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I have recently been offered a job as a software developer at a small company. I was excited about this position - the colleagues I will be working with all seem clever and motivated, which is what attracted me to the job. I will be joining a small team, which is currently made up of two people, a manager and a recent hire. I was idly searching LinkedIn this evening to get an idea of the background of the recent hire, when I found a very juvenile and inappropriate set of domains run by him.

The domains are both named after and contain content related to juvenile but very NSFW content. I have reason to believe that this is not just an old, forgotten domain - the websites appear to have been regularly updated in recent years. This employee (judging by his LinkedIn history) must be about 30 years old. He still uses related usernames on multiple websites, including some that can only have been created in the last few years.

I feel as if this is incredibly juvenile and at the very least quite bizarre, and I am no longer sure I want to work with this person. I am concerned that he will bring this immature attitude into the workplace, and at a broader level I am slightly uncomfortable with the level of investment he has made into what is at best a very outdated meme. In such a small team I will not be able to avoid dealing with him on a regular, extended basis. I have several questions that I would like opinions on:

  • Am I overreacting?
  • How should I proceed with the job offer?
  • Given that these websites are entirely personal, should I inform the company of it?
  • I once saw a talk on YouTube about a technical subject which the presenter had littered with juvenile references to the same nsfw topic. I think it was defcon or something but could be wrong. He's a guy I'd very much like to work with based on his technical prowess, but on the other hand I'm not too fussed about his sense of humour. – rath Oct 31 '18 at 23:21
  • "juvenile but very NSFW content" Its not illegal, is it? – user41891 Nov 1 '18 at 18:33
  • Wait a second... He had "juvenile and inappropriate" content on his LinkedIn? I call shenanigans – Gaius Nov 2 '18 at 9:01
  • There is an old saying which IMHO is applicable here "You can't control what people say or do, you can only control how you react to it". – Peter M Nov 4 '18 at 18:28
44

What people do in their own spare time is purely their business. None of what you have mentioned is illegal and unless he is bringing this to work with him and plastering photos of it all over his cubicle you shouldn't even acknowledge that you know this side to him. Everyone is entitled to a private life.

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    +1 to this. Trust me, you don't WANT to know what your colleagues get up to in their off hours. So long as it doesn't impact your work, live and let live. – GOATNine Nov 1 '18 at 11:53
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    To be honest, putting it on your Linkedin means that it is no longer purely private business. But it is no worse than an off-hand mention. – Borgh Nov 1 '18 at 13:21
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I'd advise you not to take the job as your coworker would certainly be the one who would be worse off, having to deal with being spied on and constantly judged.

Not only are you overreacting, you are being unprofessional. If he's not bringing it into the office, then it's none of your business.

If you take the job, don't bring it up, or you will learn, VERY QUICKLY one simple fact:

HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

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    "If he's not bringing it into the office" -- except, OP does not know if he's not bringing it into the office. That's why he's asking this question, because there exists that possibility. So how about you address that part of the question instead of acting like a smartass? – SAK Nov 4 '18 at 17:48
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    @sak, you're free to provide an answer of your own, obviously, given your rep in here, you must have a much much better idea. – Richard U Nov 4 '18 at 19:26
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    @SAK So, you consider it to be good manners to jump into a forum and have among your first actions to be cursing at a top contributor. I'd like to know what you consider bad manners. – Richard U Nov 4 '18 at 20:47
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    From my short presence on this SE, and my lifelong desire to get a tatoo, I'm considering "HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND" as a possible candidate. Jk, but I chuckled at how those words spring up everywhere – Liquid Nov 5 '18 at 8:57
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    @Liquid It is a bit of a cliche`, yes, but for some strange reason, people think that going to HR as a first resort is a good idea. HR is there for the company's sake, not the employee's – Richard U Nov 5 '18 at 11:45
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I think you should decline this offer and seek employment elsewhere.

And I certainly hope you do not "inform" HR of your discovery in an attempt to try and screw over your former colleague, whom you have never met or been acquainted with, because his hobbies do not align with your morals.

I can already tell this will be a very toxic relationship if you were to work with this colleague judging by your demeanor in this post.

Please do your manager and colleague a favor and decline the offer.

5

Now that you've established this negative image in your mind even before you've started working with him, it's in your best interests to just seek other opportunities. This will only end up badly for everyone if you decide to continue with it.

Your discovery means absolutely nothing to the company, it's a personal project for a reason and by the looks of it, it's not even remotely related to what the company does, nor does he put out company-specific info out on his LinkedIn. It's none of their concern.

Just because you don't agree with what someone does outside of work doesn't necessarily mean it'll influence their work. Now you're only looking at one person, but what if you find someone else's private matters to be worse? Best to stay out of someone else's personal business.

You're badly overreacting and even attempting to bring someone's personal matters to the company you're not even employed at yet is quite unprofessional. Surely there's some other place out there where your potential colleagues satisfies you on moral grounds, seeing as that's a deal breaker for you.

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I'm going to disagree with the other answers here.

In a two-person team, your interaction with your co-worker is going to be a major part of your daily life, and it's going to affect both you, him, and the company, and despite what the other answers are claiming, that interaction is most likely going to be suboptimal (see reasons below) -- and as a result, obviously is something you ought to take into account (but it may or may not be a dealbreaker, that's up to you to decide).

The interaction is going to be supoptimal for two reasons. First of all, you've already discovered that this person is immature and juvenile. Will you be able to interact with him in optimal fashion, considering your discoveries? Unless you're a robot, probably not. In fact, he could be the perfect working partner, and you'd still never be able to respect him. That perception isn't just going to go away because he happens to be a good programmer.

Secondly, if a person is immature and juvenile, that will also most likely tend to affect their interaction with you. The notion that people have the supernatural ability to act completely differently outside of work and at work is just absurd. If he really is immature and juvenile, trust me, that'll manifest itself in some way or another at work and which will cause a strain on your relationship.

In short, your personal relationships with your co-workers matter, especially in a two-man team. Ignoring that based on some superficial notion on "minding your own business" is terrible advice. You "mind your own business" when your co-worker prefers eggs rather than pancakes, or watches football instead of basketball. But extreme personalities are not their own business, it becomes your business too once you are to work with that person on a daily basis.

  • I have seen a photo of my grandfather and myself competing at touch-your-nose-with-your-tongue. My excuse is that I was about 3, but he was in his 70's. Obviously immature. On the other hand he was in the process of revising his many-revision textbook on South America. Whether or not the ability is supernatural, in practice people can be highly responsible in their work and still relax in completely different ways. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 4 '18 at 22:12
  • Do personal opinions of other people contribute to being professional around them? Sometimes you have to set some things aside for the sake of professionalism. OP is fortunate enough to still have a choice to not work with said colleague. – Noir Antares Nov 6 '18 at 0:09

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