Are you fucking with me?

In telemarketing, it is fairly easy to figure out after a few minutes if someone is messing with you. Their answers become a little strange or they ask questions that have nothing to do with the purpose of the call. In the web cam modeling it is a little harder to tell.

The vast majority of my time online doing the web cam thing, is spent in "free chat" where I make connections with the people coming into my room, and hopefully inspire them to go into private and pay money to play with me. But I also get to know people as much as anyone knows anyone online, and have, I think, made friends of sorts. There are handles I look forward to seeing when I'm performing because we have good conversations. And I had one fan that I thought was in the "great to see you category." Then things went sideways.

I've always been a good listener. More than one of my real world friends has said that I am their best therapist or confidant. I like helping people when I can and very little shocks or disgusts me, so I am a safe person to talk to. Or in this case, type at.

The person I had been chatting with appeared to be a young male with a shared interest in some of my musical tastes and an obsession with older women. To be honest, I get more than a few that fit into this category. He had come into my "room" on a few other occasions and seemed harmless. We had chatted enough that I felt comfortable saying "sure" when he asked if he could tell me something difficult. The conversation that resulted was more than off-putting. He admitted to having a fetish that is both illegal and personally repugnant. He also asked for help managing the urges and for my response to his admission. I honestly said he needed therapy, and that I would be willing to help him find therapy if he wished. He seemed appreciative. But then decided to "tell" me what he was doing to himself and claimed he had accomplished a masturbatory feat that required great flexibility and control. And this is when I started to not believe a thing he said.

The reason I am on the web cam in the first place is to make money. In order to make money, I have to spend time in private or exclusive chat with paying clients. I enjoy my time in free chat most of the time but this particular night got very strange. I have to pay attention to each individual who comes into my room and try to keep several conversations going at once while trying to entice someone to take me private. While I was doing all that, this confessing fan decides to tell me in great detail about his latest fetish based dream in multiple posts. And then at the end, asks me what I think about it. At this point I have come to the realization that there is a very strong possibility that the real fetish is not the one he is confessing to having, but that he is getting off on making me uncomfortable, trying to get into my head. And that was even more disturbing to me than the idea that this individual might be harassing farm animals.

Last night while I was having a private session with a client, I saw his handle appear in my free chat room. And my stomach froze. I have decided that his goal was to hurt me, and while understanding that made it easy for me to let his stories go, it angers me and makes me feel uncomfortable.

I think (and I'm still mulling this whole situation over a little) that what truly got to me about this experience, wasn't the idea that I had a person with a bestiality fetish in my room, or even that he might have been lying with the express intent to fuck with my head. What bothers me is that this is how some men, and probably some women, get off at all. What is it about twisting someone else's thoughts and emotions up in knots that is enticing? Whether you are playing with a telemarketer to keep them on the phone, or trying to disgust a sex worker, what is the joy in that? What makes a person so damaged inside that they are driven to damage someone else, even if it is virtually through phone or internet lines?

And how do these individuals treat the people who are actually near them?

Nights versus Days

When I started telemarketing for the firm I am with now, I started as part of the "day shift." I would work Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 1:00pm. I was a strong performer, but not the best and I rarely made commission. I would get close, but not quite there to the minimum lead count needed to get that extra income. When I came back to the position in September of this year, I joined the "night shift" and every other  Saturday. I just made commission yesterday for the second time since I came back. This is blowing my mind because most of the "big performers" in our office are day shift people. To be fair they also tend to work extra hours at nights or every Saturday, but still, all I care about is the money. And I'm making more at the same job now than I did for a year and a half of days. Plus I have more freedom and a great relationship with my manager. AND I can sleep in with my toddler and take it easy during the day, which I need since I'm generally awake until 3 or 4:00am.

Understanding my crazy schedule though, I'm debating about tonight's cam performance. I work until 9:00pm Friday nights at my "real job" and then I have go in tomorrow for a 9:00am start. This doesn't give me a whole lot of time to get in a show. But I am very close to the goal I set for myself to make this week, and it would be a shame to miss it by $10.00. I wish there was a way to know whether or not any of my repeat customers would be one tonight because I would make a significant effort to be there for them because I know I would definitely make my goal, and have fun doing it.

