talking about “adult” experience in an interview, rejected candidate’s parent called us, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Talking about “adult” experience in an interview

I have a very strange situation. A few years ago, I hosted a small sex party that was a great success. Attendees recommended other attendees, and the list of invitees grew.

I decided to treat the group like a real organization. I put systems in place to handle the administrative aspects of finding hosts, teaching hosts how to throw a good event, and handling event registration. On the human resources side, I paid a lot of attention to when the groups “gelled” and when they didn’t, and was able to start identifying factors that led to successful experiences for the attendees. The factors ranged from the environment to the mix of personalities, body types, and preferences. We have explicitly developed and refined systems for guaranteeing physical health, dealing with consent, screening new attendees for fit, and so on.

The group has been a tremendous success. We have hundreds of members, and I’m very proud of the culture, the extreme respect that members feel for each other, and an atmosphere that everyone praises as being safe, consent-based, and accepting. We now have several hundred members and if this were an activity that could be done above board, I would be trying to turn it into an actual business.

Running and growing this club has given me experience that is directly relevant to a management job, and much of what I have done would be great to talk about, if it weren’t a sex club. Is there any way to bring this experience into the mix when talking with prospective employers, or does the subject matter forever relegate it to the NSFW category, no matter how relevant it may be?

Yeah, I don’t think you can, unfortunately. You could be vague about what the club entails, referring to it as an activity club of some sort, for instance. But if you’re asked for details — or worse, a reference connected to your work there — you’re going to quickly get into territory that requires you either to lie or to make your interviewer very uncomfortable. I know that’s crappy, but I can’t see a way around it.

2. Should I tell a rejected candidate that their parent protested our hiring decision?

I recently rejected a candidate who wasn’t a good fit for the position for a variety of reasons. They responded with an email debating our decision (in a tone that validated we made the right call) and I found out the next day their parent also sent an email to our CEO (they have a loose professional connection) debating my decision (and also implying I did it without management’s blessing … ugh).

In this situation, would you give the applicant a heads-up that this happened? Based on their response, I wouldn’t be surprised if the parental interference was requested, but it just comes off so wildly unprofessional it’s really soured us on a person who was good but not great and turned them into a never-ever. What do you think?

Nah, I wouldn’t bother. This candidate already sent you an email debating your decision in a rude tone. That means that (a) the chances that they’ll respond well to this heads-up are significantly lower than with a polite/professional candidate, and (b) there’s no incentive here for you to go out of your way to try to do them a favor. Plus, it sounds like the parent would hear about this and go back to your CEO about it, and I suspect your CEO doesn’t want to deal with that.

And geez, I guess we can see where the candidate got this from.

3. Is there any benefit to me interviewing for a job that I’ll already be offered?

I’ve been in touch with someone at a company I used to work for about returning to work for them in a role almost identical to the one that I had previously (I left there seven years ago), but I’d now be working remotely (which is a key reason I’m interested in going back — I moved away and previously they didn’t support remote work but now they have a strong set-up for it). Once they heard I was interested my old department, they said they’d post a job for me to apply for.

I heard today they have approval to post the position and specifically to hire me into it, so they’re checking with HR to see if they even need to post it or if they can just direct hire and assign me. However, they said that if I still want to go through an interview process, we can go that route. I’m inclined to say no since any of the information that I might still need (like questions I’d ask in an interview) I can just ask of my contact, and some of the things I’d want to ask are more for after I have the offer in hand anyway (although I suppose if I was interviewing for a job I know is mine, maybe I’d ask them then anyway, rather than waiting?). However is there some other benefit for me to actually interview for the job, either in the process itself, or for when it comes time to negotiate salary, that I’d want to take advantage of and would miss by not interviewing?

If they do end up needing to interview other candidates, you want an interview too. Seven years is a long time to be away, and if they’re also talking to others, you don’t want those other people to be more fresh in their minds than you are.

If they’re not interviewing anyone else, then I don’t think you need to set up a formal interview, but I wouldn’t take the job without a pretty detailed conversation with the person who will be managing you. You want to know things like how the role may have changed since you last held it (a lot can change in seven years) and whether anything about it is different for someone who’s working remotely, and — unless you know your would-be manager very well — you want to get a better feel for her as a manager and for her to be able to get a better feel for you.

You can do that in a formal interview too, of course — and one possible advantage to a real interview is that if you’re super impressive in it, you could potentially increase your ability to negotiate salary. That said, there’s a little bit of a risk to a real interview too, in that if you have a bad day and flub it, they might end up with a sudden requirement to interview other people too.

4. Applying for a job with an old colleague — should I ask for a call to talk about the job?

I was recently forwarded a great job opportunity — I fit the job description, have the necessary experience and degree required — and better yet, this job would bring me closer to my hometown and family. It would also be a career jump for me since I’m currently working in a position with no room for growth.

I found out that the director at the potential job is an old colleague/senior from when we used to work at the same institution a few years ago. I was debating whether I should reach out to her separately from the application process to talk to her about the job and let her know I’ve applied, especially since she would be the direct manager for this position. The field I work in is extremely small and competitive and knowing the right people really does take you far. I was going to shoot her an email to reconnect, update her, and ask if we could talk over the phone regarding the job. What do you think? Is that a bad move?

Definitely email her and let you know that you’ve applied for the job and would love to talk with her about it if she thinks you’re a strong match for it. But don’t just ask for a phone call to discuss it — that’s pretty much an attempt to jump ahead in their selection process.

