Re: Year Off
Same with me. I was contracting for an oil company which shall remain nameless (but they sold Petroleum which was British) who outsourced their Downstream IT teams to Oracle ('downstream' refers to anything to do with the oil once it leaves the wellhead).
I was originally slated to go to Oracle until someone in a meeting asked "So who will support our legacy tools?", and I had my transfer revoked.
As it happened, nobody ever needed support for the legacy tools, many of which were quickly replaced with new apps from Oracle, and I spent the next year in a fully equipped IT centre (120 desks each with a PC and a telephone), on my own, doing support work and small projects for outside companies and continuing to be paid by, well, lets call them BP. Halfway through the year, the guy who was nominally my manager took me to the pub for lunch so we could negotiate my contract rate, and I spent the next 6 months doing very little at rate + 30%.
Eventually I was incorporated into the COE team, which was made up primarily of DOS and UNIX coders with a smattering of server engineers, where I continued with my side projects for the very good reason that my colleagues had no idea what I did or who I did it for.
Ah, happy days.