Sunday, October 9, 2016
BUT WHAT ABOUT A JOB?
BUT WHAT ABOUT A JOB?
Let's talk seriously about income now shall we? I talk about “income” rather than a “job” because the sad facts are jobs may not even be available where you're living even if you didn't have this thing dragging around behind you of the sex industry. One of the most common mistakes those of us make upon quitting sex work is go out to the nearest fast food joint, or minimum wage job, and then try to get hired. I get a lot of confused calls from people wondering why they didn't get hired at these jobs because their preconceived notion was “they'd hire anyone” taking it personal they weren't hired.
I saw a lot of this in Las Vegas. Vegas is a town where there's a lot of jobs available for someone who is willing to be a maid, house cleaner, etc. But go into the casino, motel, etc., ahead of the job interview and take a real good look at the maids they hire. You'll find many of them are minority women, older, without a lot of education. In other words, someone who really “needs” the job. Hiring managers report they don't want to spend the time it takes to train someone only to have them leave in a few months. So yes they'll hire people they think can't find work elsewhere who will stay loyal. Now if that fits your description, and this is what you want, great. If not, then move on.
If you're not sure, ask. Call up some hiring people, employment agencies, personnel offices, and tell them you're job hunting and would they mind if you asked them a few questions. Most won't mind at all. Ask them what they look for when hiring someone. Every region, every season, every industry, is different. This is why I say when you're ready, start asking questions. You might hear things like they look very carefully to make sure you're not “wearing too much make-up”. This tells you to be sure to tone it down when going on an interview.
Your sponsor can be of help to you. If not, ask us here at the main office. We have members who work with placing people in employment for a living. There are members here who can help you write a resume, figure out what you want to do now you're out, help you figure out how to apply for a job, and pretty much whatever you need to get on your feet financially. You just need to talk to us. We can also refer you to resources we've used effectively such as the book “Dress for Success” to name one. We even have a list of foundations who will invest in your starting up your own company, as well as scholarships available to those of us leaving the industry. People hire professionals to help them find work so realize it's not always as easy as falling off a log to find an income in this world.
I knew a woman who had been a stripper for a few years in Vegas. She was a beautiful woman. Tall, white, green eyes, lovely figure, and she was still young when she quit the sex industry. After knocking on doors day after day for maid, cashier, even parking attendant jobs and getting nowhere, she realized her best bet was probably going to become a dealer. So she got herself into the nearest dealer/bartender school and she was off in just days making a great deal of money legitimately. Her skills as a dancer came in very handy for her as a dealer in Las Vegas. She knew how to handle difficult drunks, how to graciously hustle tips, even how to count money well.
She was fine until the recession of 2008 hit. Now she's going to work and coming home with literally $20 in her pocket for a whole night's shift. She'd gotten married, had a few kids, bought a house and the last thing she wanted to do was jeopardize all of that by going back to work as a stripper. On the other hand, she was telling me how her health insurance for the family alone was $400 a month and making $20 a night as a dealer wasn't going to cut it.
So realize even if you get into a good job for a long time, there might come a change in our economy, or your personal life, which sets you right back on your hind legs all over again just like when you were new. That's life.
I told her the story I remembered in the Bible about the poor widow who was down to her last meal when the prophet showed up at her door asking for food. He told her to “look around your home” basically. All she could find was an empty vase. It suddenly filled with oil and he told her to go and sell this oil. No matter how much oil she sold, she still had more leftover to sell. She became a prosperous woman by selling the oil in this ever flowing vase.
Now I took this story to mean basically to “take stock” of what you not only have in your house physically, but also your skills and talents. So I asked her to give me an idea about what kinds of things did she have in her life and her home we could draw upon for inspiration. She told me she'd just invested in this ultra deluxe carpet cleaner she needed between the kids and the dogs in her new home. It was a very expensive professional cleaning model she'd just bought. This was also a very strong woman physically with a lot of ambition.
She knew smaller motels didn't have quite the same staff and resources as the larger hotels and they might appreciate someone who could offer them carpet cleaning without a lot of overhead costs. Next thing we know she's setting off to start knocking on doors on these smaller motels. She offers them a bargain of something like $50 a room to clean their carpets. Not only was she being offered 20 rooms at a shot to do at this price, coming home with $1000 for a day's work, but they invited her to come back once a month. Going from motel to motel she soon got herself some contracts set up. By agreeing to give them a set price if they signed a year's contract, she soon had herself booked for the next year making about $5000 a week.
When she didn't feel like working that day, she hired herself some day laborers to do the work for her. After a while she started doing nothing but contracts, and hiring out the actual labor to those willing to do the work for $20 a shot plus her supplying the materials. Within no time, she was making a $1,000,000 a year negotiating cleaning contracts. In her case, not making money as a dealer turned out to be a huge opportunity for her. We've seen over and over again where what's appeared to be a set-back actually was God opening up an opportunity for us we wouldn't have done otherwise. She sure wouldn't have started knocking on motel room doors with a carpet cleaner had she not found she wasn't making any money as a dealer any longer.
I've heard the complaints “there's no jobs”. That doesn't just apply to those of us coming out of the sex industry or who may have been victims of sex trafficking. Right now there is a shortage of jobs for everyone. I can't turn on a TV without hearing people with graduate degrees complaining about driving a cab to pay the rent. So welcome to the real world where everyone has to figure out a way to make a living without resorting to the sex industry to do so. But also keep in mind there are companies who openly will hire someone with a criminal record. You can find them online or check with us here at the world service office for a list of employers who overlook a criminal record in most cases.
You'll hear about scholarships. It never harms you to have an education. But keep in mind this is not a guarantee you'll be handed a job. You might have very real challenges you need to address such as a criminal record, being on probation, or even porn photos of yourself online creating havoc for you now. There are ways to get these photos taken down even if you've signed a model release.