For what it’s worth, candidates love to make these requests for phone calls to “discuss the job” when they know the hiring manager or have a connection to them through someone else … and hiring managers will sometimes agree to the calls out of a sense of obligation if they already know the candidate or the mutual contact and want to preserve the relationship. But when there’s a clear application process already laid out, it’s generally pretty annoying when people try to go around that rather than following the instructions we asked you to follow.

So apply, and email her to let her know. If she thinks it makes sense to set up a call, she will let you know.

5. Can I praise my boss for her work turning around our organization?

I have a good problem. My boss (of a small not-for-profit) was recently moved into the top role when the CEO left and is now managing the whole organization. Things were not going too well when the former CEO left and morale was pretty low. My boss really stepped up to the plate and has turned things around and boosted morale, making things better for staff in a number of ways. She also goes out of her way to give us thoughtful (homemade and edible!) gifts at Christmas time (as context).

Is it ever okay to praise her for turning things around? How appropriate would it be for the staff to come together and buy her a small gift as a token of our appreciation for her hard work? Would us all individually stating our thanks be more appropriate, and how would this best be communicated? I’m very aware of the “never gift up” protocol in professional settings, but this seems like a bit of a grey area.

Definitely do let her know that you really appreciate her work, and be as specific as you can about the thing she’s done that you’ve noticed and the outcomes you think she’s achieved. Managing can be a pretty thankless job — in part because sometimes people aren’t sure if they can send praise upwards — and hearing that kind of thing can be a really big deal. You could do this in an in-person conversation, or you could do it in a note or a card. (The note or card has the advantage that it’s something she can keep and look at in the future, but really, any of these options will be lovely.)

But I would stay away from the gift, for all the same reasons that you shouldn’t gift upwards at work in general (including, in this case, that you risk making other people feel obligated to contribute to it).

{ 442 comments… read them below }

  1. Ramona Flowers*

    #2 This candidate debated your decision, so it’s unlikely they’ll respect your opinion or appreciate you taking the time to tell them.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      All I could think in response to #2 was “Wow, what a piece of work” and “Well, no surprise where that came from.”

    2. Artemesia*

      This. If he was okay and had not tried to question the decision then it would be a kindness to give him a heads up about the asshat parent. But they seem to be a pair. And yeah, all you need is for the ‘connected’ jerk of a father to call the CEO again. I once dealt with an intern who did something grotesquely awful that could have caused serious problems with clients; it was not a ‘mistake’, it was simply inexcusable behavior. His father began hammering everyone in sight abut how the student should be re-instated or provided with another internship and dismissing the seriousness of the incident. It came clear where the terrible judgment and entitlement was born.

    3. HS Teacher*

      I’d be horrified if my parents did something like this, but I don’t think this candidate would.

    4. Antilles*

      If he’d responded to the rejection in a typical professional manner, then reaching out would probably be a good thing to let him know that this happened.
      But given his reaction was basically the same as his mother’s, there’s no point – it seems pretty clear that they’re in accord on this one, so it’d be a complete waste of effort.

    5. RVA Cat*

      Is it terrible that I kind of want the CEO to spread that email around to embarrass the parent and their entitled spawn?

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I don’t think they would be embarrassed–they would be sure it was vindication of some form. And the CEO probably didn’t get to their position expending time, effort, and capital on pettiness.

        As so often with these things, ignoring it publicly is going to be more frustrating than any public mocking. With some private “Chris… sigh…. They sent us an email about how their kid was the best qualified candidate and we’d better rescind our rejection, so not the best judgment there it turns out. Maybe only on stuff that touches family…”

    6. Grapey*

      Also, people like that thrive on constant attention. In this case, the professional thing to do is the same as the best petty revenge you could come up with! (Ignore them!)

    7. Fiennes*

      Honestly, I find myself wondering whether the parents were behind that email too—building up the kid’s anger, telling him/her not to be a pushover, “they’ll be sorry!”, etc. It doesn’t change Alison’s advice, but it seems pretty clear that, at minimum, this candidate’s parents have modeled both entitlement and tantrums for a long time. No wonder they don’t understand how to be professional.

    8. Decima Dewey*

      I’m now imagining Hiring Manager Elizabeth Bennet telling candidate Fitzwilliam Darcy that she may have considered hiring him, had he behaved in a more professional manner.

      1. Cassandra*

        “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be suppressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I… wish to work here.”

        It’s almost scary how well that works.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            “Heaven and earth! Are the shades of your company to be thus bereft? Miss LW, I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a more reasonable young woman. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance I require!”

    9. OP#2*

      Update: the candidate definitely requested the parental interference. I hadn’t noticed on first read before I wrote in, but my whole conversation with the candidate was attached to the message to the CEO. I doubt the parent had hacked into the candidate’s email to get that thread.

      Even in a best case where the CEO reversed my decision, how does the parent think I would act as their child’s boss? Truly baffling.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        The CEO would line you out and force you to treat young junior fairly and with deference at the threat of his (the CEO’s) displeasure?

        That’s how I imagine the parents thinking.

    10. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      If the candidate HADN’T debated / argued the decision – and I’m assuming it was an argument, beyond the scope of , “well, I would have liked it, and I know I could have done the job, thanks, good luck and if you need anything I’m here” …. BTW lots of rejectees could do the job well, and I’m sure there’s a lot of agony in decision making. But if h/she said “you’ll be sorry!” yeah that’s different.

      If the rejected party replied in good faith and the employer received a parental call – then I’d call the former candidate. His/her Dad could unwittingly sabotage job seeking efforts. He’s trying to help, but hurting things.

