I initially resisted contract work, because I thought that it was mostly click-monkey manual testing, and I wanted something more interesting. This turns out to be absolutely not true- I have done more automation and planning in my first two and a half week at my current (temp) position than I did in my year at my previous job, and I have a lot more responsibility (in a good way). It may partly be a function of size: large companies hire temps mostly to do work they don't want to waste a full time employee on, small companies hire temps to smooth out variations in their work flow without taking on a major obligation.
On the other hand, being a temp lawyer sounds like exactly what I pictured for programming, and I didn't even know that click monkey was even an option for lawyers. Tom the Temp makes me glad I didn't choose law the way Young Female Scientist makes me glad I didn't choose academia. To be fair, lawyer temps are bored and mistreated at $35/hour, which is a hell of a lot better than what some people have. Even people with years of post-graduate education. But it still sounds hellish.