Is a better camera a good thing?

My husband bought me a HD web cam yesterday to hopefully increase my earnings on the cam site. I tried to get it set up last night but just couldn't get it to work. I finally figured it out today and have everything under control for tonight's performances, but now I'm nervous. Remember when I said I'm not totally in love with my body? Yeah, that. I'm not sure I want everything showing up even better on screen. The slight blurring and glow from the not fantastic integrated camera in this laptop was very flattering. Everything I've read about increasing my earning potential says higher def is better, but when you aren't perfect, is that still true?

And of course since I have the camera and husband was so nice to support me and get it for me, I now have a huge painful pimple on the side of my neck of which I am very conscious. Awesome.

Anyway, I've added links to my modeling page and show on this blog in case anyone is interested in seeing what I do. Trying to make more money to be honest.

Still learning how to cam

I only started the web cam modeling gig late last month. And a few days after I started, I got sick for almost a week and didn't feel like "performing." So all in all, I'm very new at this. Well, at the web cam part of it anyway.

I had no idea how quickly I would get regular clients. I am not particularly in love with my body. I'm out of shape, have stretch marks and cellulite and am far from perky.  I'm in the later half of my 30s, but I've always taken care of my skin, so I do look younger than I am but I don't look anything like the porn stars and models in adult videos and magazines.  I have tattoos on my chest and leg and a labret, but other than that, I'm pretty normal, even plain. If you saw me in the supermarket you probably wouldn't think twice.

When I get ready to perform for the cam, I wear dramatic eye makeup and a long black curly wig that actually looks fairly natural. I wear very basic high cut underwear and a sweater or robe that I can drape flatteringly over my chest, and sparkly jewelry. My current performance space is a chair in a corner of my basement. The walls are covered with blankets and I have a space heater.  The chair is covered with pillows and red throws and the laptop I use is on a cabinet next to the chair. I can move it around if I have to. Lighting is always a problem. I glow and look washed out sometimes. I light candles and sometimes incense and play music through Pandora on my phone. I always have a crystal wine glass full of water. I also have a baby monitor in case my daughter wakes up and I have to go to her.

"Going downstairs" as my husband and I call it, has become something I look forward to. It only took two weeks for it to become part of my normal routine and something that has the potential to make me feel good about myself and pay some of our ever increasing debts. Not everyone is fantastic, but I get called "gorgeous," "beautiful," "cutie," "sexy," "perfect" and "hot" multiple times every night that I work. Even in just a short time, I have had one client come to see me four times and another twice. Knowing that there are men out there who actually look for me is a turn on. I have felt invisible and past my prime for a long time now, and I had no idea how empowering this could be.

I don't think being a sex worker is for everyone, nor do I think it is a cure all for not feeling sexy, but so far, in my limited experience, it is working for me. And for my husband. Because I feel better about myself, I'm more willing to be physical with him. And we have started being nicer to each other in spite of all the stress that our lives are under. I try to give him some "one on one" time before I go downstairs and perform for my clients and he supports what I am doing. It took time and a lot of conversations that were not comfortable, but we have gotten to a space where we are both accepting of this part of my life. And I sure hope it stays that way.

How not to be an asshole when a telemarketer calls

At this point I've been doing the telemarketing gig for about a year and a half. The system I work on has a computerized dialer, so I sit in my cubicle in front of a computer with almost no programs on it, watching my screen and waiting for a beep in my ear to tell me that I have a live person (theoretically) on the other end of the line. That beep can come as fast every every few seconds if I'm not actually connecting with live people, or it can be minutes in between calls. Either way I'm making (receiving) hundreds of calls a week. And I work part-time!

Telemarketing as I do it is a numbers game. How many live people do I actually connect with, are those people the actual person I'm looking for, are they interested in the offer I'm pitching, are they qualified to be passed on to the next stage of the offer... Out of the hundreds of calls I make a week, only a fraction of those hit. The vast majority are duds for one reason or another. Mostly this doesn't bother me, but there are some things that just get under my skin. Like splinters. Irritating me for much longer than the actual call lasted. I believe that these little irritations grow and colour my entire life in their small way. Niceness matters folks. Spreading meanness only brings us all down, where as being polite or kind elevates. So with that in mind, here's a list of things not to do when a telemarketer calls. Unless you enjoy being a total asshole.

