I'm currently in school studying for a BS in Computer Science. I have a job to help cover my expenses, but it doesn't pay enough, it's stressful, and the hours are inconvienient. I've recently been looking into the idea of working in the adult industry - specifically, webcam modelling - because of the income potential and schedule flexibility.

The only reason I hesitate to do this is I know it has the potential to limit future job opportunities. From the reasearch I've already done, it seems that this is mostly a problem for those in professions like teaching, politics, and other jobs where one has to interact with children or be a "role model." I couldn't find any information about software development, though, so I thought I'd ask here. I'm aware that once something is on the internet, it's impossible to get rid of it. Also, since I would obviously have to pay taxes on the income, there would be a paper trail (a 1099) that would show up if an employer took the time to look.

How likely would this be to show up on the type of background check that your average software company runs? If the information did come up, what effect would it have on my job prospects? What if I already had a job, and my employer found out?

  • Comments removed. Please use comments to clarify/improve the question. For extended discussion, please use The Workplace Chat.
    – yoozer8
    Dec 30, 2013 at 16:45
  • But this will be of course software developing job? From one of the answers I think the word modelling may be unclear here.
    – user1023
    Jan 2, 2014 at 19:32
  • I saw a story where a male high-school teacher was sacked after being exposed(!) as a stripper. There was no suggestion he'd behaved inappropriately at the school, or any question about the legality of his extra-curricular activity, but they fired him anyway which seemed rather unfair. Aug 15, 2014 at 16:28

3 Answers 3


So.. speaking as someone in the software industry and with some interesting performing arts hobbies, this one strikes very close to home, and I've talked with many folks in many professions about it.

First and foremost is the question - how do YOU feel about this?

If you are not happy or comfortable doing this. Or if you think you will ever, at any point in the future be unhappy that you did this - don't do it! Be true to yourself. It really, really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you or your actions if you, yourself aren't proud of them. Don't let the questions of the limiting factors based on how other people or groups think obscure the basic truth that it's you that has to live in your own skin.

Some corollaries are:

  • Would you be OK admitting to a fellow professional that you had done this work?
  • Would you be OK with a social friend and/or family member finding out that you had done this work?
  • Do you expect that significant others would be OK with you having done this work?

The trick is, that if you think people who would care for you would judge you harshly, does this mean that you, yourself judge these actions poorly.

I say that as a person who actually thinks that the human body is pretty cool, and showing it off is neat, and I can tolerate other people's views if they can tolerate mine. But ya gotta make your own decisions here.

Next - Job Prospects in Knowledge Work

Mileage is going to vary a LOT here based on location, industry and company personality. Will it be OK with a software company creating software for a highly moral-driven purpose - like software for a political campaign, educational software for minors, or something with a religious purpose? Probably not. Will it be OK for a hip, young, funky company that is doing some sort of wacky technology? Yep, probably... I've had a number of wild artistic pursuits over the years and worked in a number of very uptight firms and they've respected that I separate work and life. That said, I know folks that have had different experiences.

The issues usually come in two varieties:

  • 1 - it's not how the company wants to identify itself. This is particularly relevant if you are in a public role (not likely in software engineering... but there are plenty of famous geeks who serve as counter examples), where your actions and the company's values aren't readily separable.

  • 2 - it's a concern with how customers will react. For example, the company may be liberal, but the customer base may be very conservative. This is probably more relevant for a smaller company where everyone takes on many roles, or for a company where you specifically have a customer facing role.

I'd venture the thought that everyone gets judged for something, so the only safe thing is to make sure that you are judged for things that you can stand by and are willing to fight for.

Background Checks

The average background check process (at the moment) is something like a drug screen, criminal history check and reference check. Presuming you aren't using your webcam modelling job on your job history, and you aren't getting arrested, because what you are doing is legal where you are (just an assumption, mileage varies on that, too), then it's unlikely to come up on the official screening process.

I'd point out, though, that in the software industry, your coworkers are VERY likely to be capable of using computers and the internet. You can bet that someone in your office will find you on Facebook, LinkedIn, StackExchange or some other media. So if there is any reference at all to anything juicy or salacious, you can bet that there's a decent possibility that your clever coworkers will find out about it.

Obscurity is not something you can count on, given that your social media experience is not something that you alone control. Also, the work of keeping a secret obscured is a non-stop job, so you have to wonder if that's something you want to sign up for for the long haul. Better to just be sure you're not ashamed of what you do.

Will it impact your hiring chances? Hard to know.

Finding out Later

No one takes it well when they feel like they've been lied to. There's a nebulous point between "not sharing all the nitty gritty details of one's life" and sharing relevant information so that it's not a huge dirty secret. If it's something in your far distant past, it's likely that no one will really care. If you are actively engaged in an industry that isn't PG-13, then it's wise to figure out what kind of office you're working in an figure out a way to make it not a secret, and yet not something you have to talk about non-stop.

Does it take some finesse to work it out with coworkers? yes, absolutely. It's a level of tact and savy in dealing with people to get a sense of whether to bring it up, or how to address it if it ever comes up. If you don't want to sign up for that, don't do it.

This falls into the realm of "if you're willing to stand behind your actions, fight for them". "Fight" doesn't have to mean a head on collision here, it can be quietly but firmly saying, "I did this and I'm not ashamed of it".

But that has to be true.


Secrets are getting harder and harder to keep - especially when they're on the Internet.

It's best to assume you cannot hide this. If you cannot handle having everyone you know (including your grandmother) or meet knowing, then you probably shouldn't do it.

There are of course some companies/industries/managers that would automatically exclude you from consideration. Going into politics might be difficult :-)

I can't think of any long term benefits of doing this. In the short term, you can make easy money. That's nice, but it's addicting. What will you do if someone offers you an entry level IT job at a great company but it only pays 1/2 of what you're currently making?

That entry level job could be the start of a fantastic career that you stay in until you retire and eventually pays great.

  • 4
    The main issue here is that all kinds of people will have moral judgements and you can never predict who will and who will not (or when the viewpoint changes for a specific individual). And although you're not doing anything illegal, the people with negative judgements will not hire you and will likely use other arguments when you ask them why.
    – user8036
    Dec 30, 2013 at 9:03

I believe that it will have a negative impact on your career. There might not be some apparent effect when you are a developer but if you reach a certain position your past can be used to malign the repo of your organization as sales and marketing of IT sector is same as any other sector and stepping on the image of some one is one way to get ahead. I have come across incident where marketing people have said to client things about other organization on unofficial channels to get projects e.g "they have a in experienced team their project manager was once junior to our tech lead " etc..

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