It’s fundraising week at Nevada Public Radio and since I’m an enthusiastic supporter, listener and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me fan, I received a call asking for additional support. The charming volunteer explained all the additional treats I’d receive and I found myself happily giving her my credit card information.

When that was concluded, she said, “We have a matching employer grant. So who’s your employer?”

That’s not a question I get asked very often so I hesitated for a moment before saying, “Barbara J Winter!” I said it with such gusto that it startled her (and me). She laughed, then apologized for doing so, then recovered and said, “Would she like to make a matching donation?” Then it was my turn to laugh. 

That brief encounter also was a reminder that we who are blazing new trails through self-employment must not be intimidated by our minority status.

People who are newly self-employed often find it uncomfortable to be asked, “So what do you do?” A man I knew in Santa Barbara confessed that he’d been self-employed for more than a year before he realized that he was answering that question by sheepishly mumbling, “I own my own business.” Then he’d add, “But I USED to be the director of the YMCA.”

Anyone who has taken the step out of mainstream employment to create something wonderful on their own should be eager to share that. Alice Barry goes a step farther. She told me that if she’s setting up an appointment or meeting she always adds, “I’m self-employed so I’m flexible.” 

Here in Joyfully Jobless Land, we’re not much for titles, but we do love stories. Even an ordinary question like, “What do you do?” can be an invitation to tell a short story. Once you know how to do that, you’ll find yourself welcoming such questions–no matter who is asking.

If you’d like to master telling your story, I know exactly the place you can do just that: Compelling Storytelling, December 2-4, Las Vegas.

Your job is to make your audience care about your obsessions. ~ Bruce Springsteen