Fancy working on a 450-Euros-Basis? by Janet

Last summer, crossing the German border, an advertisement on the window of a supermarket chain calls out to me (see the image above). Looking for staff to strengthen their team, I stood in front of this advertisement for a few minutes because I could hardly believe it… I wasn’t sure of what I was reading. So, I took a picture to give me more time to read and re-read this job offer which seemed surreal to me. Once back home, in Switzerland, I wanted to share with you Ladies this article which in the best case, will make you ponder and adjust your behavior or at least, open your eye and encourage you to alter the outlook you are having on your escort job.

What this ad really means?

For the English speakers here, who may not understand German, here is a translation of what this ad says:

“ We are looking for YOU to help us reinforce our Team on a 450- EURO-Basis. Leave your CV directly at one of our shop. We are looking forwards to hearing from you. Your Penny team in Jetstetten. “

What surprised me the most was the “retribution”. It is not clear whether it is a monthly or bi-monthly. But regarding wages in Germany, we are certainly not talking about a weekly salary here… That low pay does not allow us to believe that we are talking about a full-time job here. It is certainly a deliberate will of the company to remain vague on this essential piece of information which will motivate or not people to apply. And yet, by carefully analyzing the words (voluntarily written in bold to avoid talking about it again and telling you “we wrote it in the ad, and it is not negotiable”), we are talking here about 450-EURO -Basis. For me, it’s very clear, I know how to read between the lines, and I see the prank here, but I know that the vast majority of people, at least those targeted for this kind of “job opportunity”, may read this ad differently. But what does this intriguing wording (450-EURo-Basis) really mean? It didn’t take me long searches on the internet to find the definition of this new modern slavery. A recent article written by a researcher and published in 2021 tells us that these forms of employment called Mini-Jobs are very popular in Germany but also deepen inequalities between social classes. Here is an extract of the research paper of Regina Konle-Seild (2021) which full article (in English) is linked right below:

“Mini-jobs remain controversial in the German political landscape. The reasons to restrict or to strengthen the incentives for this peculiar employment scheme changed over time. However, there is still no political majority for its removal mainly because of its popularity among both, mini-jobbers and employers. Some political parties such as the Liberals and the Conservatives emphasise the contribution of mini-jobs to more flexibility for small- and medium-sized enterprises while others such as the Greens, the Left and the Social Democrats have called for a removal of the scheme by converting mini-jobs into employment fully covered by social insurance. Experts have also highlighted that in times of increasing labour shortages mini-jobs are a threat to securing a sustainable supply of skilled workers Mini-jobs have not stood the test in the COVID-19 crisis, either. One reason for its strong decrease since early 2020 is the fact that mini-jobbers are not eligible for the insurance-based short-time work allowance – the most important policy instrument to safeguard jobs in times of crisis in Germany” (Konle-Seild, 2021).

https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/9AC3B2E663E2F283270DCDA074F83484/S2169976321000115a.pdf/precarious-but-popular-the-german-mini-job-scheme-in-comparative-research-on-work-and-welfare.pdf

What are Mini-jobs exactly?

In Germany, these are part-time jobs that do not require any special skills, low paid and usually occupied by women, students, pensioners… One can have two mini-jobs simultaneously and expect to earn a maximum of 520 EUR a month brutto for 8 to 20 hours weekly work, which are tax-free, but for which you have to take out employment insurance. Another important thing to mention: Mini-jobs are not subject to pension insurance. Last but not least, Mini-jobs have flexible working hours and are very easy to find and require little to no qualification.

In other words, that’s the money you can expect to take home when you have no qualification, meaning that you are not competitive in the job market. Wages have been stagnating over the past 50 years. So, if salaries for unskilled workers are so low in 2023, how much can you expect to get in 5 to 10 years from now knowing that the cost of living won’t stop going up?

This is how many employers manage to recruit easily, at a lower cost and completely legally as these measures are being supported by the German government (the same work initiatives are spreading over other EU countries. Mini-jobs are ubiquitous and can be found in France, the Netherlands, Belgium…). And why don’t they raise wages? Well, because they have enough applicants, who do not see the trickery of these precarious jobs or who simply have no other alternatives… Yes, yes, there are many people ready to work for this salary and you know why? Because there are fewer and fewer options in the job market, in contradiction from what the media makes us believe that companies today roll out the red carpet to all  young people who want to join their company…Beware of what they say to keep you in the illusion. There is a job shortage, yes but not for everyone, not everywhere and certainly not for the best jobs on the market. Do you still follow me? In a nutshell, either you are highly skilled/highly qualified or you get the other jobs, those that cannot be automated, those badly paid. Switzerland isn’t trapped in that scenario yet, but it could eventually come. However, the EU has its two feet in it.

Any job but Sex Worker!

