You know what I'm leading to: sex. Or, to put it a bit more delicately, leveraging your body.
But how? Judging from two recent news items, men and women have very different options in this arena. Which one is worse? You decide.
My first reaction was that men have it so much easier: When Boston attorney Ben Seisler was a struggling law student ten years ago, he made money by taking a detour to the sperm bank, reports The Boston Globe:
Seisler averaged $150 per donation and said the transaction seemed pretty uncomplicated.“They told me I’d be anonymous,’’ said Seisler, who donated sperm at the Fairfax Cryobank in Virginia to help defray his law school bills from George Mason University.
For women, the body trade isn't nearly as pleasant--or quick. Recently, MSNBC's The Red Tape chronicled a laid-off lawyer who's now working as a topless dancer in a "medium-size city." (Hat tip: Above the Law) Here's how MSNBC describes her plight:
"I went around to see if could get a job as cocktail waitress, but there was not a single retail or waitress job. No one was hiring, except for the topless places," she said. “It was an act of desperation.”
She started out serving drinks as a waitress, but moved quickly to dancing "because that's where the money is, and that's what I needed."
On an average day, she earns $20 an hour, but on a good weekend night, she might pull in $50 an hour–enough to get her finances back on track. She can set her own hours, which means she can squeeze in reading and writing papers around her work schedule.
How wonderful she's got flex-time. But here's what gets me: She's making $50 an hour tops, while the sperm donor is getting $150 for a few minutes of work! How unfair is that?
Wait, there's more: Seisler, who is now part of a reality program on family reunions, has fathered at least 70 kids to date (he signed on with an online sperm donor registry, and has been fielding a steady stream of inquiries from the families of his biological children). "Based on his calculations," reports The Globe, Seisler estimates that he's fathered "between 120 and 140 [kids].’’ Because he's nice-looking, athletic, and a professional, Seisler was considered a hot donor.
Adding to the complication is the fact that Seisler, 33, is about to get married, and his fiancée is not taking all this too well. Reports the Globe:
In the show, as they prepare for their wedding, Seisler’s fiancée is clearly miffed about his situation, especially when he tells her on camera that the number is up to 70. She can barely bring herself to refer to them as “children.’’ (She prefers “offspring.’’)
“What if they all come knocking?’’ she asks Seisler, angrily. “I kind of deem it selfish. Did you think of the consequences that would come out of this?’’
Compared to Seisler, the lawyer who's now a topless dancer has a far less complicated situation. Her new vocation (which she says is temporary) might not impress most law firms, but at least it's something she can walk away from.
She also tells MSNBC that working in her new job "is less hostile than any law office she’s worked in." In fact, she's discovered the power of female bonding: "I thought the other women I worked with would be competitive and not supportive. . . . But my female coworkers are the best coworkers I've ever had."
So whose shoes (is that the right word?) would you rather be in?
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Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.