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April 25th, 2007

Burn Out

Lava in the Volcano National Park, Hawaii

The phone rang last night. And rang and rang and rang. I didn’t answer. I couldn’t answer. If I answered it I would cry, or scream or curse. I turned it off and kept it off all night. Why?

Burn out. Right now I feel so burned out with my job. I’ve been doing this for five years and have gotten a case of burn out from time to time. It seems most psos and even most sex workers get it. I’ve had it before while I’ve had this blog but haven’t written about it. Burn out is a contradictory thing. Describing it sounds so paradoxical. Plus, burn out is a negative space to be in. Writing about it is writing about a dark space and I’ve been hesitant to do that. I think it would do me good to write some of my feelings down though. Get things off my chest, get it out of my system. I’m a natural list maker so I’m making a list of my feelings. Some are passing thoughts, some stick in my head for days and depress me.

-I don’t want the phone to ring. Just let me have a chunk of time where the phone doesn’t ring.
-Why won’t the phone ring? I’m here, I’m available why can’t I just get a call? Why do the pervs all call when I’m not available?
-If that pranker calls me one more time I will scream. If he pranks me again that’s it. I’m quitting. Fuck this job, fuck this phone, fuck this asshole.
-No, no, pranks are good. When pranks are up, paid calls go up.
-I’m so burned out on my regulars. I wish a new guy would call so it would be something different and not the same boring ass fantasy that I’ve been repeating over and over. A new guy wouldn’t have all that history of getting on my nerves.
-I can’t handle these new guys. Why can’t one of my regulars call me? Someone who is predictable so I can relax on the call and not have to constantly monitor it?
-This job is so draining! So insanely hard! These men just use me as an emotional punching bag. I don’t get paid enough to do this.
-I am grateful for my job. Thank the Goddess I don’t have to go through life as a Walmart cashier where people treat you like shit and you get paid even shittier. I’m lucky to be in this situation.
-What the fuck is wrong with this sick fuck? How dare he think I really get off to his disgusting fantasy?! No wonder he has to pay women to talk to him-he’s totally fucked up emotionally and sexually. I’m so insulted that he thinks I like _______ (fill in the blank with random taboo fantasy).
-I just want a call where we dive into the fantasy. Don’t ask me about my life, don’t ask me how my day was, I DON’T want to talk to you about my life. Let’s just jump into the fantasy and pretend we both like it so I don’t have to pretend that I relate to you in real life.
-I can’t believe I’m crying on this call. Why did the phone have to ring while I was upset about ________ (fill in the blank with life’s stresses). This is messed up. I shouldn’t be taking calls while I’m upset.
-This is messed up. I can’t believe I’m crying on this call. But in a way it’s relieving. I get to get my emotions out about ________ (fill in the blank with life’s stresses). Uncommon therapy but it works.
-This job has me trapped. I don’t have any marketable skills. What if I lost it? What would I do? I can’t even put this down on a resume. I’m so fucked.
-This job has really opened me up to a lot of possibilities. I’ve jumped out of the cubical hell lifestyle and can make a living being a freelancer doing all sorts of work. I have so much to be thankful for.
-I hate working at home. I’m always at work. I don’t have a separate space. I hate being on call. I can never relax because I never know when the phone will ring.
-I love working at home. It’s so freeing not to be tied to a schedule. I can relax more because I make my own hours.
-I can’t stand this guy. While does he call me so much? I hate him. HATE him! He’s such a draining/disgusting/sicko/lame/mean/arrogant man. Why can’t a normal, nice person call me?
-I’m so thankful guys like this call me. Sure he’s emotionally fucked up but those types make the best callers! He calls me so much because I’m one of the few that can handle him.

Burn out sucks. It’s tiring and makes working the phones difficult. I do enjoy my job most of the time and that’s why I’ve kept doing it all these years. What causes burn out? Take lots of working hours, combined with difficult, demanding callers, sprinkle in some persistent prankers, cancel several fun events to stay home and take calls, simmer for a few months and voila! You have a burned out pso.

How to get over burn out? The best solution I’ve found it to get away from the phone. Take time off and have some fun. I took today off with Mr. Radical. He took me to a yarn store, (it’s therapy for me) and then we went to a nice cafe that had fancy coffee. I didn’t pick up one phone call. It was wonderful. For the next couple of days I’ll get up early, enjoy my morning coffee and knit uninterrupted for a 1/2 hr or so. Then I’ll do some yoga before turning on my phone. Burn out sucks but it is manageable.

Posted by Vixen in PSO Confessions

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 at 6:29 pm and is filed under PSO Confessions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 Responses to “Burn Out”

  1. Lily says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. I’ve gone through mild burn-out a couple of times, and I’ve only been on the job two and a half months! And then there was a weekend where I was horribly depressed and couldn’t figure out why until I realized that my main regular was indulging in many of the behaviors that prompted me to leave my now-ex-husband, in addition to a whole slew of other behaviors that made me feel lower than dirt. I finally had to stop talking to him. But anyway, my point is that it’s so good to hear about what you and Sera go through, to know that I’m not alone in getting frustrated.


