We used to joke that my younger brother Kevin was from the Dutch side of the family. We were Harbors and he was a Van Driver. Geddit?
Anyway, he drove a van for a living and one day, much to our surprise, Kevin announced that he was now self-employed.
In our late-1980s working class circle, this seemingly entrepreneurial break from the world of employment was as unusual as it was unexpected.
Except it wasn’t what it seemed.
What had happened was this. One morning, Kevin’s boss told him he was now self-employed. He could rent the van and would do his deliveries as before. Only now he was a contractor, not an employee. And he’d have to sort out his own tax and insurance.
They privatised the buses around the same time. That’s another story but, like Kevin’s newfound small businessman status, back then it seemed as inexplicable as it was unsettling.