Mercenary Contractors vs Mercenary Employers – A Personal Account (II)


This article is in response to the previous personal account of the current problems facing contractors. Please keep these articles coming – this is your site so use it to get your views and experiences heard.

I think this story is an all too familiar one for many IT contractors. I would also add that I know of several permies who have been made redundant over the last 12 months too, and the one’s in employ are scared witless about losing their jobs.

I am a certified Lotus Notes Developer (PCLP and CLP) with 5 years experience and I have been unable to find a contract in the last 15 months!

During the last 15 months I have blown away my life’s savings of 20K and had to re-mortgage the house to put food on my family’s table. I have already spent a further 15K of the re-mortgage money.

My pension is wholly with Equitable Life and this looks like going down the pan!

I am aged 48 years old and have over 26 years industry experience with an honours degree in Computer Science from Manchester University. I know PC’s inside and out having built and tested over 1000 IBM compatibles. I have been programming since the year dot with experience of many, many languages, from machine code to powerful SQL RDBMS’s and have many published game titles to my credit. But this is not enough to get a job in IT. Permanent or Contract.

My last contract finished on Friday 7th September 2001, just 4 days before the twin towers were attacked. Little did I know at the time just how much that incident was to impact my own personal life, although irrelevant compared to those who lost their lives and loved one’s.

I am fortunate enough to have had an offer from my brother to join him as a trainee mortgage broker, and this is what I am currently doing until the market improves.

I am astounded at how this government can relax work permit visas for foreign workers when there is a huge stockpile of British IT candidates begging for work. Then increase taxation on those lucky enough to find work by introducing IR35.

Oh and to top it all why don’t we slap on an extra 1% National Insurance tax to boot. I heard over the weekend that with the introduction of this NI hike (indirect form of taxation) that the UK will become the highest taxed nation in Europe, even exceeding Germany! And this government is going to have to raise income taxes at some stage to pay off the £18 billion that Mr. Brown has recently borrowed because of his inability to look after the purse strings!

Absolute insanity, You can’t even go to the loo without paying tax (there’s tax on the water supply – VAT).

Sadly, this country is going down the toilet – but not before you’ve paid the tax!!!

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