Leading with Compassion
Blog Post Written By: GoAskAlex
This spring marked a whopping eight years for me as a sex worker. As always, the anniversary was an opportunity to reflect on the ups and downs of my career, and to take inventory of my accomplishments.
Sex Work, as we know, requires a very specific set of skills (am I the only one who read that in a Liam Neeson voice?). Our industry is unique in more ways than I can name, but just as workers in any other industry, we too strive for success.
Success means something different to everyone, but generally speaking it can be defined as financial stability, job security, and recognition for our work. Whether for better or worse, success often means that tens or even hundreds of thousands of people know who we are. For many of us, our most loyal fans have followed us from our budding beginnings in the industry. In my experience, we tend to cultivate a following of supporters and colleagues whose values align with our own.Whether or not we like it, politics are an undeniable part of our work. Even if your social media is free from political discourse, Sex Work itself is political. By force of circumstance, we exist on the fringes of society and are often at the centre of moral debates.
With that in mind and with so many people watching our every move online, the way we conduct ourselves has become a critical component in the longevity of our careers. With so many eyes on every decision we make, a faux pas is inevitable for each and every one of us.
Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone has a million twitter followers ready to tear them apart at the drop of a hat. Considering our public role as influencers in the adult entertainment industry, we’ve learned that we need to be diligent with how we interact with the world. We are, after all, at the core of much social change.
Most of us are guilty of jumping to conclusions at one point or another. At least, I know I am. It’s all too easy to make snap judgments about someone based on what we’ve heard or read online. When we see something we don’t agree with, our first instinct is to say so.
It’s important to remember how easy it is for us to be judgmental when our mistakes aren't the ones being scrutinized. The truth is, things look different depending on which side of the keyboard we’re on.
I recently shared something on social media, and due a lack of knowledge regarding how the app worked (ok let’s be honest, I’m pushing 30 and I repel technology) I did not credit the original creator of the content. Shortly after I shared the content online, I was informed of a serious medical emergency that occurred in my family. I was distracted with family obligations, and didn’t end up revisiting social media for several days. When I finally did, I saw that I had been publicly ‘called out’ by another performer for not crediting the original creator in the video I shared. A fellow performer inferred that I was exploiting other creators and encouraged their followers to avoid working with me. I quickly fixed the error, but the fact that it was a mistake didn’t seem to matter.
The damage was done.
The whole experience reminded me of another situation I encountered not too long ago. In 2020 I attended my first ever AVN Convention in Las Vegas. With an average of over 35,000 attendees every year, it is the largest convention I have ever taken part in. I had a great time meeting other creators and filming content, but despite my best efforts to manage my energy levels, I left the week-long convention feeling exhausted and burnt out. Almost a year later I reached out to a fellow model whose work I idolized, only to find out that they had tried to approach me at the convention… and that I had ignored them! I was mortified to hear this as I had no recollection of it. I had been so stressed and anxious during the convention that I was practically delirious, and as a result I had come across as rude. Reflecting on this helped me to realize that we never really know what’s happening for someone else - or why they react the way that we do.
I would never intentionally ignore or offend another creator, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened unintentionally. If that's true, then the same can be said for some of the creators who I have freely judged in the past.
We truly have no idea what anyone else is dealing with, or what experiences may have led to their behaviour. Since we live in a digital world, it's more important than ever to be diligent about how we conduct ourselves. We never know who is watching or how it could be interpreted. The vast majority of us have no desire to propagate drama or to offend our community, but unfortunately we aren’t born knowing how to navigate every social situation. The only way to gain that knowledge is by making mistakes, and learning from them.
We are all working towards our idea of success, and through that process we inevitably learn that it's impossible to be perfect all of the time.
My advice to you is to enter each conversation with compassion for those around you. Whether these conversations take place in person or via social media, remember that the person you are talking to may not have had the same experiences as you. Jumping to conclusions will, more often than not, cause more harm than good.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to explain their opinions, and when we feel heard we are more likely to absorb feedback.
In the end, isn’t that how we all want to be treated?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blog post above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SexWorkCEO or MelRose Michaels. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.