As you may or may not know, Las Vegas was particularly hard hit during the economic downturn. Consequently, the local news featured at least one Job Fair being held in the city every week.

Long lines of folks showed up for the slim chance of procuring one of the few job openings. It was all rather glum.

During one such news story, a question popped into my head. “Why isn’t anyone talking about alternatives to getting a job?” I was talking about that, of course, but I couldn’t just ramble down Las Vegas Blvd. sharing that option.

Then the idea of creating a really informative event started to take shape. I envisioned an Un-Job Fair where people could learn a about self-employment in one day.

What are the myths and misconceptions about working for yourself? How do you get started? What legal obligations do you have? What kinds of businesses are easy to open?

As I was playing with this notion, I happened to have lunch with Don Woodruff, an old friend from the adult ed circuit. Don had been living in Las Vegas, too, but was headed to Denver.

At our farewell lunch, I shared my idea about the Un-Job Fair. He liked the idea as much as I did.

A few weeks later, I heard from Don who had contacted Helen Hand at Colorado Free University and told her about this wild notion of mine. She loved it, too, and decided to sponsor the first Un-Job Fair.

Helen tapped into her talent bank of teachers and soon had a great line-up of workshops. Steve Veltcamp and I flew in for the event and were thrilled at the response.

Not only were the workshops a wonderful blend of topics, I loved lunchtime when small groups of participants gathered on the lawns and got to know their fellow seekers over a picnic lunch.

Another highlight came as the day ended with a panel of speakers answering questions from the students.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when CFU decided to do it the following year. And the one after that.

On May 31, the fifth Un-Job Fair is happening again and if you’re in the area and want to gather tools for your own Joyfully Jobless Journey, this is the place to be.

See what’s in store at the Un-Job Fair and register now.

Tomorrow I head out for the Un-Job Fair in Denver. Usually the day before such a trip is spent getting ready to travel.

My wardrobe has been chosen, the notes for my opening speech, Why Aren’t We All Self-employed?, and my afternoon workshop, Building a Winning Portfolio, are packed. My boarding pass is printed.

That was the easy part.

Since this trip involves nearly ten hours in airports and on planes, a great deal of thought went into picking the perfect travel companion.

For me, having a nicer flight begins with bringing along a book I’ve been dying to read. After all, I seldom have ten hours of nearly uninterrupted time to hang out with a great story so I do not take the selection of my travel reading lightly.

I also do not leave this decision to chance hoping to grab something acceptable at the airport shop—unless I’m in the mood to cuddle up with Vanity Fair. Like many trips, this one includes a novel that I’ve recently rediscovered.

An early mentor of mine used to remind me that the biggest influences in our lives are the people we meet and the books that we read. I’ve kept that in mind ever since I first heard it. I am not about to spend my time with the mental equivalent of airport food.

Bringing along the right book not only enhances my flying time, it also helps ensure that I’ll arrive at my destination in a happier state of mind.

This month we’ll be exploring the connection between reading and the Joyfully Jobless life. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite reads and reminding you that it’s important to read for inspiration as well as information.

If you’re already an enthusiastic reader, your To Read List may grow longer.

If reading isn’t part of your business plan, I’ll do my best to convince you that your life and your enterprises will be richer if you take it up. It’s not just an airplane journey that gets better with the right book companion.

As the oh-so-entrepreneurial Walt Disney once said, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island…and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”