Say what you will about the life of a contractor, it's full of surprises. A seasoned veteran of the work-for-hire world, Don knew every gig came with a new environment and new people. So even though Inverness is no Edinburgh or Glasgow (it's more like the Scottish equivalent of Boise, Idaho), Don put his CV in for an IT manager role out there anyway. He was ready for anything... except his first phone call with Gordon, the company's hiring manager.

"I'm sorry," Gordon interrupted Don in mid-sentence, "you're a contractor?"

"That's right. More a consultant really, you see, I've worked for clients of all sizes, and-"

"You see, that's going to be a problem."

"Oh. Yeah?" Don's response was the verbal equivalent of a shrug; the job listing hadn't said NO CONTRACTORS.

"Yes, a problem. You see, I'm looking for someone who's going to stay with us a long time."

Don smiled to himself. He knew just the sort of contractor the hiring manager was afraid of, and happily reassured him. "A long time? Try me: I'm happy to work with a good client on extended engagements."

Gordon harrumphed. "Seven years."

The line was silent as the long, slow Inverness years unrolled in Don's imagination. How many visits would it take, he wondered, before even storied Loch Ness would be just another lake to shiver beside, gazing at the tourists and longing for the great wide world to which they would be lucky enough to return...

"Still there?" The sound of the hiring manager's voice shook Don free of his vision.

"Yes, sorry. I-"

"Good. You see, Don, I have a seven-year plan. I need a development manager who can commit to see my vision all the way through. Is that you?"

"Well-" Before Don could say "absolutely not", his interlocutor cut in once again.

"I thought I had something with the last fellow: eleven years at one firm in the same job, you see?"

"Is that... is that so?" Don wondered where this was going. He certainly didn't have any engagements that extended on his CV, and didn't intend to start with this one.

"Yes, seemed ideal. But it turned out he'd had two further jobs in just the past year alone! Due to redundancies, or some such thing. You see? Inability to commit!"

"I suppose I can see how that would be a problem," Don said. He couldn't see that, actually, but hoped if he kept the conversation going, an opportunity to politely exit would appear. Before seven years had passed. "So you're looking for someone who has had the same role for the past decade, or had multiple roles but within the same company?"

"That's right. Well, almost: the ideal candidate for this position would have held onto that role, you see? Held on tight."

"And that role, I suppose, would have to be exactly the same as what you're hiring for now?"

"Correct."

"Then I can see why my experience as a contractor would be a problem." Don saw his exit, and eagerly took it. "Thank you for your consideration, and good luck finding a candidate with the right... uh, motivation."