Postcard from a contractor

A long time ago, on another continent, I was an IT contractor working at a major high street bank. The work was actually better than you'd expect, preparing IBM RS6000's for installation into branches with some X-Windows development on the side.

The agency wasn't bad either, they got me the job, paid regularly and then stayed in the background. There were a couple of dozen contractors in the development centre all through the same agency, and it was one of those rare occasions with no complaints. Then things changed.

One day we started getting phone calls from a new consultant at the agency (why are these people always "consultants"?) which was a surprise in itself. For some reason I got more of the calls than the others, perhaps my sparkling personality came through!

One of the more memorable calls came in while I had an RS6000 in pieces, and didn't have that much time to configure the system to meet the bank security requirements, so I wasn't happy with a call from someone telling me what a good job he was doing. Understand, this guy wasn't around when I got the job, he'd joined the agency recently. I found out later than he used to be a salesman selling frozen fish, and one day he decided that body-shopping IT contractors would make more money, and he was probably right.

To get him off the phone I said I didn't appreciate the continual calls. When he argued I pointed out that he was behaving no better than a cheap pimp. When I hung up, my mate laughed and asked what that made me.

That afternoon, I called my ISP and changed my username to hooker , and that's how it stayed for almost 20 years.


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