Sacked from Graphic Design job in probation period - can anyone offer advice?

Mushy Peas

New Member
I've been working in house or 4 and years and recently left to work for an design agency. 6 weeks into the role and I was ask to leave on Tuesday, reason being for my speed and accuracy. I was told that had I been there 6 months ago they would have given me more time to find my feet but because they are so busy it wasn't working. The Director told me he thought my work was good and that he'd provide me with a good written reference. He also said that he'd be happy to go along with the story that I was freelancing there in order to make finding a new job not so hard. He said that I should try freelancing, something I've not really done before.

I've just called up an recruitment agency and asked about putting myself forward for freelance work and was asked if I was a sole trader or limited company - embarrassingly I wasn't sure what this meant and he abruptly ended the conversation. If I'm telling prospective recruitment agencies that I freelance, won't they want to contact the agency I was last working with? Can anyone offer advice on how to get work quickly and how to sell my story without getting caught out?

Any advice would be welcome - I'm quite devastated by the situation.

Paul Murray

Staff member
If you don't know if you're a sole trader or a limited company then you're neither as you have to apply to be one or the other in order to work for yourself (though technically if you own a limited company you work for that company). I suspect the reason the recruiter ended the conversation is because if you're not registered as a sole trader and thus not filling in tax returns each year, they can't put you forward for jobs because you're technically working illegally (or at the least will cause problems for their clients). If you also can't answer a basic question like that, they probably questioned if you really are a freelancer.

Just be honest, if you're not freelancing, why tell people you are? Tell the truth – you were let go during your probation period because your previous employer didn't have the resources available to properly induct you, and are seeking employment again. Trying to hide or bluff your history or claiming to be something you're not will only come back to bite you on the arse when you get discovered. And you will get discovered.

It sounds to me like you're not yet prepared to freelance full time so I would highly advise against it at this stage. Freelancers are brought in for expertise and to finish jobs quickly and on time. If you get brought in to do that and you can't, you likely won't get a position again and you'll have even less work than you do now. Plus, there's a whole load of additional stress with not knowing when the next job is coming in, or when that invoice will be paid. I wouldn't recommend anyone dives straight into freelancing without having at least one steady source of income to support it.

Mushy Peas

New Member
Thanks for your feedback. While I appreciate your advice about telling the truth I’ve already been in touch with several recruitment agents with this story. If they follow up I could say that I was working on a short term contract for the company which doesn’t put me in the awkward position of being a sole trader etc. Do you think that sounds more legitimate? The Director has sent me a reference letter saying that I’m a talented designer and I worked well with the team. He said he would back me up on this story.

Minuteman Press

Active Member
As Paul says, tell the truth. A web of lies is not the best route to a new career. If I found out you'd lied I would sack you. Dishonesty in business is dispicable. You need to work professionaly and to a strict morale code; if you do not, you should not be in business.

Do you think that sounds more legitimate?
The clue is that you have to ask this question. Be honest. It's really not difficult.


Staff member
If you're still cool with the Director then I'd just say they it was a temp role and move on.

This is just a glitch and will be less and less important as time goes on.

What would you like to do?
Get another job for give freelancing a go?

Freelancing requires a fair bit of experience as you're expected to either get the job done or have a bit of a niche/speciality.
You kind of have to be better than the in-houser's or provide something they don't have.