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Ask Amy: Loyalty points don’t come with freelance work

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I did some contract work for a large corporation for three months last year, helping them to finish a large project. Two weeks after starting there, I received a better offer from another company. This offer had the possibility of going full time. I turned the offer down because I had already made a commitment, and my boss would’ve been in a bind if I had left. I told my boss about this and she thanked me for sticking around. People praised my work and my boss gave me a favorable review.

Months later I applied for a full-time position with her company in another department, but I couldn’t get past the human resources screener. My former boss ignored my emails asking her about this position, as well as my request to use her as a reference. Out of all the people I worked with at her company, she’s the only one who refused a LinkedIn connection.

Should I send her an email, asking what’s going on, and why the change of attitude?

I’ve had other situations where I’ve received a better offer shortly after starting a new job, but loyalty is important to me and I always honor my commitments. It’s a shame that others don’t reciprocate.

The Contractor

Dear Contractor: If you are a freelance contractor, your reputation (and your paycheck) rests on you completing the task for which you were hired. Presumably, in accepting an assignment you have also tacitly agreed to a contract specifying the scope of the assignment. Leaving before you are done to accept a better-paying freelance gig could lead you to being in breach. The exception to this would be if you were offered a full-time position elsewhere. If you couldn’t delay your start date, you might be forced to abandon your freelance assignment.

 

The reward for completing your assignment is that you were paid for the work you performed -- not some imagined reciprocal arrangement where you are granted loyalty points for doing a good job.

That having been said, many a full-time position has grown from a freelance assignment, and you are smart to peruse and pursue opportunities at companies where you have worked.

Yes, you could send another email to this manager, but NO, you should not frame this like, “Why the change in attitude?”

In your email, refresh the manager’s memory about who you are, and say, “Sorry to be so persistent, but I’m interested in applying for a position in [name the department]. I’m having trouble getting past the first round, and wonder if you have any ideas or suggestions that might help me to reach the right person.”

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