Job search after a burned bridge?

Post date: 2021-10-23 05:58:56
Views: 10
I recently quit a software engineering 'lead' job and left in acrimony. I was performing quite well, but due to the structure of the engagement (I was a sub-sub contractor), there were completely misaligned incentives and direction, and I was struggling to get the 'powers that be' to communicate with me about a recent forced increase in job scope and associated compensation concerns. I'd like to know how to approach this now that I am looking for a 'next thing'.

Some context:

I have ~20y experience in my industry, and have a resume that demonstrates my seniority and skill. I took 2-3 years off, ending in 2018/19, to be the primary caregiver to my wife who later passed from cancer. I also took 2020 off to work on a personal project. Since I've re-entered the workforce (both times as a remote contractor to UK software companies), I've struggled to find a 'fit'.

I started my most recent job as a contract developer, but the working circumstance changed, and expectations were that I would now be working 10+h/d, most of it in client facing 'leadership', 'alignment' and 'planning' meetings. I was very successful in this role but wanted some clarity on the duties, vision, and compensation. For over two months I chased my 'leadership' for a discussion on the new role, and was ignored or given contradictory information every time i contacted them. At one point I paid out-of-pocket to fly to London to meet with them on a promise of discussing 'profit sharing', and I was rebuffed again in person.

Eventually, after finding that some other employees were also being given a run around and treated poorly, I, in a moment of anger, submitted my resignation overnight, without discussion. I also expressed my frustration to a friend who worked at the client that I was 'on site' with.

This all kind of blew up by the next morning, and I received a lot of angry words from the agency that I was contracting to. Things did *not* get resolved in an amicable way, though I did finish out my notice period professionally, completing the work assigned to me in anticipation of another senior contractor's return.

I have already submitted an application to a new position that may be a very good fit (full time, direct contract, good working conditions), and the resume I sent includes this last contract, as I think it's important to show that I have been exercising my skills lately. I don't, however, feel comfortable connecting them with this agency for a reference, and I'm not sure how to communicate that.

Have you ever gone through something like this? How did you handle it? I believe I can use colleagues & even some of the employees of the eventual client as references, but I'm not sure how to position this if they ask me 'hard questions' about my last employer.

I don't think it's appropriate at all for me to ask the last employer their stance on this, and would really like to just put the whole thing behind me. Hope me, Metafilter!
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