Working for yourself - 6 Minute English


Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Georgina.

And I’m Rob.

Rob, what’s the best job youve ever had?

Err well, this one, of course! It’s very creative, with lots of variety.

OK, any other reasons?

Well yesit’s a permanent job - a staff job -

with regular income and a pension.

Yes, these things can be important, but have you ever been

freelanceby that I mean, working for yourself

and selling your skills and services to different businesses?

Well, I worked as a paperboy oncedelivering newspapers.

But not reallyit’s a risky way to earn an income.

It can be Rob.

But many people choose to, or have to work as a freelancer

to survive.

And that’s what were talking about in this programme.

But let’s start with a question for you, Rob.


This is about job titlesback in the 19th Century,

what kind of job was a drummer?

Were they… a) someone who played the drums?

b) a travelling salesman?,

or, c) a music publicistwho drums up

meaning encourages, support for a band?

Well, it’s got to be someone who plays the drums

that’s my kind of job.

OK, Rob, well find out if that’s right at the end of the programme.

But let’s talk more about work now.

Long gone are the days of a job for life,

where you spent your adult life working your way up

the career ladder at the same company.

Yes, that’s right.

We work in many different ways now because the needs of

businesses change frequently and it needs to be agile

changing the size and type of work force in order to meet demand.

So, people need to adapt and some choose to work for

themselves, offering their skills to different businesses

as and when they are needed.

But it can also be a lifestyle choice, as were about to find out.

Yes, some people have chosen to become self-employed

working for themselves - but also, because of the recent

coronavirus pandemic, some people have been

forced into this situation.

Let’s hear from Carla Barker, who set up her own business

after giving up her regular job.

She told BBC Radio 4’s programme You and Yours how she felt

You know the idea of giving up a solid, permanent,

full-time, paid, comfortable, role is a bit petrifying

It is super-scary becauseyou then have that fear of

oh my goodness can we do this’?

You also have things creeping in that say you know

like self-sabotageare you good enough to do this?

Are people going to want to take me on as a business?

So, Carla decided to go it alone

an informal way of saying work for herself.

She described giving up a full-time job as petrifying

so frightening you can’t speak or move.

She may have been exaggerating slightly

but she also said it wassuper-scary’!

I guess working for yourself must be scary

as youre solely responsible for your own success.

It’s no surprise Carla had feelings of self-sabotage

having doubts and fears that stopped her achieving something.

Luckily, she persisted and things went well.

And many other people who have become self-employed

or freelance have overcome the fear and discovered the benefits.

Like Fiona Thomas, who’s the author of a book called

Ditch the 9 to 5 and be your Own Boss’.

She also spoke to the BBC’s You and Yours programme

and explained why she gave up the 9 to 5 –

the regular, full-time staff joband how it helped her

A kind of combination of wanting some creative

fulfilment from a job, compared to the job that I was in

before, which was very much customer based and working

face-to-face in hospitality.

But I also wanted the flexibility to accommodate

my mental health because I suffer from depression and

anxiety and I found working in a rigid schedule and being in

front of a lot of people all the time really

exacerbated a lot of my symptoms.

And I also wanted the financial freedom to be able to,

over time, increase my income without

just having to wait on being promoted or getting a

pay rise in traditional employment.

So, working for herself gave Fiona a good feeling

that she achieved something she wanted to do

it gave her creative fulfilment.

It also meant she could work more flexibly

and that helped her with her mental health

because she didn’t have to follow a fixed rota of tasks.

And it gave her financial freedom

meaning the money she earned was not controlled

by someone else, and she didn’t have to wait

for someone else to give her a pay rise.

Of course, that can be risky too.

Let’s get back to my quiz question now, Rob.

Earlier I asked you if you knew what job a

drummer used to do back in the 19th Century?

And obviously, a drummer plays the drums!

Well, you are sort of right but a drummer

also used to be an informal way of describing a

travelling salespersonbecause their job was to

drum up business for a company

meaning they tried to increase sales.

Ahh very interesting, although I know which

drummer I would rather bea freelance drummer in a rock band!

And freelance is one of the words weve mentioned today.

To freelance means to work for yourself, selling your skills

or services to different businesses.

Becoming self-employed can be petrifyingfrightening,

so you can’t speak or move.

And starting out on your own can lead to self-sabotage

having doubts and fears that stop you achieving something.

But it can also give you fulfilment

a good feeling of achieving something for yourself.

And having financial freedom means being able to

control how you earn and use your money.

That’s it for this programme.

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