Repeat after me: they're lying. Never forget that. The long-term, 50-hour project (maybe more) that I started yesterday turned out to be two weeks, 40 hours. For perspective, for those of you who don't do this for a living, 40 hours is slow death. Even an unmarried temp in the DC area will find that a 40-hour project leaves them strapped and, eventually, simply unable to pay the bills. You'll take one of you have to, but usually when and agency says no overtime, you just say no. That's why a lot of agencies will claim a project is 40 hours with the possibility of overtime. Remember, they're lying. Bever ever forget that, no matter what they tell you. If it turns out they're not lying, great, enjoy the moment. But the only way to survive this business is to assume they're lying. Project is 4 months? Cut that in half. They're lying. Unlimited overtime? Bullshit. They're lying. Assume they're lying and avoid disappointment. On the rare occasions they are not lying, it is simply that much more enjoyable.
Why the bitter rant? For this short-term, 40 hour project, I turned down a short-term, 80-hour project that would have rolled into something else once it was over. I gambled, I lost. Sucks to be me. Fear not. Like a phoenix, I shall rise again.