Re: IBM at its best !!!
I left in 2005 when there was a separation package slightly more generous than the statutory minimum. I thought I would be denied again, but as it happened, my manager, his manager and HIS manager were all taking the package, so they were quite willing to let me go since it wouldn't impact them personally. I was on my honeymoon in Cornwall, driving around in a rented E-type Jaguar when I got the news that I would be accepted. It was a very Good Thing; bumpy times occasionally in the meantime - contracts renewed on the Friday afternoon to start again the following Monday on a monthly basis (you learn to live with it), a long period of self-unemployment, a permanent job with the NHS for six years, and now back contracting, with some decent flexibility about when and where I work. I've also learned my lesson from the past, and now I have three - sometimes four - separate contracts with different organisations for some of my time, rather than being 100% committed to one customer. I probably don't bring in as much as I used to, but it keeps me busy enough, and the variety is good.
One disappointment I had about contracting when I was new to it, was never seeing any particular project from womb to tomb. Always invited in once a project had got into difficulties, and let go once it was back on track again. However the new, contracty/consultingy arrangements I have mean I am involved much longer on projects.