When I used to work for a company it was expected of me to be available for that is what I was getting paid for. Actually until I became self-employed eighteen years ago I was an employee of two different employers. When I became self-employed I did some work under contract for another company on a daily basis together with private work for anyone who wanted the use of my services. To be self-employed is to be in complete control of everything one does and the responsibility that comes with it but unless working under contract one isn’t obliged to undertake any offers of work if one chooses not to. In certain circumstances the hours worked can exceed those expected for a normal day’s work and it is sometimes necessary to be flexible. However it isn’t expected that being self-employed means being at the beck and call of all those who contact us. For certain things I will make myself readily available, emergencies and loss of power for instance. When the caller describes their problem I may offer to help them sort things out for themselves over the phone if it is feasible or at the very least as a temporary measure help them to get around a problem. If that can’t be done I will usually offer to call in person as long as I am not otherwise employed somewhere else. Some people are ready to take advantage of my readiness to help but I won’t be sucked into that. I think some people don’t realise that I have a life outside of work or like have free time for myself as they will expect me to drop everything to look after their needs. Most people are sensible and will call me at a respectable hour though some will call my home number during the working day expecting me to be at home! Occasionally I am, as I was on Monday at lunchtime when someone called regarding a total loss of power, which I attended upon. Just as I was about to leave the house someone else called regarding the total loss of power in their garage where they keep a food freezer. I went there too. Some people will call me on my mobile phone during the working day and expect me to spend ages on the phone discussing things with them regarding their needs instead of calling me at home when I will most likely be free to chat. One of the most infuriating things is when people call me very late in the evening. Fortunately those occurences are very few but on Sunday evening just before eleven o’clock and as I was about to get into bed I received such a call. The caller I could tell was obviously foreign because of his limited command of the English language. In essence he was asking me to check, repair or replace an outside floodlight which according to him had been broken. I think he meant vandalised. I had the feeling he was expecting me to do it then! I told him that I wouldn’t be climbing up ladders to repair lights in the foul weather we have been experiencing then or at any time. I asked him why he was calling at such a late hour and he told me that the light had just stopped working and he needed it fixing! What a cheek! I hung up the phone and got into bed. Did I do the job? What do you think?