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Robinson, Kenn "Isolation" 2003

As a private worker you are the receptionist, manager, accountant, housekeeper and worker. You are self-employed running your own business. The catch is there are very few people if any you can talk to about your business. Because the wide world or society if like don’t take sex work or sex workers for that matter seriously! In fact you face constant discrimination. Even though in NSW, ACT, QLD and VIC you are ‘legally’ allowed to operate and pay tax.

All these factors can lead you to feeling very ISOLATED. Isolation is a plight the private worker often has to face. Sometimes workers are not even aware they are suffering from it.

Answering your phone 10 to 12 hours a day trying to maintain a fresh cheery tone to your voice, just to listen to yet another time waster or wanker who really only want a phone fantasy, but are not willing to pay $4.95 per min.

Not wanting to stray too far from home because you know the majority of clients want to see you NOW.

Along with, placing your adds, paying the bills, doing the shopping, cleaning your place, washing the endless towels and bed linen as well as always being ready to tell the ‘other’ story, when necessary about how you earn your living can begin to rattle even the most focused worker.

Some private workers I know keep records of their weekly earnings (even if they are not paying tax) so they can look back to make comparisons from month to month, to see when the slow times are and of course the good times. If you are in sex work for the long haul you are going to need holidays and sick days just like anybody else who is self- employed. Knowing when a quiet time may be coming could be a good time to plan a well-earned holiday when you can turn off the phone put your feet up and reeeelax. Or simply to help you decide which day or days might be best to have off each week. That’s important too.

Your day off can be devoted to catching up with friends, doing lunch, talking to the peer educators at your local sex worker organisation, but most importantly turning that bloody phone off before you go insane.

A range of peer education projects exist across Australia for you to contact. Simply say you want to speak to a peer educator person who is available. It could be a Male, Female or Transgender person but they are all ready to listen and give any assistance they can, (you can’t beat a good old moan and groan).

Another good strategy is to find somewhere 5 or 10mins from home that you like, be it a, park, beach, coffee shop shopping center or anywhere else you can relax, take a book, magazine, news paper or whatever. That way when the phone rings and the client would like to see you, there is enough time to get home and get gorgeous. If it doesn’t ring, at least you’re not at home driving yourself crazy!

Some private workers I know have computers and are connected to the internet. This is a great low cost escape. In a chat room you can be whoever you want to be. Lots of people make friends and strike up relationships. The real bonus is that you can be completely out about what you do. Unless you give your personal details to other people in the chat rooms nobody can find out your address, phone number, email address or any other personal details about you. One of the great things about the net is you can have as many identities as you choose. However, you are in complete control at all times. Effectively, you can debrief, vent your joys and anger but never have to see or actually speak to another person. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope all in your world is good. Cheers, Kenn Robinson.