I'm the other mother - or Momma Deb. Our family is pretty much like every other family in suburbia. The girls go to school, one mom is on the PTA boards of elementary and middle school. The other mom goes to work, paints, writes, and tries to just have a good time raising kids with her partner. This is my third attempt at blogging...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sometimes You Get Lucky

Last year when I was laid off, I was out pounding the pavement desperately seeking employment. I would go to any interview, look at any position that might be offered. Little did I know that pornography would offer itself up to me as an option.

I remember an interview in San Francisco. It was set up for me by Robert Half Technology - a big name for a big company that does head-hunting. I had gone to RHT and taken their piddly tech exam - which I could have done in my sleep. Somehow that elevated their interest in me. Thing is, the exam was multiple choice and I'm sure my 13 year old could have done as well just by elimination of choices.

So, I get a call from the RHT San Francisco office from a man I had never spoken to before. It was a bit of a cold call and I could hear him swish over the phone. While I never met him, he sure did sound like a gay man. I thought, cool. Family. This might work out okay.

So he said he had a hot lead in downtown SF, off of Market Street. Would I be interested? Well, why not? Then he said,

"Uhm. Do you have a problem with... porn?"

Thoughts are racing. No, I guess I don't really have a problem with porn. As long as I don't have to look at it. And, it doesn't involve children in any way. I'm a live and let live kind of girl. So I said, "Uhm. No. Not really. Why?"

As it turned out, the client was a company which provided pornography online. In my head I'm screaming, "What???!!!? You're kidding, right?" Out loud I said, "Uh-huh."

Oy. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider that I would be asked to interview for a tech position at a porn company.

But, the thoughts were coming fast and furious now. I hadn't worked in months and the bank account was getting pretty lean. I had two kids and a partner relying on me. But what would they think of me? What would I say to them about the business? Maybe I wouldn't have to tell them...? Rats, that wouldn't work! What to do?

Eh. It was just an interview. Let's see how far this roller coaster ride would go. So, I consented to a phone interview, and that went well. Two days later, I found myself getting off BART and wandering around downtown SF. I was a half hour early... it must've been about 9:30 in the morning. There were a LOT of homeless looking people. My oh my.

There were pan-handlers. There was one woman in particular, an Asian woman who had a large suitcase on rollers. Her purse sat on top of it as she pulled it down the street. She stopped a moment, pulled a paper sack out of her purse, pulled a tall beer can out of the bag, and slipped the can on the sidewalk under one of the newspaper stands. She then strode off to a convenience store a couple doors down. The next thing I knew another woman came along and picked up the can - which was evident that it be not quite empty. She took a swig, kept the can and walked off. In the mean time the first woman came back with a new can of beer, put it in the paper sack, put it in her purse, and off she went.

I'm thinking to myself - would I want to take BART into the city every day and be a part of this crowd? Well, I would do it if it meant having food and roof over our heads, given no other options.

So I headed down to the street where the business was located. It wasn't so much a street as it is a large alley. Not a good sign. I find the door - a security door with a camera above it. I get buzzed in. Walk up the stairs into a loft-like area. It's a nicely done office area. There were some big porn posters - nothing overtly outrageous, but still... They ushered me into a nice conference room where we talked about this and that. Technical things, my willingness to be on call, how would I feel about working at home if necessary (there may be photos on the screen), stuff like that.

When I walked out of there, I really, really, really did not want to work there. But at the same time I was struggling. What if they did offer me the job? What if I didn't get any more offers? Could I work for them for a short contract to see?


I hated thinking about it. If I worked there, I couldn't tell my friends, I'm not sure I could even tell my family. What was I to do?

As it turned out, when I got home I worked very hard at getting more contacts. I got a couple of other irons heating up in the coals. By the time the porn-guys actually did call and offer me a job, it was with relief and happiness that I could turn them down and take a contract with a bank instead.

And that, my friends, was as close as I ever hope to come to working in the pornography industry. It makes my skin crawl just to think about it.

Dodged a bullet that time, I think.