      When my father was a school principal, and had to make a hiring decision – he occasionally would get a call from a parent “my Maria was the best one for that job”…..not Maria’s fault…

    11. SavannahMiranda*

      My boyfriend did this once with a job he was rejected from. He lambasted them in his reply email to their rejection.

      It was already said and done by the time I got home from work and got to hear all about it. I ended up just keeping my mouth shut and making sympathetic noises.

      How does one get to 40 years old and know that you don’t lambaste others for what is essentially a business decision? A business decision with a personal aspect, sure. But still. Everyone knows everyone and you don’t use dragons to light your bridges on fire.

      The company really was bonkers. I’d been hanging in there with him through the insane interview process and helped him review some of their agreements. The CEO was off kilter and the company did NOT have their stuff together.

      But isn’t that all the more reason not to critique them once they’ve notified you that they do not require your services? Feel sorry for them, don’t yell at them. Sheesh.

      Yes I will be bringing this up with him in the future, at a less tense, more teachable moment. The same day he got rejected was not that moment.

  2. MommaCat*

    #1, there’s only a couple industries I can think of where you’d be able to mention your work; mostly the Adult Entertainment industry, but you might be able to get away with it in a company whose message is sex positivity. I’m sure there’s others. Best of luck!

    1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      Hmm. I don’t currently have any ambitions in the adult entertainment industry or in any sex-oriented workplace. I’m bumming. The experience has been great from a managerial point of view, and it sounds like there’s just no way to discuss that without revealing the context.

      1. dragonzflame*

        OTOH, if it’s going to kill your chances by not mentioning such valuable experience, you might have nothing to lose. Best case, they have a chuckle and give you the job, worst case, they rise their eyebrows, joke about it internally forever, and go with someone else. I guess it entirely depends on the company.

        1. Graciosa*

          Well, no, I think the worst case is that people blackball the candidate permanently (meaning they won’t be considered for any future openings) because OMG the candidate thought it was a good idea to bring up a sex club in an interview and who knows what other boundaries they’re going to violate!

          The worst case involves people sharing this story, whether from a well-intentioned desire to save colleagues at other companies from the sexual harassment issues envisioned to follow or simply from the OMG value (because this is Really Not Done).

          To be clear, I have no problem with talking about sex, and I think as a culture we tend to be a bit too prudish about it. On the other hand, I still don’t talk about it at work, and a MANAGER raising the topic of sex in the work place other than as part of their job duties (“The Duck Duck Club must stop”) is problematic.

          Sexual harassers often start by testing boundaries, and then continuing to push. If they meet with resistance, the issue is deflected, (“Hey, I was just talking about my club – what’s your problem!?!”). Managers need to be above reproach in this area, and we would expect to hire managers with the judgment to realize that – it’s part of what we need in that role. There is an inherent power imbalance that may limit employees’ willingness to push back when we make them uncomfortable, and we need to behave with the awareness.

          OP, I think your chances of moving successfully into a managerial role will improve if you can demonstrate that you understand this.

          Good luck.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Totally agreed on all of this. I would not bring it up at all—I think the risks to OP are way higher than any benefit.

          2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

            (LW1) Graciosa makes great points. I run sex club with tremendous attention to consent and boundaries. I never considered that harassers might use this kind of thing to treat boundaries so they could cross them. No way would I ever want to come across that way!

            1. Ian Krase*

              Yes, but they don’t know that (and even after you tell them, they have only their word)

              Many people’s boundaries, including mine, involve not discussing about people’s sex stuff unnecessarily. (even in a fairly abstract way).

        2. CityMouse*

          Well, it could cost LW the job. I am not a prude, not even kind of, but talking about a sex-related stuff interview and I am going to question your judgment for what is workplace appropriate.

          I have seen people do very very well in interviews and then lose the job in the last few minutes because they suddenly display aggression or other behavior red flags. If I am being honest, I care far more about temperament than experience and I think most people who do hiring are the same. Bringing up NSFW activities in an interview is a behavior red flag and could cost OP a job she may have otherwise gotten.

          1. AnonRightNow*

            And this is definitely a topic that can bring out the Judgy McJudgerson in a lot of people. OP, I have similar experience and it taught me a lot about the vetting and people management process, but I know that it’s not the right topic to bring up in an interview, no matter how relevant.

        3. Millennial Lawyer*

          OP definitely has something to lose. This is something that some employers might consider immoral or illegal. It could get around to other companies within the industry even if OP doesn’t get *that* job. Someone could think OP is talking about a brothel and call the police.

          1. Anna*

            Immoral, yes. But illegal? Even for the most sex-negative person, I think that would be a stretch.

            It’s one of those odd situations where you have gained a ton of experience doing a thing, but that thing is not something you can’t easily share.

            1. Millennial Lawyer*

              It’s a stretch to you and me, but employers are all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds and may not have a comprehensive understanding of what a sex club is vs. a brothel. It’s not just an odd situation, because if you brought it up but then said you couldn’t explain, it would look really strange or defensive, or like they are covering up something bad/illegal. I wouldn’t hire someone that couldn’t tell me what their job was when they brought it up.

              1. SavannahMiranda*

                Yes. This. The kind of clarifying questions and answers that would be necessary for someone to narrow down their confusion and help them understand this is not a brothel and not illegal are…not questions OP wants to be asked, or come up with business appropriate (?) answers to. Not in that context.

                The conversations to reach understanding can go nowhere good, nowhere comfortable for anyone including OP, and may go very badly.

                Context is as important as content in communication. Business interviews are the wrong context for this content.

