Contractor Glory Days | The glory days of IT contracting

contractor glory days
The days of Punched Cards and the IBM370

Contractor Glory Days

Do you remember the IT Contractor Glory Days?

I remember when I first called up an agency about IT contracting.

I had been in the business for five and a half years as an employee for three different companies.

I felt it was time. No, in fact I felt I wanted to earn more money.

I was astonished by the sums quoted for IT contractors – which were more than double what I was earning as an employee.

IT Contractor Skills

I thought that this was too good to be true and that the agent would laugh at me when I phoned.

I sneaked out of work to make a call at a phone box rather than do it from work.

To my surprise the agent was quite friendly and didn‘t seem surprised at all that someone with my skills should want to go contract.

So why did I want to go contracting in the first place?

Contractor Money

I never made any bones at interviews that I went to as a contractor when they asked why I wanted to be a contractor.

It was the money. I might as well state that up front. ‘Besides that’ they would ask.

I could never think of anything else, and wondered why this was not a good enough reason.

I always felt like saying, that if X person was going to pay me Y to do a job and somebody else was going to pay me 2Y to do pretty much the same thing, then I would always pick the 2Y.

What explanation was needed?

Those were the IT contractor glory days.

IT Department

‘Aren‘t you ambitious’ they would ask. Yes I was – but not to be a senior person in an IT department.

So, I suppose there was a second subconscious reason why I wanted to go contract.

I wasn‘t interested in rising up the tree at Barclays Bank or the other two companies that I worked at.

It must be soul-destroying to come in every day working towards a promotion that might and might not come in a year, or even several years, down the line.

IT Contractor Fee

No, as a contractor, you agreed a fee and then you could relax for a few months till you got close to the renewal date.

The job you had to do, and the manager that you had, was the motivator or de-motivator.

You could come in at nine o‘clock in the morning, and leave at five o‘clock in the evening – and never think about it again until you came in the next morning in the contractor glory days.

For ambitious people in a permanent position, it is much more difficult to leave the job behind.

It‘s also difficult to leave by five o‘clock.

Life of an IT Contractor

As a contractor, you could meet up with your mates afterwards, have a few beers, have a good time, and not worry how much you were spending, as you were earning money faster than you could spend it.

If you stayed out late in the evening and couldn‘t be bothered with getting a bus or the tube home, no problem – you could just jump in a taxi and be home in a quarter of an hour or so.

That was the life in the IT contractor glory days!

Flinging Money at IT Contractors

In the old contractor glory days, we used to think that our ship had come in – that we couldn‘t quite understand how people were flinging so much money at us.

We couldn‘t spend it all.

In the downturn of 90/92 many contractors thought that Nemesis had come, that we had had it too good for so long.

They were saying that the good times were over.

They were wrong, as so many of you who have turned contractor in the mid to late nineties know.

Also, the doom mongers were wrong about the downturn of the early noughties – although the market is nowhere near where it was in the late nineties.

Old Time IT Contractors

So have the contractor glory days gone of IT workers in their early twenties to early thirties hitting the town with more money than they can spend?


If so, the old timers in the profession can happily regale the youngsters with tales of when IT was king, when they always had a wad of twenties in their pockets, and when it was difficult to struggle in before ten o‘clock after a night on the town.

Ah! Those were the IT contractor glory days!

Will they no‘ come back again.

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