Monday, 21 August 2000
A leaf tumbles in the wind. Odd, as summer has just started, at last. I'm relaxing in the hammock, enjoying the sun. But the trees won't get fooled that easily. They know that the end of summer is near and drop their leaves.

Suppose you are born as tree, I ponder. Root once and get stuck at the spot for life. It wouldn't be for me. I prefer a more mobile existence. A tree life is too boring for me, too predictable. Being self employed I'm used to uncertainty, to a continuously changing environment, with all it's risks.

In most countries it's quite simple to run a business. There are only two possibilities:

  1. You make a profit and remain in business,
  2. or you loose money and quit.
These two possibilities are way to simple for the Dutch. In this country it's only O.K. to be grey. A business man that makes very good or very bad money does not fit in the general, rooted way of thinking. Here the most important thing is to comply with rules, be recognised by the tax department's ( criteria and again by the social security services with yet other criteria.

For me all those criteria are history. Fortunately there is still enough uncertainty.

  • What is the skill level at an customer?
  • Is it a fun place to work?
  • Does the work fascinate me?
  • Is their office easy to reach?
  • Will they pay my invoices in time?
  • etc, etc.
All these uncertainties are part of the game. They bring a bit of tension, a sniff of adventure in this ever so boring country.

Meanwhile the international manpower shortage drives the market nuts. Last week I received requests for manpowert from Sydney, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Dublin and The Hague. Most customers are solution driven, talk about possibilities, skills, experience, interests, my rate, availability, etc.

There was just one customer nagging about rules and criteria. Yes indeed, the one from Holland. It was outside his rooted way of thinking that someone could enjoy the dynamics of self employment. This customer first offered me temporary employment, and then suggested to check the tax departments criteria again. A Dutchy, tangles in his own roots. His lack of practical experience made him quite nervous, almost panicking when he was confronted with unknown rules.

I try to ignore this nagging as much as possible. This type of panicking customers reminds me of an old protest song of the Dutch artist Robert Long: Fear is all it is, it's all fear, Mr. Big Mouth is often scared the most ... Fear today? Go and ... (.../allemaal_angst.txt - sorry all Dutch).

This Nuttree refuses to take root, is allergic to certainty. No more grounding place for me. Being self employed is too much fun. I don't know where I'll be next week, and I don't have to. It's not a lack of planning, but an maximum of flexibility.

Till next week!