                1. Millennial Lawyer*

                  Exactly… if someone is a conservative person (not in the political sense – although they could be that too!) they might not just be completely alarmed at what OP does, but not truly understand it either. And for OP to have to explain in further detail… it would show huge lack of judgment. I’m imagining a very buttoned up person being appalled.

                1. econobiker*

                  Best.Commenter.Name.Ever. Combined with a very appropriate comment based on the topic!
                  The quote:
                  “‘What the f*ck!’ brings freedom,
                  Freedom brings opportunity,
                  Opportunity makes your future.”
                  Risky Business, 1982

            2. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

              I guess I don’t see this as that unusual of a skillset, among kinksters.

              I know a LOT of people who are good at throwing sex parties, keeping track of people and their things, and who focus heavily on sexual ethics and consent. It’s like, yeah, you’re kinky and in the scene.

              Granted some places have clubs that don’t get harassed out of existence, so maybe they don’t need a home-based network of parties. But if you throw sex parties, you have to do everything you mention, or people stop coming.

              Oh, this might be unusual for swingers though, from my limited experience and second hand knowledge. That’s a REALLY different kind of scene. If you’re swingers and you’ve built this kind of an ethics and consent based party network, good job! That’s fairly said rare.

              1. AnonRightNow*

                Unfortunately, you’re absolutely right. I was involved with a great group a while back, and it’s tough to manage.

              2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

                (LW1) I have a lot of friends who are kinksters and go to play parties. I’ve always admired how much attention they pay to communication and consent, etc. It’s not my scene, though. Sex club is about as vanilla as they come. They’re almost like having a bridge night or poker night only with a sexual component. Now that you mention it, it didn’t even occur to me to talk to any of my kinky friends who throw parties. I developed all the coordination on my own, rather than simply borrowing best practices.

              3. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

                (LW1) Inquiring Minds: try browsing Craigslist personals and Meetup. Sometimes the title will be explicit, other times you’ll have to read between the lines. “Neighborhood sensual massage group” may be code for a full-on sex party. If it isn’t, the people running the meetup may know someone in the sex party scene.

                I originally advertised sex club through my social media headline on a hookup app (“Let’s have a group!”) I wanted a one-time, 5-6 person party but got so many responses that I decided to try building it into an ongoing organization. I’m thinking of shifting to membership by referral. My friends in HR tell me referrals are more likely to have similar qualities to the people who referred them, and that may work for sex club as well as WalMart.

            3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              I think it could be closer to illegal than you think. And even if it isn’t, this is the sort of thing that really brings out strong judgmental feelings, including feelings that it’s illegal (even if it isn’t).

                1. s0nicfreak*

                  Depending on what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it with, it might be. There’s plenty of places in the US where sodomy is illegal. Plenty of places in the US where being married and having any kind of sex with someone other than your spouse is illegal. Before the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, same-sex sexual activity was illegal in 14 states.

              1. Betsy*

                Personally, it never would have crossed my mind that it might be illegal to organise sex parties. I was a bit shocked that people would just assume that.

            4. formerly_academical*

              People can be surprisingly prudish and judgmental. Not a million years ago I was seated in an area where I could overhear hiring discussions. The company I then worked for was hiring an illustrator. As many companies do, the hiring team trawled through the candidates’ social media. One candidate was far and away the best but I overheard her being rejected by the team because she made erotic art (obviously not in her job-hunting portfolio). I’m sure I broke all kinds of protocol but I got really angry and interrupted the discussion pointing out that they had really had to dig before they found this art. She got the job and stayed many years longer than I, but if I hadn’t intervened and visibly shown my anger I am sure that she would not have been hired and it would have been a great shame on so many levels.

            5. formerly_academical*

              People can be surprisingly prudish and judgmental. Not a million years ago I was seated in an area where I could overhear hiring discussions. The company I then worked for was hiring an illustrator. As many companies do, the hiring team trawled through the candidates’ social media. One candidate was far and away the best but I overheard her being rejected by the team because she made erotic art (obviously not in her job-hunting portfolio). I’m sure I broke all kinds of protocol but I got really angry and interrupted the discussion pointing out that they had really had to dig before they found this art. She got the job and stayed many years longer than I, but if I hadn’t intervened and visibly shown my anger I am sure that she would not have been hired and it would have been a great shame on so many levels.

              If it’s an consolation I am sure that the experience and increased confidence will show in the letter writer’s work and attitude.

      2. Screenwriter managing to keep it going*

        You sound like you’re really good at this kind of thing. Why not, additionally, set up a parallel organization, but without the sex-club element? I.e., a singles mixing group for adults, everyone gets together and parties and has fun and enjoys themselves–but it’s not a sex party–people can hook up later, just like in any dating group. You could use your skills to see who meshes with each other, have a couple of go-to’s who always liven things up, maybe organize it around some kind of activity–i.e., dancing parties (you could have a different theme every time, from regular dancing to ballroom dancing (maybe you have an instructor?) to square dance parties (if you hire a small band and get a real caller, honestly, they are retro fantastic!)–or 1950s “conga line” parties or whatever); or it could be BBQ or different cuisines every time, could be potluck, like a “people who love to cook” kind of thing, or music, or theater, depending on what interests people in your community, or even games of all kinds. Adult singles, especially in large, busy cities, with full time jobs have a terrible time meeting people who share their interests, and with your extremely impressive skill sets, you could do something like that, which you could then happily boast about. Just a thought!

          1. Anononon*

            Why not? It’s a small scale version of sites like Meetup, and OP could actually turn it into a business.

