Q: How did you become a phone psychic?
A: I answered an ad on Craigslist for that very thing. They got back to me and there is actually a process.
First I did an online application and then I had to do two thirty-minute readings with people who already worked for the company. They were both normal—just a general reading. One was weird because the person just listened. The other person and I had a more meaningful exchange.
Q: So you didn’t just read from a script? They wanted you to have actual talent?
A: They asked what methods you used, like if you used astrology or crystals or what are your areas of expertise. I don’t know if they cared how legitimate your methods were.
I filled out forms and everything. Faxed them my social security number, photo ID. It wasn’t just some welfare mom reading a script. They take it pretty seriously, like they’d like you to get a second phone line. I didn’t, but they want you to.
Q: You did it from home?
A: Yes, I worked from my home. You have to have a land line so there is no interruption in service.
Q: And your area of expertise is tarot cards? How did you learn?
A: I taught myself. I bought a tarot deck and read the instructions, used it.
It’s not like a predicting the future kind of thing—like this person is going to die. It’s more vague, very general. The cards almost don’t matter because you’re just interpreting human psychology.
Results tend to point out where people are in their life. A lot of people respond to it. They already know the answer to what they’re asking but they don’t until someone points it out.
Q: How does the job work?
A: You say you’re accepting calls. You also have set times that you say you’re available.
I’d been online for a fair amount of time, maybe two hours, before I got my first call. The person calls an 800- number and selects the psychic they want to talk to.
Q: How much did you get paid?
A: The pay is by the minute, like 39 cents a minute.
Q: How long did you do this job?
A: I only did it for a brief time. It was very stressful.
Maybe it’s just me but the person was paying money for every single minute they were talking to me so I felt really rushed. Maybe that’s not how they were thinking, but I was.
Q: What kind of questions did people ask?
A: The questions were really specific—it was kind of surprising.
There was one where they asked: this person is gone from work, are they coming back? I flipped the cards and I don’t remember the specifics but it gave an indication that they were gone, so I said they weren’t coming back.
It really freaked me out. I just felt too pressured to deliver results in an impersonal setting. This is just a total stranger with a specific request. People who call are really at a point where they don’t know what to do, and they are really stressed out about it. When they had me do the tests they were thirty-minute things so I didn’t feel quite as “Oh my gosh, I have to get this done.”
Q: Have you ever called one of these lines yourself?
A: One time I called when there was a free one.
Q: I know Dionne Warwick and friends used to do something like this. What was that other lady’s name? She was Jamaican or something?
A: Miss Cleo.
Q: That’s right. Can you tell me more about the cards? All I know is what I’ve seen in movies.
A: The death card is actually not that bad. The one that’s bad is the tower. It represents violent change through having everything destroyed. It’s a very disruptive and violent change. Which is good because you can put things back together, and it signifies change and growth. But it’s violent change.
Q: Did this job teach you anything about yourself?
A: I guess that I enjoy dabbling in it but it’s probably not good for me to do it as a business. Maybe if I had the person in front of me, but definitely not on the phone.
Q: Did you tell your parents about this job?
A: I never told my parents, no.
Q: Would you ever tell them?
A: Maybe my mom. My dad is a retired minister so he might have objections to the very premise.
Q: How long did you do this?
A: I did it for a day or two. I got a paycheck for a dollar and for a long time I kept it as proof that I did it.
Q: Did this job have any effect on any other job you ever had after that?
A: Not even remotely.