Oliff’s Life

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A holiday of any description from the never-ending daily working trudge is generally accepted as an oasis, a time put aside for recuperation: the charging of our mental and physical batteries.

However, along with being self-employed for as many years as I care to remember, I’ve relinquished the luxury of statutory holiday periods and, more importantly, pay.

I can’t recall the last time that I casually flicked through a catalogue of Greek or Spanish package holidays in the sure knowledge that once chosen, my selected jaunt to carefree jollity will be subsidised by anyone other than myself.

Moreover, it’s virtually impossible for me to pick specific future dates within a 12-month period when I can be certain that there will be enough funds in the pot to subsidise what has become nothing less than absolute luxury.

Extreme terms: I know, but at a time of such economic uncertainty, those that are self-employed are especially left feeling exposed and very vulnerable to the fragility of an economy that makes little or no financial provision for the millions of small one-man-band traders in the UK.

It’s worth remembering that not all self-employed people are millionaires and live in big houses.

If anything it’s the absolute opposite.

Often they are the folk that clean the windows on the big houses, walk the dogs of the owners who live in big houses or clean the toilets of the people who live in big houses.

Many will earn little more than the equivalent of the minimum wage, yet they still pay tax, run vehicles and go shopping. So why do they do it?

Well, in my experience, as soon as I reached a certain age it became searingly clear to me that as a potential employee, I had become almost invisible.

If I was going to get any money at all I’d have to go it alone. I’m frighteningly employable with a work ethic second to none. Would anyone employ me? No chance.