            1. AcademiaNut*

              The problem is, though, that the LW would have to start from the beginning with a new organization and build it up from scratch, on top of her existing organizational work with the current group (plus her job, plus any other stuff in her life). If things went really well, it would be a couple of years of extensive work before it got to the point where it would either be useful as a money-making business, or significant enough to use in a job application. And she’d be competing against already existing things like Meetup.

              1. PB*

                Yes, and when OP is already working and managing another large club, adding another commitment of this scope would be a lot. I tend to agree that something like that would be more mentionable than a sex club, but I don’t know if it would be tenable.

            2. Penny Lane*

              I think this is way more mentionable than a sex club. It’s fully reputable and safe for work that you are involved with a social club that does various fun activities. It’s just not reputable or safe for work that you are involved with a sex club.

          2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            I think people tend to look at dating as a not-serious activity, something little kids do when mature adults are doing their mature adult things while staying married. And I say this as someone who was married for 18 years, and single (and on and off dating) for the last 8. That’s the kind of vibe I seem to get when the subject comes up; that people who have not done this since their 20s, do not take it seriously.

            1. Elizabeth H.*

              I don’t agree – there are a bunch of dating app startups that I’m sure people treat like any other online platform in terms of work experience.

              1. fposte*

                Yeah, I think if the OP had created a large-scale dating structure that would be perfectly acceptable to mention.

                But she hasn’t, and I don’t think it makes sense for her to go out and create an entirely new project just for application advantages.

                1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                  No, I agree, it does not. It’s a whole different field from what OP is doing, too.

              2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                Hmm, I think designing and writing software is a bit different. At the end of the day, it’s software. In a job interview, you can talk about the design, architecture, the technologies being used, and skim over what the software is being used for.

                1. Lindsay J*

                  There is a large company called Events and Adventures, that sounds like what is proposed here – they organize fun events based around activities for singles to attend, so they can meet people to potentially date in an offline environment.

                  I’m not sure what their company structure looks like, but they seem to be successful and they have a significant radio advertising presence so they must have money to pay for that and they have some full-time employees.

                  How is that less valid than, say, and event planning business that does weddings or corporate parties? Or running a licensed day care? Or a summer camp? Or a fencing club? Or any other business that doesn’t necessarily involve product sales or manufacturing?

                2. Optimistic Prime*

                  Designing and writing software are not the only jobs at those kinds of companies, though!

                  And actually, if you’re a good designer/developer, you can’t really skim over what the software is being used for – the function is essential to the design and the architecture. I work in tech/software development and when people come in for our interviews they always talk about what they were developing because it’s necessary to describe what they did (although sometimes they do use a fictionalized or generalized version because of non-disclosure agreements!)

          3. Anna*

            Why wouldn’t it be? It’s no different than a social group/MeetUp. It’s not like the OP would be saying “social group wink wink nudge nudge, if you know what I mean.”

          4. Grad Student*

            Agreeing with some other replies, I think this is immeasurably more mentionable than a sex club. Talking about dating and singles’ events and dating apps that aren’t specifically sex-focused is completely normal as far as I’m aware.

          5. Screenwriter managing to keep it going*

            Of course it is! A friend of mine, a horse lover, created a website for equestrians, which became super successful, and of course it’s something she can mention without embarrassment or repercussions. As Anonon says, it’s like a kind of meetup or events management group. Yes, it does take the work to start it from scratch, but she also has her years of skills and experience to use as a template, and it’s something she could be doing on the side, taking the long view for the next few years. Anyway, it’s just a thought. (And also, I meant, as you suggest, that this would be the thing she points to, and doesn’t mention the sex club.) It would show management skills, people managing skills, events management, software and social media skills–all in demand. I mean, her problem is, she has these skills and is very successful with them, and her only problem is she’s using them in an arena she can’t readily discuss. So I was just suggesting she could take her skills, show them in another, perfectly acceptable arena, and that could be a solution. Just a thought!

        1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          If I thought this could be done quickly, I would try it. The club too off completely unexpectedly. The referral-based membership strategy I tried just happened to work really well. Trying to start another club seems like it would take a lot of time and has so-so chances of success. The logistical and organizational challenges are what I want to talk to a potential employer about … the membership growth strategy was luck, and not my skill set.

          1. JustMy2Cents*

            If the success is luck and not strategy and therefore not in your skill set anyway, why would you need to mention it as a selling point? If it’s something you think is not necessarily replicable, it’s irrelevant to your job interview.

            1. animaniactoo*

              Because it’s about managing growth once it’s happened and as it happens. You don’t have to be the person actively growing a client base (or other resource) if what’s needed is someone to help manage the client base as it grows.

            2. Anna*

              Because it wasn’t just luck. They tried a thing and it happens the first thing they tried worked out really well so they didn’t have to go back and tweak anything, which, even if they had, would still be a kind of management system.

              I’m not sure I understand your take on this. Managers have structures that work, but will still need to be adapted to different groups and organizations. That doesn’t mean the core of the system is flawed, it means it needs to be tailored. What it sounds like to me is the OP took a structure and tried it out in this context and without having to make changes, that structure worked. If it hadn’t worked, the OP would have gone back and made some adjustments. That is the definition of management.

            3. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

              (LW1) The marketing success was mostly luck. I stumbled on an initial demand and have worked to keep it going.

              The organizational and logistical success was all deliberate and due to hard work and skill. That’s the part I think demonstrates employable skill. The marketing is not the part I want to emphasize.