Don't belch, fart, whistle, scream or otherwise make a loud obnoxious noise into the phone with the only intention of grossing out, or even hurting, the telemarketer on the other end. Depending on your loud noise of choice you could potentially cause real damage (yes, air horns have been used), and when the telemarketer hangs up, your number WILL go into the queue to be called again.

Don't go off into a vulgar monologue about how much a "dip shit" I am for calling you (that word has been used more than once) especially if you have already identified yourself as a business. While I personally am an ethical person and have not done this, your number is right there on the screen, google is everywhere, your business can be located, yelped and discredited because you were the dip shit that decided to cuss out a telemarketer. I was just doing my job, you are the one who went negative.

Don't pretend to be the person I was trying to reach in order to be funny. This is mostly directed at teenage boys who think it is a lark to impersonate their fathers and keep me on the line while feeding me increasingly obviously bull crap information. Good job you! You managed to waste two minutes of my time being a jerk. Hope it made your afternoon. All that energy would be better focused on your civics homework or playing with yourself in your room before your parents get home.

Don't make answering machine messages that sound like you actually answered the phone but can't hear the person on the other end of the line. It's simply not funny and you have outed yourself as having a juvenile sense of humor.

Don't tell me that you can't take the call because you are; sitting on the toilet, having sex, masturbating, or otherwise involved in an activity you wouldn't want a total stranger to see. Do I have to explain why you shouldn't do that? Seriously, it is just rude and creepy.

Don't assume that I know what you were doing when I called. Do you know what a person is doing the moment you call them? I have no idea, most of the time I don't even know what time zone I'm calling for a second or two after the call connects, and I don't know you or your daily schedule. Sorry I called while you were sitting down to dinner, but I have no control over that. Just say you aren't interested and go on with your night.

Don't think I can't hear you when you put the phone against your chest or cover the receiver to tell someone in the room that "it's another damn telemarketer." I can hear you!

Don't believe that by huffing and hanging up, my company will stop calling. We won't.

In short, try not to be an asshole. How hard is it to be a decent human being even if you are totally uninterested in the offer? A little niceness goes a very long way.

I hate sales

I find the very idea of being a sales person shudder-worthy.  I don't have anything really against sales people, except the pushy ones who spray me with perfume or corner me in display rooms and start asking personal questions about my home life.  I just don't have any drive to be a sales person and think that that at the very core of my being, I am the total opposite of a sales person. Which since part of my self-definition is "artist" is pretty sad, I don't sell much art.

I'm telling you this to explain how bizarre it is that at this stage in my life, with a 3-year-old daughter and 14-year-old marriage, I'm now making my living in sales. If you can call it a living. I'm making some money, not enough, as a sales person.

In my working life I have been at various times:

  • A free-lance journalist/photographer
  • A photo-lab tech
  • An retail outlet clerk
  • An overnight worker at a home for developmentally challenged adults
  • A temp
  • A receptionist
  • An artists' model
  • A bartender/waitress (I am a truly terrible waitress)
  • An animal shelter kennel worker and supervisor
  • A telemarketer (business-to-business)
  • A legal secretary
  • A marketing manager/ad specialties manager
  • A veterinary technician assistant
See anything in common there?  Well other than working at whatever job I could get when I needed one, I was never a sales person. Now in the evenings and every other Saturday I am a business-to-consumer telemarketer for a mortgage bank and whenever possible I am an adult entertainment web cam model. Both of these jobs absolutely require that I be a sales person.

I am the lowest of the low when thinking of telemarketing. I am the person who calls when you have the keys in your hand and are walking out the door, or when you have just sat down to dinner, or when you are sleeping in on a Saturday morning after a grueling day at your Monday-Friday during business hours job.  I ask for the Mr. or Ms. of the house and inform you that my call might be monitored and/or recorded before I begin my script. I am friendly and try to be engaging. I listen to the background sounds of the call and comment on your dog or bird or children. If you are not the person I was calling, I apologize and try my pitch anyway. I am the person who gets sworn at, belched at, whistled at, yelled at, and hung up on, hundreds of times a week. But I am still a person. And to all those that yell this before slamming the receiver down, I do have a real job. You just don't like it.

