A Life Coach is Not a Paid Domme

Finding people who are “kink aware” to deal with personal problems is often difficult, but there are resources out there – like the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom‘s “Kink Aware Professionals” Directory. I’m listed there, which has lead to some interesting situations for me.

Life Coaches generally exist in a “wild west” territory next door to mental health professionals. We can operate without licenses in most places, which means that we can mostly define what we do for ourselves.

I’ve stumbled on a disturbing trend when it comes to life coaches in “kink world.” Apparently there are life coaches out there (primarily women) who are taking on the role of “Domme” in their clients lives. Sure, that might be exactly what they want, but if we’re being honest here, that should have lead to a referral to either a paid Domme, or to a local BDSM club or organization that helps people find Dommes.

For a while, I stayed away from writing this – as the calls from potential clients looking for a paid Domme not a Life Coach kept piling up. I broke when I had trouble explaining to one of those callers that what he was looking for was a paid Domme. He seriously believed that all women who are Life Coaches and are aware of “kink world” should happily take over being his Domme.

No. Just NO!

That one lead to a call from me to my own therapist, because I was starting to have trouble controlling my anger over the situation.

I have no desire to point fingers, or place blame. However, I am writing this to clear the air, before we get to the point where state regulatory agencies start making rules for us.

If you are a Life Coach, and you’re playing “Domme” for your clients, please stop – either stop playing Domme, or stop calling yourself a Life Coach. Be honest with yourself and your clients.

And if you’re thinking that you’re looking for a Life Coach, think about why. Are you looking for someone to talk with about difficult decisions you need to make in your life, or are you looking for someone to tell you what to do – just someone to give you orders to carry out? If you’re looking for the latter, you’re not looking for a Life Coach. You’re looking for paid Dominant.

We really do need to know and agree on the difference.

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Source: LH Consulting

A Life Coach is Not a Paid Domme

What Gig Employees Wish Employers Understood

If you haven’t heard the term “gig economy” yet, you probably haven’t been paying attention to a major shift in the job market. For various reasons – from complicated benefits requirements for traditional employees, to changes in technology, and everything in between – more and more employers have been opting for contracted labor. The people who are willing to fill those positions often juggle multiple contracts at one time, out of necessity. That “should” be obvious, since it’s not likely that any single gig will pay enough to make ends meet. Employers are theoretically using this option to save money.

That brings us to the first thing that gig employees wish employers understood:

No, you probably aren’t my only employer – If you’re an employer who is having trouble filling a contracted position, take a close look at the time you’re expecting from a potential employee. This isn’t just about the raw amount of time you expect a person to work. If you’re expecting the candidate to commit to being essentially “on-call” all the time, or if you’ve set up hard and fast deadlines spread out through more than just an eight hour day, you’re probably not going to find someone to do the job. That’s especially true if the pay you’re offering isn’t remotely close to market rates for a full-time position in the field. Time is money for a gig worker, and if you’re saying that you expect a person to be willing to jump every time you call, you are setting expectations too high (unless you’re willing to pay for that ability.) Either expect to be told that your work will be done within a reasonable period of time, or be willing to pay handsomely to get your projects to the top of the proverbial pile every time.

Yes, I often do prioritize my projects based on pay scale – This is something that some gig workers might not want to admit out loud, but we’re human. Of course we’re going to get the work that is paying us the most done first. We might push other deadlines to the extreme limit, even to the point of getting ourselves in danger of losing a lower paying gig to keep the higher one. We know we’re expendable on the job market, and usually the first to lose our positions when budget cuts happen. That means we’ll put the highest paying and most stable gigs first, since it will hurt us less in the pocketbook if we lose something small. Sadly, most gig workers won’t let an employer know what the “break point” is – what pay and time commitment level is needed to put a gig on the top of the pile. If you’re really serious about making sure that your work takes priority, ask what it would take. Don’t be surprised if a candidate doesn’t answer easily or at all. (There’s advice to gig workers here, too. It’s better to be honest about this, if an employer asks.) Keep in mind that a lot of people are new to this type of employment – employers and employees alike. We’re all on a learning curve on how to negotiate terms.

