One of the great things about having a spouse that works in the corporate world is the support you may receive, financially and emotionally. One of the worst things about having a spouse in the corporate world is the support you may have to give, which sometimes includes being present at corporate social gatherings. And this is the situation I found myself in the other day.
I enjoy talking with people – whether they enjoy it as much as I do is irrelevant – but in a corporate environment, I don’t want to do or say anything that might cause my wife any discomfort at the office. So, I try and stay as quiet as possible. Usually there are plenty of snacks to keep my mouth busy, but on this particular event, her boss managed to catch me without a petit-four in sight.
After a bit of chit-chat, he asked about my current career. He wanted to know where I was working, and how business was there. I explained that I am a writer, and I that I write web copy, blog posts, newsletters, ebooks, and more. He listened for a moment, and then deduced that I am unhappily unemployed, but since my wife is a superstar in their company, perhaps he could find me a role within their corporation.
Thus started a painful conversation where I explained that business was doing very well, and I was very happy doing what I am doing. Needless to say, he couldn’t wrap his head around it. So I tried to frame it in a way that he would understand.
As soon as I told him that I was “self-employed,” you could almost see the light bulb of understanding turn on. Almost.
Websters defines a freelancer as “a person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer.”
And self-employed is defined as “earning income directly from one’s own business, trade, or profession rather than as a specified salary or wages from an employer.”
I don’t see a difference, but it certainly changes the conversation. Not only did my wife’s boss suddenly understand what I do, he wants to know what I can do for their new website.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the fuzzy bunny slippers…
So, dear audience, are you a freelancer or are you self-employed?