For one, you can have your name trademarked. Then trademark your image. You can then go back and challenge those photos based on your trademark. Some clever members have changed their name legally. Thus their criminal records, or news clips about an arrest involving them, didn't show up when applying for a job. Others found getting married, and having a new married name also allowed them to basically “start over” again. Some have even been able to change their social security number if their past involved domestic abuse. It's also not as hard to expunge your criminal record as you might think. In Las Vegas for example, if you've stayed out of trouble for two years or more, there's a simple form you can fill out and give the court to have your records taken off the internet, and made almost impossible for someone to find doing a cursory job or housing search on you. In other cities, we've had members go into the court with their sponsors, along with proof they're staying out of trouble, and successfully appealed to the court to expunge their records so they can get work licensing or degrees.
Do not count on the first year “out” being able to hold onto the same job. I've rarely heard about us doing that. Most of us are used to a lifestyle where we've acted however we wanted, dressed how we wanted, talked how we wanted. Others of us have lived lives cowering in so much fear we're like an abused animal who has been chained up in the yard for too long. Whatever it is about us, people out there in the “square” world sense something is “off” about us and like people do when you aren't like them – they tend to shut you out. Cliques are just a natural thing for most people especially in the work force. When confronted with the “unknown” people generally react with fear. Meaning if they sense something “different” about you then you're likely not to be hired if that's what you're seeking.
Which is why if you are out job hunting, I suggest you go a day early, or even a few hours earlier, and take a good look around at the people who work at this company you've set your sights on. How do they dress? What type of people do they hire? When I went to go interview at an office where every other woman working there was 5'9”, 120 pounds, African-American and wearing a short skirt with high heels and three shades of eye shadow - I not only didn't fit that image myself but I could see this wasn't a place I wanted to work.
So do your homework. If you don't “fit” in, then see what you can do to fit in if that's what you want. I remember when I wanted to get work as a paralegal, most of them in the town I was in at that time all seemed to have the same kind of hair cut and color. I went down to the beauty salon and got that cut and color and had no problem finding good paying work. I also invested in a wardrobe which appeared to be a lot like the other women were wearing in law offices back then in that city. I tried to “blend in” as much as possible and for me it worked. You look like a “boss” and people will tend to think of you like one. It's just human nature. Can't afford a make-over? Talk to us as maybe we have a member whose a beautiful who can help you out. Ask ask ask ask and ye shall receive.
If you find you can't find a “job”, then look into how you can make some money. All over this world right now people are making money in ways other than through sex work. In fact, most of the wealth in this world is not being generated by those working in the sex industry. Ask yourself what your “vase of oil” is. I've heard of a lot of members who started up dog walking services. One woman worked her way up to a dog grooming van. She'd pull up to the dog park daily and soon told me she was making more money grooming dogs than she made as a prostitute. Having a lot more fun too.
Maybe you can't get a job, or start your own company, because you've got damage or illness from your time in the sex industry. I know of one woman who was shot in the back with a 9mm trying to leave her pimp. That woman wasn't going to be able to get a job doing anything for some time. She was having trouble just walking from the bed to the bathroom.
For her, she needed to turn to disability services. Since it takes time to apply for this, she then had to rely upon social services for a few months until they could arrange to get her a check coming in and housing. People get disabled all the time and if you're having trouble getting yourself some aid, go and find someone in that area who is getting aid. Ask them how they got assistance. Maybe they have a name or a phone number of someone who can help you.
Most of all, try and avoid the “self-fulfilling prophecy”. I got a a call a few days ago from a member of our program crying because she'd just been fired. As we talked more about it, she admitted she was talking on her cell phone repeatedly during work hours and in front of her supervisors. She had very large tattoos on her feet, arms and neck she wasn't covering up in an office environment. It's not that hard to wear long sleeves, a turtleneck, and boots or tights to cover up foot tattoos. As we talked, she admitted she was “swearing like a truck driver” in the office, coming in late, taking too long of smoke breaks, and basically just acting like she didn't really want the job. Well in all honesty she didn't. Being fired was her excuse to go back and turn a few tricks.
It's very common for those of us who aren't really “done” yet to go into some job we hate, doesn't pay the bills, or that we just screw to hell and back, so when we get fired we can blame life for going back to the sex industry. It's “not our fault” because we “had no choice and rent was due”. It's like the alcoholic who blames his wife or his job for his drinking. Once he really gets sober he finds they're not the problem after all. That or without needing the resentment any longer they get removed from his life. So get real with yourself about your desire to really leave the industry. You either want out or you don't. I can assure you the younger you are when you quit the better. There's nothing harder to try and accomplish than someone in their 60's trying to change their lives then.
Figuring out how to support yourself financially is something everyone in this world does at some point. It makes you part of society at large rather than being on the fringes. I myself after my stroke found myself suddenly flat on my back in bed unable to get out of it at risk of dying. Now it would have been real easy to say that being in such a position would be a great excuse to go back to madaming, screening calls, marketing calls, dispatch or whatever you want to call “working the phones”. I had rent to pay, a car payment, no health insurance, and a child to support. So if anyone had an “excuse” I sure did.
I prayed, then found ways to support us during that difficult period. I even made a deal with the supermarket next door to give me their food they were going to throw out at midnight every night. There was a chicken place that at 10 pm when they were closing they'd also give me whatever they hadn't sold. I actually had more food than I could eat when I made this arrangement! I found myself giving the leftovers to the halfway house a few blocks over. I took in a boarder who didn't want her abusive ex-husband to be able to trace where she was living. With the apartment in my name he couldn't find her. I just had to take stock of what my “vase of oil” was and move from there.
So my situation even became a blessing for others. I just had to be willing to “not take that first transaction”.