I've been at my telemarketing job since April of 2011 except for two months in 2012 when I had left after being offered a full-time job that was later terminated because I was overqualified. I was overqualified for that job, but couldn't get hired anywhere else fast enough and couldn't afford day-care, so I went back to telemarketing. Think on that for a moment. I've been thinking on that for months.

I feel like I should back up here again. How did I end up telemarketing in the first place?

In 2009 I had a baby. My first, and more than likely only, a daughter.  My husband and I had been thinking about having a child for a little while, but for about a year I had a health condition that prevented us from pursuing reproduction. Then we were able to, and we had her.
I know it is trite and you've heard it before, but the moment that baby was in my arms, nothing else in the world mattered. She became my everything. Within weeks I knew I couldn't go back to the job I had before she was born. The hours where too chaotic, I wouldn't be able to pump breast milk during my shifts with any regularity and we would have to pay for day care. My husband got a retail job in addition to the small business he'd been running for ten years. And I handed in my resignation to become a stay-at-home-mother.

Two months later we got the foreclosure notice. My husband hadn't been paying the mortgage in order to pay the other bills and our delinquency had become unbearable. The stress of trying to save our home almost destroyed our marriage. There was a time I lived with my parents. Eventually, I had to get a job, any job, to try and bring in income. I applied to veterinary hospitals and retail stores. And then I saw an add for telemarketing with hours that would allow my parents to watch our daughter while I was at work. I would work for 20 hours a week at $10.00 plus commissions. It was something.

The job sucks. I cannot express this enough. There was a silver lining though, the people I was working with were pretty awesome. There were some exceptions. There always are. But all in all, I looked forward to seeing my manager and co-workers every day. And it turned out I did a good job. Not stellar, I never won any of the quarterly awards, but my numbers were strong enough to have the support of my manager and to be pretty much left alone to do my job. And I got to spend every afternoon and evening and weekend with my daughter, who was growing like a wildflower and the most amazing person I had ever met. Perfect!

Eventually it became obvious that this wasn't enough income and I got a full-time job and left the telemarketing position. I went back into veterinary care, but the job was not what I expected. I performed my tasks to the best of my ability and was punctual and stayed as late as needed and was friendly and responsive. But I was overqualified. At the four-week mark, I was terminated without having any warning that anyone was unsatisfied with my performance.  Needless to say, I was stunned. I had put my daughter in day care for the first time to have this job, I had bought uniforms and shoes and was driving crazy miles. It was probably a blessing that the job didn't last.

After a month of trying to get another job, and fighting to get my deserved unemployment, I decided to contact my old telemarketing manager. And was welcomed back with open arms. Except this time I went to the night shift so my husband and I could split watching our daughter.  He has gotten a promotion with a new schedule and I was now only driving ten miles each way to work as long as I stayed home. We could share my more fuel efficient car for our daily commutes and I could start teaching our daughter how to read and write as she wants. Ideal right?

Well we still aren't making enough money. And once again we are behind on the mortgage and juggling bills. Every time I turn around there's yet another overdue bill or surprise expense.  My mother-in-law has passed away and we keep hoping there will be an inheritance or my father-in-law will offer more financial assistance than he has, but I don't know if that will happen. So we need more income.

Enter the webcam. 

A friend suggested webcam modeling as she was going to be trying it and wanted to work with a company that would give her portion of my earnings if she referred me. I did some further research on my own and found a different company that seemed more legit. And signed up. I wanted to be able to still be at home with my daughter and have a job that has virtually no expenses for me. No commuting, no uniforms, no special equipment. You get the idea.

I've been doing it for about a week now. Not every day. Not for very many hours. And I've made about $100. I haven't gotten a check yet, although my "reports" say a check was cut last week. But my research leads me to believe it is on its way. In the mean time, I'm getting naked for strangers and trying to save my house.

So that's the background as to how I ended up a sales person. Not glamorous, probably not unique, maybe not even interesting, but it is my story. And I feel the need to tell it. Hope you enjoy.