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Short for "That's not in my contract."

This Stock Phrase is something you'll hear said by a character who is motivated entirely by 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 Minions who has standards he won't cross. 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 Not What I Signed on For, Against My Religion, Jerkass Genie, Rules Lawyer.

Examples of Not in My Contract include:


  • 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."

  • 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.

Tabletop Games

  • 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.

Live-Action TV

  • 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."

  • 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."

Western Animation

Video Games

  • In World of Warcraft, one of the vocal emotes a Warlock's imp will say when you order it to attack is "This was NOT IN MY CONTRACT!"

Web Comics

 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.

Real Life

  • 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!"
  • Unionized employees occasionally pull this, but nowhere near as often as Anti-Union Conservatives would imply.
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