          2. animaniactoo*

            It sounds like you don’t have much to lose in NOT trying it then. You know your member base – I am willing to bet that you would find a certain amount of crossover in participants, and some might even be willing to host these kinds of tamer events where they’re not up to do the NSFW as anything other than participants. If it doesn’t take off you can relatively quickly discontinue it as “not being as popular as hoped” or “more work than I expected trying to run both”.

          3. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

            I mean, this skillset is kind of a given for people in the scene who want people to keep coming and doing sexy stuff at their parties. The reward is in the sex and the ethical sex-positive community, and the sex.

            And really, you work with plenty of people who also enjoy sex, sex parties, and kink. They just don’t talk about it. Like you shouldn’t.

            The only way around this is to network in-scene. Then be very discreet at work.

      3. Beatrice*

        If the organization is this big, is it possible that you have a connection within it who might be in a position to hire you for the kind of work you’re looking for? If they’ve had an opportunity to see you in action using the skills you’re proud of, and you’re already “out” to them, maybe that can be your first opportunity to use those skills in the work world.

        1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          That’s a great idea. One of the surprisingly things about the group is how many friends I’ve made from it. We also have a strong confidentiality ethic, which has garnered both overall trust and trust about discretion.

        2. neverjaunty*

          Great point. Someone who already knows you doesn’t have to be told about your managerial skills, and won’t want to talk about their source at work any more than you do.

      4. Temperance*

        Can you parlay this experience into a volunteer org? I think the sex piece is just a bit too unconventional.

      5. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Oof, I feel your pain, OP. And for what it’s worth, there are plenty of these type of activities where even if they don’t involve sex, they’re still not mentionable. We’ve had people ask before about fanfiction and World of Warcraft raid leading, and I’m still sad that my position helping orchestrate a LARP is similarly too weird to add much value to an interview or resume.

        1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          LARPing is not mentionable? I was involved in running LARPs a few years ago. I never put in on my resume, since it wasn’t a scale that would demonstrate significant skill levels. It sounds like I dodged a bullet.

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            I’m in a pretty conservative industry, and the LARP I run is affiliated with an anime convention, so I err on the side of caution and don’t bring it up, even though wrangling 100+ keyed-up nerds for 45 hours over the course of 3 days involves a lot of job-level soft skills.

              1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

                I do that when I’m describing it to coworkers, but I’m shy to bring it up in interviews. Though maybe I should, especially since I end up taking off 4-5 business days around the event, between prep and recovery.

                1. Anna*

                  I know my own involvement with a fangroup that became a fully functioning non-profit complete with fundraising activities and PR is a little outside the norm, but the work I do for that org is essentially the reason I’m in outreach and community relations as a career. There are ways to work it in.

                2. Akcipitrokulo*

                  I did ooc managing of larp (old Camarilla *C chain if anyone remembers it) – yeah, I put it on CV when I was younger and think it helped when I didn’t have much experience in workplace. Managing budgets, cash handling, promotion, resolving issues, being responsible for H&S, data protection issues…

                  Nowadays I might mention in passing, as I work in IT and have over a decade of experience, so it isn’t really relevant anymore – but when I was trying to get jobs at start and experience was part-time school cleaner and part-time taxi controller a year ago? Yeah, it was useful!

                  Mind you, I don’t think I’ve ever had to deal with disapproval of the idea.

            1. Turkletina*

              I have a hobby that also involves “wrangling 100+ keyed-up nerds for 45 hours over the course of 3 days” (a different kind of nerds) and I cannot wait to describe it this way. Thank you.

            2. PB*

              I go to at least one anime convention a year, so I have at least a vague idea what this would entail. I would hire you in a heartbeat (although I definitely wouldn’t advise job seekers to mention LARPing in an interview).

          2. CityMouse*

            In an interview, yes. I don’t cosplay myself but I have friends who do and friends who LARP. If you are applying for costuming jobs, sure. But at an office job? That is going to show poor judgment and a lot.of.people simply aren’t going to know what you are talking about. It could lead to a serious detour during an interview in a bad way.

            1. Optimistic Prime*

              Depends on the office. I work in one where almost anyone interviewing you would know what LARPing is.

              And even if people in other offices didn’t know what the acronym was for, you could always explain it in words. But I definitely understand the Countess’s hesitation; I’m into anime and other geekiness and I’ve been in workplaces in the past where I wouldn’t really discuss it. Less because I was shy about it and more because it was tiresome to explain it to people.

            2. Akcipitrokulo*

              “Interactive Theatre” or “like an ongoing murder-mystery weekend” are phrases I found worked!

          3. Topcat*

            There are lots of interests and activities that are legal but *controversial*.

            This isn’t just about sex. I would steer clear of mentioning it if it were a religious group, or something connected with hunting (maybe depending on the culture of your specific location).

            The other issue is that the idea that you have this huge commitment and responsibility outside work *may* make some hiring managers wonder if you’ll be able to be fully committed – unless it was past experience, not current. Someone managing a book club with a dozen members is a different ballgame to someone managing a literary association with several hundred members – that’s the equivalent to a job, as much as a hobby.

        2. SarahTheEntwife*

          When I was first out of college I had an all-campus LARP event on my resume, carefully generic-ified as much as I could, and at an interview I was again giving more information while trying not to go out and say
          “organized people to go bop each other with foam weaponry”, and the interviewer (at a science museum, which really I should have known would be LARP-friendly) finally went “oh, so it’s a LARP?”. OH GOOD I CAN JUST TELL YOU WHAT I DID NOW.