I do gig work for the flexibility – That might seem obvious, but it gets lost once the contract negotiations start. Employers get requirements floating in their heads, and potential employees start weighing the wages versus time commitment. Also, it’s important to remember that gig workers have to shift gears from one employer to the next on a daily basis. Not all employers have the same expectations, even within the same field. Don’t set yourself up to lose gig employees on a regular basis by expecting them to know everything you want immediately. For example, in my own field of writing and editing, I regularly shift between writing styles – AP, APA, and Chicago – and occasionally that gear shifting is a bit rusty. If every employer I had assumed that I was incompetent when I would occasionally use the wrong style for them, there would be major problems. Thankfully, I haven’t dealt with that often, but on the rare occasions that I have, employers who insulted my intelligence quickly found out that while they considered me expendable, that thinking was mutual.

Yes, gig workers do talk to each other – This can work for or against employers who hire people on contract on a regular basis. There isn’t a formal “black list” per se, but word travels fast if someone is slow to pay, too demanding for the pay offered, or just generally “difficult.” On the other side, there are companies that get recommended as great employers, too.

I do know how to find other gig workers – If you already have gig workers for one type of work, and need them for another, a good place to start looking is among the ones you already have. Some people have multiple skill sets, so you might have what you’re looking for already. When we apply for a gig, we don’t necessarily say anything about other skills we have. Failing that, we know other gig workers personally, and we usually have favorite places to look for gigs. (Very few of us will ever go to Craigslist, but we probably are registered on at least one or two freelance job sites.) Ask us, and we’ll tell you where to find the cream of the crop, or ask around for you.

Offices are overrated – In my industry – writing and editing – there are rare circumstances when it’s absolutely necessary for people to actually work in an office together. In spite of the movement toward team-building, open office plans, and living room style work spaces, there is still a large contingent of people who like to call the coffee shop their office. Gig workers are usually in that set. Let’s be honest – we do this so we don’t have to deal with set hours, commuting to an office, or changing out of our pajamas to go to work. Beyond saving on overhead for office space, offering remote gigs opens up your options, too. You’re no longer limited to your local area when you’re searching to fill a position. If your argument for having your employees under your own roof is that you want to be able to keep an eye on them, you might need to rethink your staffing choices and management style. Yes, you do have to trust remote workers – a lot. Ask yourself, do you really want to feel that you can’t trust your own employees to do their jobs without needing someone to watch?

This list is generally interrelated, and only scratches the surface. There probably could be a few books written on the in’s and out’s of gig work, and how to break down some of the walls that often end up between the workers and their employers. The bottom line is that gig workers are usually a mix between the “work to live” and “live to work” crowds – the two extremes. Either they’re doing just what they need to be able to pay the bills and afford what they want, or they’re total workaholics who wish for 48 hour days and 14 day weeks. The ones who stick with it aren’t the kind of workers who need hand-holding and excessive amounts of guidance. They’re doing the same thing the business owners they work for do, just on a smaller scale. It’s a business, and when you hire one, you’re hiring a “boss.” Maybe just remembering that is a good start for employers who are stepping into the world of hiring gig workers.


Source: Liz Harrison

What Gig Employees Wish Employers Understood

Ann Coulter, UC Berkeley, and Attention Whoredom

I made the observation on Twitter that there really was no way that Ann Coulter was ever going to speak on the UC Berkeley campus.

Full stop.

That shouldn’t need to be repeated, and if anyone can come up with a remotely-close-to-legitimate argument to the contrary, I may have to publicly humiliate myself for their benefit.

Since I’m not into humiliation, on with the explanation why Coulter just wasn’t going to do that appearance.

There is a single piece of information that is needed to explain this—Milo Yiannopoulos was pushed off that campus, violently so.

On the scale of “objectionable persons” in the sheltered world known as the UC system in general, the flamboyant gay guy who likes to call the president “daddy” is actually less detestable than Ann Coulter. At least he’s gay, right?

Coulter has built a reputation for being crass, ignorant, hateful, bigoted… I could go on, but I’m not in the mood to show the extent of my vocabulary right now. Bluntly, she stands for all the things that Berkeley students cower in safe spaces to shield themselves from every day.

If anyone wants to attempt to start the argument of free speech, and diversity of views on campus, see the previous list of negative adjectives. “If” Coulter was remotely close to serious, and could manage to string two sentences together without insulting huge swathes of the US population, then we could get into that discussion.

That isn’t the case.

Coulter is a shock jock, in the hateful toad sense, as opposed to the stripper-loving Howard Stern sense. While the latter might wander into the realm of misogyny, at least it’s with the consent of the participants (and all in naughty fun.)

