Hello all,

How do you deal with good, relevant experience that may be controversial and put off potential employers?

For some time now I've been moonlighting a small company with my wife. I've written contracts, hired subcontractors, structured our financial system, and in general gained a lot of very good experience. In my day job I manage a small team of engineers and run portions of projects; in my night job I manage a much larger team of people around the world, and do a lot more. The same skills translate quite well.

I'm very proud of what we've done. We set out to revolutionize an industry, and we're on our way. We hire people who often desperately need work, and we treat them with far more respect then they were getting anywhere else. We pay better, regularly, and our finances are transparent. We train our people for skills and ethical expectations, and eventually teach them how to run their own companies if they so desire.

The problem is, it's a phone sex company. There is a lot of stigma that comes with running any adult business, no matter how legal it may be.

When someone asks me what my most significant accomplishment has been, I want to be able to say, "In an industry that was rife with corrupt practices I showed people you can run a company honestly and profitably." I want to say, "I took people who were desperate for money and gave them a safe place to work."  I'll even settle for "I ran my own small company well and profitably."

It seems like the only thing I can do is to pretend like it's never happened, because it is far too likely to be an instant black mark. 

Has anybody else dealt with a similar issue? What did you do? 

Thank you

bug_girl's picture

Oddly enough, I actually had some experience with this very topic recently.  A faculty member working as an Adjunct at a local university (poor pay is standard for Adjuncts) began phone sex work to supplement her income.  She also posed for some promo photos....and that was her undoing.

Sadly, it did not end well for her, although the Academy is probably the most likely place to be friendly to sex-positive work.

I'll let other folks weigh in on how this would be viewed in the corporate world; I'm guessing it will be industry dependent, which means sometimes you might mention it, sometimes not.

I honestly don't know what I would do in terms of hiring, but given a choice, I would probably go with someone without baggage that could potentially cause problems if exposed publicly.  But I work for the state, which means things can, actually, suddenly become political without much notice.


You might try asking around the forums here:

(and that site tries to keep it's main page work friendly, but your mileage may vary.)


asteriskrntt1's picture


Unless you are applying for jobs that value you saving the world and want you to save the world, those are not the accomplishments to put on your resume.  Stick to your management behaviours and leave the industry stuff behind. 

NickA's picture

Talking about those experiences will limit your choice of potential employers.  Is choosing a potential employer from a smaller pool a price that you're willing to pay?

As for the 'saving the world' bit, there are companies that really like that kind of thing, especially the ones that see themselves as trying to save the world (or their industry).  If it's important to you to work for a company like that, then talking about this kind of experience can narrow the pool in a useful way.