          1. Galatea*

            Mine wasn’t a boffer larp, but same here — I was part of exec, so I leaned on things like “club organization and management” for a “collaborative, improvisational acting club”, which sounds much more like improv sketch comedy than “let me tell you about my vampire OC” haha

        3. Snark*

          I think it goes beyond weirdness – it’s just not professional experience. Yeeeeeesss, it does involve soft skills and organization and plenty of things that would be relevant in a professional setting, but the stakes are so different from professional stakes. Nobody is going to get fired if LARP falls through, clients won’t bolt, money won’t be lost, quarterly earnings won’t be off and affect the stock price, nobody will get laid off, you won’t get placed on a PIP; some worst case scenario folks will be disappointed and not have a fun experience. I think that changes the dynamics enough that it’s not really appropriate to mention as a job qualification.

          1. KellyK*

            I’m not so sure about that. My experience is more SCA with only a little LARP (and only event planning in the SCA), but the events seem to run similarly, with fees collected to pay for campground rentals, porta-potties and what-not. The SCA’s a big non-profit org with lots of rules, so we probably have more structure and organization than a local LARP group, but both are doing similar things.

            While you’re right that it’s not professional experience because no one’s going to get fired, there’s certainly the potential to lose money, get the group banned from a given site, get sued if you violate a contract, or wreck the group’s reputation. The stakes are pretty similar to those of a similar volunteer position, and volunteer experience is usually appropriate to put on a resume.

            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

              This. There is absolutely money changing hands, and while we aren’t financially compensated for our time, we can be fired (in fact, one convention recently had a major scandal where the volunteer handling their social media went completely off the rails and got fired for it) and we can also lose the right to use the LARP’s system, which is licensed to us by the guy who owns the IP.

            2. Galatea*

              I don’t know anybody who would put it down under work experience, but some of my friends have included LARP organizing on resumes in with conference speaking and conference organizing — not direct work experience, but not wholly unrelated, either.

              (Note: I work in tech, so this may also be a “tech is weird” sort of thing)

              1. Optimistic Prime*

                It’s totally a “tech is weird” thing. I work in tech too, and I think here not only would almost everyone know what LARPing is, they would understand the work that goes into organizing LARP (or an anime convention, or a Ren Faire, etc.)

          2. Lissa*

            A lot of LARP organizers I know call it improv theatre or another euphemism, and put it under volunteer work. Especially when they were younger with not much experience. I don’t know anybody who puts it under job experience, though.

          3. Anna*

            Absolutely not true. People pay money to participate, you frequently have to have contracts in place for services and location. Any kind of large-scale event planning, even for fun-to-do activities, involves more than just “oh, it was fun and oops, it didn’t work out.” See: Any failed volunteer-run convention. And for most jobs, none of the things you listed are true, either. If I’m not doing my job, nobody will get fired or laid off and our earnings will not be affected. That’s not how it is for the vast majority of people working.

          4. LBK*

            I agree with this – the accountability isn’t the same, because worst comes to worst the parties just stop happening, which would certainly be a disappointment but there isn’t really the same level of consequences as if you failed at a job.

            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

              Eh, I don’t agree with that. Worst can come to a lot worse than just “the parties stop happening.”

              Local scandal? STI outbreak? #MeToo issues? Attendee goes nuclear and drowns the whole thing in drama?

              1. Anna*

                Agreed 100%. Considering how we’re actually discussing how this is so taboo with so many people the OP can’t even bring it up as a hobby, how do you think it would go down if something major did happen and it all became public?

              2. Akcipitrokulo*

                Yes! There are a lot of consequences – and it can affect your standing amongst your social group.

            2. sap*

              Worst comes to worst, you failed to obtain appropriate insurance and are personally liable for a millions-range breach of contract, or personal injury, or discrimination judgment.

          5. Lynn Whitehat*

            I’m not sure the stakes are what make experience “count”. My grandfather was an engineer who spent his career making brakes for school buses. If he did it wrong, busloads of children would die. I’ve never worked on anything with that high of stakes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t count.

        4. Dust Bunny*

          I have declined to mention certain organization experiences because it would necessitate explaining to prospective employers the wide, weird, world of model horse collecting. And showing. And repositioning/repainting. And tackmaking. And breeding. Yes, you read that correctly.

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            Oh man, I was SO INTO THAT as a middle and high schooler. The very very early days of eBay were gold for me where Breyers were concerned.

          2. SavannahMiranda*

            Uh…hmm. Errr….[shuffles uncertainly]. Okay so I’ll bite.

            Plastic model horse….breeding you say?

      6. Boredatwork*

        Yeh – this is a huge bummer. Allison’s been in an industry that’s still “frowned upon” so her advice is definitely the absolute best you can get. If she says its a no-go I’d believe her.

        That said, it really does depend on where you live and what sort of management position you’re going after. If the company is considered very traditional and blue collar, it’s a hard no. My industry is extremely conservative and anything other than gay/straight is scandalous.

        But if you’re going to a very liberal environment, like any of the modern publishers, that regularly write about stuff like this, I’d say go for it. I mean if you were applying to “manage” a team at Buzzfeed, they can’t really get squeamish.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I keep thinking, is there *any* way to say you organize a “social club” and have a few references that understand the context? I guess not. As you say, Alison is really good on this kind of thing and I trust her advice here.

          1. Boredatwork*

            I was the founder and main event organizer for a club that was left of center and the treasurer of the “sexual health” club. It was hard for me to leave my main “leadership” experience off of all of my first job applications but it was just necessary in my industry.

