The new year hasn’t started off as a good one for everyone. With rising train fares and petrol prices and the VAT increased to 20 per cent, many will be forced to cut back and will be wishing of ways to raise extra cash.
Stress from unpaid debts and a lack of cashflow can lead people to do things they may not usually do. Kelly* was working full time, but her salary was not covering the amount she needed so she started looking for a second job…
“I needed to make extra cash doing something that would fit around my 9-5 job. I didn’t want to work in a bar or pub because of the late nights and I had no previous experience,” Kelly tells Krystal. “So I scoured the internet looking for a job where I could work part-time from home, like stuffing envelopes or data entry. But they all seemed like a scam. Until I came across a job listed as an ‘adult chatline operator’.
A friend of Kelly’s had worked as an adult chatline operator in the past while at university, so after researching the company she applied for the job. “I didn’t know I could do it from home….I downloaded the application form and sent it off. Within a week I got a call from them asking when I could do my training.”
Working as an adult operator meant that Kelly had to do a minimum of 20 hours a week. To fit around her full time job she worked in the evenings, and a weekend shift. “I will never forget how I nervous I was with the first caller. He asked me to do unspeakable things to myself. I felt physically sick. After my first few days I had to question myself, ‘do I really need the money that badly?’, but I did so I carried on even though I absolutely hated it.”
The 24-year-old explains that she was asked to do things that she really didn’t want to do. “Amongst the obvious things, callers would also ask me to go to the toilet so they could hear me, which I refused to do and some even said they would love to, put in a better way, excrete in my mouth…Doing the job really did take away any innocence I had left.
“I will never forget when one caller said to me, ‘If I pay you, will you come and have sex with me?’, I said, ‘no’ and he said, ‘why not? You’re doing it now.’ This made me really think, am I prostituting myself? But I don’t think I was because I wasn’t physically having sex with all these men, just phone sex and even then I wasn’t really doing it. I was just moaning and groaning at the right time while watching TV in my pyjamas.”
Kelly did not tell family and friends that she had a second job as she found her job degrading, even though callers were talking to her alter-ego Louise. “In the day I was me: a black, self-respecting woman and in the evening I became a 5 ft 8 brunette called Louise who was up for anything.”
Denise Taylor, chartered Occupational Psychologist, explains that doing this kind of work can sometimes be hard to put aside. “The work can seep into their everyday life and they feel ‘dirty’ or ashamed by this work. If you can’t tell your parents or friends what you are doing it might lead to them thinking that you are being sneaky or untruthful.”
Kelly, who did the job for two and a half months, has finally stopped the phone calls after clearing some of her bills. “At this moment in time, I can say that I wouldn’t do it again, but who knows what the future holds. Bills don’t pay themselves and if I get into a financial slump again, I’ll have to raise funds somehow.”
If you are stressed by mounting bills here’s some advice from Denise Taylor, Chartered Occupational Psychologist:
“…Cut back on expenditure as much as possible, from less nights out, to perhaps getting a flat mate. The other option is to look for another job.
“People do this from looking in newspapers, etc to see what is advertised, or taking a different approach which is to consider strengths, skills and experience and to approach companies direct – telling them what you can do and seeking opportunities.
“Not just applying to companies but also letting all the people you do know what it is that you are looking for. When there is more bills than money coming in people look for other ways of making money and a flexible part time job can seem ideal.”
By Melissa Allison-Forbes