  2. Mandy says:

    I’m glad you know where you are and what you need to do :)

    There’s a lot of burnout lately - Courtesan Connection just posted about several bloggers stopping or radically changing their focus in sex work.

  3. Sabrina Morgan says:

    You summed it all up.

    Whenever I go through burnout I take a gig for my vanilla job. PSOing starts looking really good after 2 days. That and remembering to take time off work wonders for me.

    Burn out rate for IT averages 10 years or less. We’re not the only ones.

  4. Vixen says:

    Lily-Glad you found the post helpful. It helped me to write it. I’ve had to let go of a client before. He was a good money maker but the emotional drain was too much for me.

    Mandy-I wonder if it has something to do with time of year. Doing this job through the winter while having winter blues perhaps? Thanks for mentioning the Courtesan Connection. I hadn’t heard of it before and am checking it out now.

    Sabrina-I think having a vanilla gig is a great idea. You can hop back and forth between camps when the need arises and it helps give you perspective. I try to reason that every job has a burn out rate but then again I think ours has a high one.

  5. Der Whip mit der Quips says:

    My sex industry gig is for the Quips & Chains Fetish Blog. I can definitely see burnout in this field. However, I have met more intelligent people, in the sex blog world, than in any other area in which I’ve worked. Smarts and heresy go hand in hand, it seems. Vixen, everything I’ve read of yours is great. I like the person you are online. Kudos. Take days off when you need them. Happy and poor are better than fried and loaded. That’s how they get ya. ;)

  6. outleyer says:

    short term vacations or breaks or whatever you want to call them sometimes do the trick

    I’m feeling ya

  7. Sera says:

    My poor Vixen! I hope you’re feeling better since posting this.

    And yes, yes, I relate–oh, how I relate–especially to your comments about wanting an old caller and then wanting a new caller. Lately, new callers feel like too much fucking work, but then old callers feel like such bores. Can’t a new caller with just the right fetish call at just the right time?

  8. Z says:

    Damn it, I just lost a long response to this (and no, I DIDN’T pass math)!

    I feel for you. The good thing about your job is that it allows you flexibility, independence, and the opportunity to engage with other people on a very fundamental level. The bad thing is that no matter how much you try to detach and rationalise, sometimes it will inevitably be overwhelmingly emotionally draining. It doesn’t matter how satisfying it is to be able to give other people what they need, it is still a pain in the ass sometimes.

    It sounds as though you are doing the right things to combat the stress, so I hope you get back on an even keel too.

  9. Lola says:

    I’m going through burn out I think.
    I started selling with the bodyshop, I am so not doing well.
    …ARgh I can’t shake it

  10. tom paine says:

    Shiiiitttt, I feel burned out at my job, too, and I don’t even get to talk about sex. Tired of corporate assholes who think their shit doesn’t stink. Take some time off and just relax a bit. And fuck as much as you can. Some real sex might make the sim-sex more fun again.

  11. Tara Tainton says:

    Ah, I can really relate to this… it applies to any job or time-consuming activity, even sex sometimes, for me. :) Sometimes, I don’t want to communicate with my friends and fans online, am not motivated to share my private life, or am just in some kind of funk, period. The good thing is, we always come out again… and with renewed energy and excitement about life. ;)

    I usually work myself down until I’m really, really burnt out and then I finally give myself permission to take a break. And oh, that break does wonders!

    Can’t wait to see what you’ll be writing and sharing when you’re feeling back on top and entirely enthused. ;)


  12. MWK says:

    This is an incredibly insightful and “raw” piece and one I want to spotlight in an article, blog entry, and podcast.

    I will also be adding your blog to my blogroll, please send me a message sometime, I’d love to chat with you!


  13. Vixen says:

    DWmdQ-Thanks. I too have met so many wonderful people in the “jizz biz” that it makes me want to stay working in the industry.

    outleyer-Yes they do. Right now I’m trying to take some time off each week to do something fun for me.

    Sera-Yes, I am feeling better. Writing my feelings down really helped relieve some of my stress. If only we could pick and choose which clients called us at which times!

    Z-Sorry about the math. I need the filter though-before I installed it I was getting a ton of spam. The freedom I have with my job is why I keep doing it bottom line.

    Lola-I hear ya. Recognizing you have it though it the first step even though that sounds so cliche. Seems a lot of people are feeling burned out. I wonder if it’s tied in with getting over the winter blues or something else.

    Tom-Yes, pampering oneself in every way is definately a good antidote for burnout.

    Tara-Sounds like we work the same. We work until we tire ourselves out. Sometimes I just have to remember to stop and have some r&r.

    MWK-Thanks so much. Could you send me an email? I didn’t see your addy on your site.

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