When dealing with someone who cannot manage to offer constructive ideas without peppering them heavily with hate, there is no reason to suggest that there would be educational value for students. Well, maybe she might be a good case study for psychology students, but it’s doubtful that Coulter would appreciate being told by her audience that they think she’s a sociopath, a malignant narcissist, or both.

This entire exercise had nothing to do with freedom of speech on campus. Hate speech, while still protected speech for the moment, does not have educational value outside of pointing at it as an example of what not to do. It’s already been established that Coulter doesn’t take kindly to being challenged on her twisted world view, so there wouldn’t be an opportunity for an enlightened debate on anything. So, what was this really about?

Coulter is an attention whore.

She’s worried about remaining relevant, so she’s creating dramas to keep herself in the spotlight. What’s better than to have the she-devil claim to be the victim of the special snowflakes that can’t handle hearing her vitriol?

Newsflash—the snowflakes aren’t the only ones who don’t want to listen to her. There are plenty of people who at least slightly agree with Coulter who don’t want to hear her either. Back to the previous statement about her fear of losing relevancy.

So, before anyone gets sucked into the “Coulter as victim” nonsense, think about it. The only thing Coulter is a victim of at this point is fewer dollars in her pocketbook because fewer people want to hear her these days. Now that she’s taken to trying to force herself in front of groups she knows very well have zero interest in hearing her, everyone should be smelling the desperation.


Source: Liz Harrison

Ann Coulter, UC Berkeley, and Attention Whoredom

Cooling off after tragedy

A few days ago, people were suggesting to me that the media has been less than responsible when it comes to coverage of tragedies, because footage of victims and family members have been everywhere. Of course, the public wants to know what is going on, but placing the fear and misery of those closest to the situation truly is nothing more than tragedy porn.

The observation was made that these people should be given some time to process the horrible tragedies they are facing before having a microphone shoved in their faces, and that is absolutely true. If I am absolutely honest with myself, I put off writing on the concept of giving those people time to at least compose their thoughts and feelings for public consumption because I needed time to think about how to put the thoughts about a cooling off period together at least somewhat coherently.

Many people in the media business refer to the process of gathering news and reporting as “feeding the beast,” and when it comes to the coverage of tragedies, it definitely is just that. Unfortunately, the beast they are feeding at that point is one of the darkest parts of human nature. People are curious about the pain of others, whether we want to admit it or not. When it comes to violence in the news, seeing the statements of people who are closest to the crime feeds that inner-beast.

If it was just a matter of feeding a dark need for violence “porn,” perhaps it wouldn’t be very bad. Unfortunately, it typically goes far beyond that, as the heart-wrenching comments of survivors and families of victims become fodder for debate over how we run our society. While it should be obvious to anyone with common sense that it is not wise to take the advice of someone who is emotionally distraught on matters that would be far-reaching and long-standing in our society, that’s exactly what many people do.

Of course someone who has just lost a family member in a shooting is going to probably say something about wanting to see fewer or no guns in our society anymore. That statement is a highly emotional response to loss, and typically is recorded by the media before anyone has even a day to process the events that have occurred. Then many people, including our leaders, start nodding in agreement, without taking into account that these requests were being made by people who are not in a mental state to deal with the situation in front of them rationally.

While it’s unlikely that we will ever be able to stop the media from serving up violence “porn,” we certainly can learn to place those statements from victims and their families in proper perspective. Yes, we certainly should show empathy, and we shouldn’t suggest that these people are not entitled to have time to process their grief and other feelings. If they choose to speak to the media, their statements shouldn’t be used as fuel in the fires of debate, and definitely shouldn’t be used to guide public policy or the law. The bottom line remains that until they have time to process what they are dealing with emotionally, it must be assumed that their comments are at least a little irrational. There is nothing wrong with that, and it is to be expected. Being irrational simply means that one is allowing his or her thought processes to be ruled by emotions more than by logic and facts.

No matter how much anyone might suggest otherwise, our legal system needs to be ruled by facts, not emotions. Also, as a society, we need to learn that some things in this world simply cannot be prevented, no matter how much we may wish it otherwise. Every tragedy we face is not a call to action. While it might be tempting to think we really must “do something,” the real thing we should be doing is just being there for the people who need us the most – the victims and their families. In the end, it is impossible to legislate safety. At least we can work on finding more empathy within ourselves.

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Source: LH Consulting

Cooling off after tragedy