The Big Lie, IT contracting edition

It's early days in this pilot fish's career as an IT contractor, and he gets hired for a gig that's just three months long -- but the recruiter for the consulting company tells him not to fret.

"I was a bit concerned about the brevity of the contract," says fish. "The recruiter assured me, 'Don't worry, when your contract is close to completion, we start looking for another contract for you. Then when you roll off one contract, we're ready to roll you onto the next one.'

"I believed her, so when I completed the project early -- coded, tested, fully documented == and the client said, 'Thanks! Great work! We're ending your contract today and you can leave at lunch,' I immediately contacted the recruiter."

Hey, I completed the work and the customer just ended the contract, fish tells her.


But you already started looking for my next contract, right? I'm available now!

"Uh, we don't have any customers right now who need your skill set."

Which is a problem, because as fish already knows -- but didn't think mattered because after all the recruiter told him that when one gig was about to end they'd line up the next gig for him -- there's a non-compete clause in the contract he signed with the consultancy.

And it says he can't work for a competitor for six months. And if the consultancy doesn't have work lined up for him, that's a lot like saying fish can't work anywhere in the area for half a year.

"I demanded they send me a letter releasing me from my contract, specifying I was no longer being held to the non-compete clause," fish says. "They actually did send me this letter, so I could go work for a consulting firm that actually had customers with whom they could place me.

"And the next time a recruiter tried to give me the Big Lie of IT Consulting -- 'When your contract is about to end, we line up the next contract for you' -- I just laughed."

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