work???

  • Third, you need a defined scope of work and a defined set of who-owns-what. So, it's something based on MySQL. Okay, that's just the database server. Where does that server live? Who pays for that? Who has passwords? There has to be a front end somewhere, because lay users don't use the MySQL tools. If it's client-server - how are you moving executable files to the office LAN? If it's web based - who's paying for hosting, and domain names? What happens when you want to, or NEED to, walk away from this? Is the boss actually authorized to sponsor an IT project??? What happens when you're tied up in work that pays much more, and the server's unavailable?

Right now, this is a very murky prospect. Sure, you could just dive in, but make sure to get your ducks in a row.

  • Why was this downvoted? I'll upvote for sake of keeping it above but if you downvote, give a fair reason why. This isn't bad advice.
    – Dandy
    Dec 28, 2016 at 23:49
  • Many people, particularly those with little professional experience, put specific freelance or open source projects on their resume. That aside, you make very important points. Before worrying about how to turn this into a resume bullet point, the OP should consider whether it will be a worthwhile project to undertake on its own merits!
    – intx13
    Dec 28, 2016 at 23:55

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