This is a phenomenon that has been observed in Europe for several years. Staff shortages are increasing in all sectors of activity and apparently, unemployment is low, and candidates have a choice of where and for whom they want to work. I find this media propaganda hard to believe. I know several people who have just completed their postgraduate studies and who after many months are only offered unpaid internships… Because in fact, what they avoid telling us is that what is decisive is what you studied, where you studied it and your social, economic and cultural capital. The rest matters less. It is your starting capital that will determine your future, your future work and the salary you can expect to earn. It is in fact a question of social class and no longer of meritocracy. There are of course exceptions to the rule but, very few.

The adage that there is work for everyone is partially true: yes, there is work. However, the best, most socially rewarding, highest paying and most interesting jobs are not accessible to everyone. This started in the 80’s and it will be even more so in the future. I have often heard people saying: “I would rather clean toilets than working as an Escort”. Sounds like being a Sex Worker is more degrading than cleaning public toilets. Well, the 450-Euros-Basis employee at Penny is not cleaning toilets and still does not get financially rewarded for doing that job…that gives you an idea how low salaries can go especially in certain countries of the EU (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany to only name a few) … which may ultimately make you reconsider/respect your job as an Escort and see it as a real job (and not as a hobby as many of you see it), especially if you have no education, incomplete studies and/or no clear perspective in life.

If you choose to be an Escort and do it the right way, there isn’t any average job that can make you earn what you will earn as an Escort, especially if you have no qualification. If you did not understand it yet, it’s about time. Be appreciative for what this Escort job is bringing you because anyone can end up at Penny. It does not only happen to others…

How not to end-up at 450-EUR-Basis as an Escort-Girl?

If you live in Switzerland in this economical context, you can consider yourself lucky. In this country (certainly among the few real functional democracies in the world), decency is still in order.

Did you know that 90% of the girls who work as an Escort in Switzerland comes from the European Union? The median salary of a young non-graduate in the European Union is between 800 and 1200 EUR per month (before taxes). Do you remember how many times you made that money in one day? But just because it used to be that way doesn’t mean it will always be so in the future.

To face the uncertainty that awaits us all, it is important to change your outlook on this Escort job that you have chosen to do. As an independent Escort, you’re constantly facing insecurity, competition, economic fluctuations and the fact that (for the vast majority of you) you do not pay taxes and do not contribute anything (or not much) for your retirement.

My advice for lasting and maintaining your income in this industry is: respect yourself, respect your escort job, and behave in a way that good clients will show respect towards you. As soon as you lose respect in the eyes of these clients, you will start losing money because these customers will no longer come to see you. Having trouble working as before pushes you to lower your rates to be able to meet current bills and maintain your lifestyle. In general, when prices go down, the quality of service also goes down. When the quality of service drops, you no longer do this work with fun but rather in a constraining way. When you do something against your will, drugs, alcohol, illicit substances are often necessary to keep you going, especially if you have a fragile personality (like your Escorts peers). When you are under the influence of these kinds of substances, you become controllable and easily influenced, at the mercy of any predator. Suddenly you are working in a completely different context and you attract a completely different clientele who often do not wish you well. When you are controlled mentally and/or physically abused, you are disposable. And that’s how a gentle descent into hell begins. It’s not my imagination Ladies, it’s what happens to a lot of girls in this industry, girls who are full of themselves, who have no back-up plan, burn money as fast as they earn it, take clients for granted and think they will look like Cinderella for another 20 years. One day, they wake up doing their monthly accounts, deducting their expenses and realizing they barely have earned 450-EUR-Basis…  It does not only happen to others.

Why a “bad week” is still a good one?

Before the Covid-19 tragedy, many of you at TVR used to earn over 5000 CHF a week (as take-home salary). In 2022/2023, only the best among you still hit that weekly target and a few even overstep that figure.

However, as the global economic context has taken a different turn since March 2020, it is important to understand and accept that 5000 CHF per week is no longer considered the average but the exception. Yes, we are in Switzerland but still. Even here, money does not grow in trees.

Remember that a young general practitioner in the European Union earns between 2000 and 3000 EUR net per month. So, when you earn that net amount per week for a job you have chosen to do (and more than half of you at TVR earn at least that money per week, if not more) untaxed, you have no right to complain about anything (even when you have some rare weeks below 2000 CHF ). Consider yourself privileged because today, even in Switzerland, it is not everywhere that you can earn this kind of money by working under the conditions offered by TVR. Learn to appreciate what you have, stop complaining and stop living beyond your means (unfortunately, this is a problem faced by many escorts in this industry). If it was better in your country, you wouldn’t come to Switzerland and you certainly couldn’t afford all those sunny holidays made possible thanks to your work as an independent Escort in Switzerland. So before complaining:

“Oh Janet, this week I only earned 1500 CHF (1CHF = 1 EUR) for myself. What a bad week!”,

remember that nowadays, even a bad week in this industry is actually still a good one.

Janet for TheVelvetRooms

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