I woke one morning early last month to social media going on about former “The Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens being job-shamed for working at a grocery store. I only read the headline, but it was enough. People were trying to shame this actor for working as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s.
Since when did it become a problem to earn a living?
Werk, Work: Job-Shaming in Cam
The more headlines I read about Owens, the more flashbacks I got of my own job-shaming memories.
For over a decade, I’ve struggled with telling people what I do for a living because of their perceptions. From a distance, people think I am simply a naked person on the internet. Close friends and some family think I sit at home all day doing nothing. Some past boyfriends have pushed boundaries and had me doubting my abilities to be a self-reliant, independent income earner.
I’ve been through it all and have had to work hard to overcome it.
The constant job-shaming I experienced over the years left me feeling inadequate and led to unstable self-worth that made me have an overpowering feeling that I needed to get rid of my cam earnings. So I did, spending recklessly and certainly not saving for my future. The shame I was internalizing from other sources overpowered the positive experiences I had due to my work.
It’s no surprise job-shaming can be so traumatic. It directly attacks our primary need for security and safety. These connect to our basic survival needs of food, shelter and clothing and moves into our psychological needs of relationships, acceptance and respect. If you know about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, job-shaming touches on four of the five sections of the pyramid of needs and continually wears away at the foundation.
It’s been a long journey of self-healing for me.
I struggle with how to make it clear that what I am doing is what I want to be doing and what I have chosen to do. I also have to navigate how to maintain friendships and other relationships and keep boundaries clear.
It has come down to cutting off relationships with the people that chose to shame me instead of support me. Now I work hard to surround myself with people who are proud of my accomplishments and see what I have built — people who recognize that work is work.
So, how do we overcome job-shaming?
You need to embrace the work. This is the key to lessening the effect of job-shaming in your life. Be grateful for the opportunities available because of the work you do and, of course, the money the work you do earns. Be open to possibilities as they come. Consider limiting your time with people and media sources that provide negative chatter about what you do. This is where setting boundaries becomes incredibly important.
I don’t know where the idea came from that jobs exist in a comparison ranking system. This kind of contest creates serious problems. Jobs shouldn’t be categorized as worst, good or even best – as Geoffrey Owens said: “Every job is worthwhile.” Just because you personally wouldn’t do a job doesn’t mean it’s not someone else’s dream job
Generating an income or building a full-fledged career as a cam model means you are on a unique path. The work it takes to build it is worthwhile. This is now a profession, it is no longer a new industry. I am at almost 16 years of being a cam model, and when I look back at my working life, 95% of the income has come from being a cam model and other adult entertainment affiliated income streams. This is not a “hobby,” and it is not to be dismissed.
What we do is worthwhile and honorable. We don’t have time to be worried about what other people think about our work. It is also vital to remember that the work we do doesn’t define us. It creates opportunities, builds character and delivers new experiences. So ignore the shamers, acknowledge what the work does for you and be proud of all that you do.
— TIME (@TIME) September 4, 2018
Minnie is a Jamaican-Canadian, 15-year industry veteran cam model and adult video performer. She’s also found success as an affiliate marketer while building a personal brand that’s lead to creating a life by design filled with freedom and financial independence. Minnie enjoys traveling to infinity pools in tropical locations, skydiving and riding rollercoasters. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Maria Herrera.