Not in My Contract
Short for "That's not in my contract."
This Stock Phrase
is something you'll hear said by a character who is Only in It for the Money
. He isn't doing it for the evil thrills
or to find a Worthy Opponent
, he just wants a paycheck and doesn't really care if it's the good guys
or the villains
who pay. The character usually says this Stock Phrase
when his boss asks him to do something that is not in his contract
, such as a fight during off hours, chasing the President's daughter, or if he's moral enough, killing someone.
On other occasions it may be phrased differently, such as a question about just where in the contract does it say that the character has to do something, or a clause that states the character can refuse
to do something. Particularly amoral examples may rely on an Exact Words
interpretation of their contract (à la
"You said I had to deliver the MacGuffin
. You never said it had to be in one piece.")
As such, this can be a form of Zeroth Law Rebellion
for an evil minion
who has standards he won't violate
. Or who is just too darn lazy
to take initiative on things that, though not explicitly in his job description, would make his master's life much easier.
Of course, all the feigned apathy tends to go out the window once he extorts a juicy pay raise or concession
by haggling with his boss over a price for his new job duty.
Compare Against My Religion
, Bothering by the Book
, Jerkass Genie
, and Rules Lawyer
. If the dispute is a serious conflict over goals and methods rather than a petty squabble over duties and compensation, it's Not What I Signed On For
- In one of Scrooge's treasure hunts, Huey, Dewey and Louie scared away Rockerduck's guards by dressing as ghosts. Their excuse for abandoning their boss was that fighting ghosts wasn't in the contract.
- Alien. The crew is woken up and told to check out a distress signal.
Parker: "I hate to bring this up but, uh, this is a commercial ship, not a rescue ship... and it's not in my contract to do this kind of duty. Now what about the money? If you wanna give me some money to do it, I'll be happy to, uh, t-to, you know, oblige."
- He is promptly reminded that ignoring a distress call voids the contract. No money.
- Backdraft: The scene takes place in a morgue.
Rimgale: (waves McCaffrey over toward a corpse) "McCaffrey, come on over and give us a hand."
McCaffrey: "No, I don't think so. Not in my contract."
Rimgale: (throws medical gloves at him) "I just rewrote your contract. Come give us a hand."
- In Major League, prissy third baseman Roger Dorn points out to Coach Lou Brown that his contract specifically says that he [Dorn] doesn't have to do calisthenics. In response, Brown literally pisses on Dorn's contract, then orders Dorn to do the calisthenics.
- In the First Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, it is stated that expert hirelings (like carpenters, miners, engineers, alchemists and so on) will recognize when they're assigned to hazardous duty and demand up to 30 times their normal pay before they'll perform it.
- During Galaxy of Fear, an Anzati is once hired to take out an assassin before she can kill the protagonists, who are in a very dangerous place. He does so, and since they run when they see him feeding on her he takes the trouble to catch up to them and explain, but then refuses to help further and departs, saying he was hired to take out the assassin and that is all.
- In one episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, Johnny Fever is asked to assist with a Public Service interview program. He loudly retorts, "I don't do Public Service... it's in my contract." When he's reminded that he doesn't have a contract, Johnny responds, "Well, if I did have a contract, I'm sure that would be in there somewhere."
- In Babylon 5, Michael Garibaldi invokes this trope while complaining about the restricted nature of the food available on the station, and why he spends a lot of his own money importing his own cuisine:
Garibaldi: "You know, I've been stuck in this tin can for three years. I haven't taken a vacation. Okay, okay, it's my fault, I had the leave coming, I just didn't take it. And the pay sucks, I knew that when I signed on! And nobody said I'd survive the job! Now, I give you all that. But where in my contract does it say I have to eat the same food... every day... for three years."
Sheridan: Paragraph 47, subsection 19, clause 9A, you can find it in the index under S.U.A.E.I.
- Used in the TV version of Stephen King's The Stand, when Dr. Dietz is explaining to Stu Redman that he doesn't have the superflu:
Dr. Dietz: (enters Stu's room in a full isolation suit, carrying a guinea pig in a cage) "I'd like you to meet a friend of mine. Meet Geraldo."
Stu Redman: "Geraldo, huh?"
Dietz: "Um-hmm. Now, the virus your fellow townspeople contracted passes easily from human to guinea pig, and vice versa, presumably. But Geraldo has been breathing your air, via convector, for the last three days. And Geraldo is fine and frisky, as you see. I'd call that rather comforting, wouldn't you?"
Redman: (looks the doctor up and down, obviously taking in the isolation suit) "I see you're not taking any chances."
Dietz: "That's not in my contract."
- Schlock Mercenary had fun with this (what would you expect from mercenaries?):
Captain Tagon: Commodore, if you wanted us to prop up the faction of your choice you should have put that in the contract.
UNS Commodore: You might have found our choice... objectionable.
Captain Tagon: Then we would have asked for more money.
UNS Commodore: Mercenaries...
Captain Tagon: You get what you pay for.
- Truth in Television, but the only people who think it makes you a bastard are those who've never worked on contract — it's hard to say just why giving a client an hour's work for free is guaranteed to make them want ten more hours for free, and just as certainly get pissed off when that free work doesn't materialize, but it is far, far more the rule than the exception.
- The common military expression is "Above my pay grade" meaning that a matter is to be decided from on high by the powers that be. No dice for stretching the contract, unless an order comes, that is.
- During an interview just after the release of the Goblet of Fire film, Emma Watson was asked about the future possibility of making out with either Daniel Radcliffe or Rupert Grint onscreen. Her response: "Oh my God, no, no chance, no chance. That's not in my contract!"
- Considering she then had to do both (Radcliffe in DH Part 1, Grint in Part 2), this statement is Hilarious in Hindsight.
- Unionized employees occasionally pull this. As do non-unionized contractors.
- Justified in that insurers don't always have to pay out for problems resulting from contractors doing work they weren't supposed to be doing.