          2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            I think that OP could possibly mention something like “As a side hustle, I run an exclusive social club…” and not talk about what they do. Like, make it clear that its really niche and exclusive and so she’s not able to get into what it does? But then, I don’t know if you could actually use enough details to demonstrate the skills and whatnot involved if you couldn’t talk about the overall activity (and I also guess that some employers would be off-put by a secret society type membership anyway?)

            1. Lil Fidget*

              Yeah it sounds like OP really wants to discuss all the skills he’s gained through this club and how they relate to other organizational jobs (and I totally see his point!) – but there’s not really a way to do that without getting into the club itself.

              1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

                (LW1) That’s hilarious! And you’re right … if I called it my side hustle I’d probably have a room full of cops showing up at the door. And not as participants…

            2. Anna*

              I think the main issue with bringing it up at all, even as vaguely as possible, is if you’re relying on it heavily as proof of experience, they’ll want to know if they heard of it or want to look it up. At that point, what do you do? You can’t really tell them you aren’t comfortable giving them that information and if you don’t list other volunteers as references, that looks shady and like you’re lying, so the outcome could be bad anyway.

        2. neverjaunty*

          But there’s a difference between being squeamish about the subject matter and being concerned about people understanding professional norms.

          1. Kathleen_A*

            Even once you get past the discomfort people might have with the general idea of a sex club, the problem is that the OP doesn’t just run the group – she participates in it. So in talking about this group she runs, she’s also going to be telling potential coworkers about her sex life…and most of us just do NOT want to know that much about our coworkers, much less our potential coworkers. I don’t want to know if coworker A believes in having sex only after marriage in a church and only in the missionary position…I don’t want to know that coworker B is celibate…I don’t want to know about coworker C’s and partner’s fetishes…and therefore I most definitely don’t want to know that potential coworker D is involved in a sex club. No no no no no no no.

          2. sunny-dee*

            Yeah. I am scratching my head here, and it just doesn’t feel like an appropriate context. Like, if I had done exactly the same thing but organizing my kid’s PTA or preschool, it just would not make sense to include as “experience” if I were applying for a mid-level managerial position at a marketing firm or something. It’s not that it’s a bad thing or that people don’t realize that other people have kids (or, you know, sex), but it’s just not the right context.

      7. Elizabeth H.*

        I feel like there are a lot of meetup groups like this (look at – some of these groups are huge and super well organized – I have friends who do our local Go association chapter and it’s definitely organizational and volunteer work) that give a lot of volunteer managerial experience. I’m just wondering if you can talk about it like a social meetup group without specifying the context. If you are going to be vague about it, you wouldn’t be able to make it more than a very brief part of your letter or resume but it might be an added note of interest.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I guess Alison is just predicting that this will all fall apart really quickly if anybody looks into it, and then OP would be dinged – not even so much for running the sex club, but for not having the good judgement to leave this out of their professional life (and possibly for lying).

            1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

              (LW1) Yeah, I’ve been convinced to keep this mum by several different arguments on this thread. The emotionality of the topic, the possibility that co-workers will be uncomfortable, the chance that hiring me would reflect badly on the hiring manager if someone who disapproved find out, are all persuasive.

      8. Where's the Le-Toose?*

        I’m a manager at a government agency and after hearing your summary, I’d be fine with you mentioning that experience. However, my boss and the head of our agency would go absolutely mental and remember your name forever but in a bad way.

      9. AKchic*

        There are ways, you just have to never mention the club itself. When I have discussed my work, it is a Personal Interest Group. Most people know I am already involved in the acting community and am big in the renaissance fair and volunteer with other projects, as well as being a big nerd.
        It does not register that I am a dominatrix and was trained at the age of 14 by a guy who pimped teens out for crack in the 90’s (and yes, did go to jail). I simply don’t speak about it in front of the vanillas.

        1. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

          Oh my God. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. I hope you found a really good support network.

          I’m… not vanilla, at all, and I would say that child sex abuse and prostitution falls under the “reprehensible and criminal” label, not the “vanilla – not vanilla” spectrum.

          1. AKchic*

            My beginnings may have been reprehensible and criminal (and yes, I acknowledge that 100%), but I can’t change the past. It has, for better or worse, partially shaped who I am.

            However, there are certain aspects of the club administration that could be discussed. Administration is administration, regardless of where the administration is being done and for what group/organization. It just comes down to the vagueness and blandness of describing it. Making it as boring as possible so nobody is curious, and making it also sound as geeky/nerdy with the “ugh, yeah, please don’t get her to discuss her boring nerd stuff in detail” is the key.

            Then, once the job is obtained, never let it slip ever what you do in your off-work hours. If someone happens to end up discovering, well, they have the same secret and they’d hate to be outed by you, so there is the mutually assured destruction pact that nobody ever really discusses.

            1. Julia the Survivor*

              Sorry for the late post – I hope you understood the pimp was reprehensible and criminal, not you! I’m glad you survived and moved on to better things! :)
              I have friends who have done burlesque and dominatrix. It’s not as unusual as people think, but that doesn’t help with the current question…

      10. EditorInChief*

        As someone who does a lot of hiring, regardless of your superior organizational skills and my personal views I still wouldn’t hire you with that job on your resume. It’s just not worth the risk for me. I have other candidates who are uncontroversial with conventional resumes who possess the same skill level, and in this #metoo climate I’m thinking of the day if some issue arises (there’s always a pot-stirring co-worker) and I have to explain to my boss why I hired someone who runs a sex club. But it’s all probably moot. I’m on the creative side of a conservative company and it’s likely your resume wouldn’t get past the company’s resume filtering software anyway.

  3. Ron McDon*

    5. I have recently got a new ‘big boss’, who was thanking us for making her so welcome and saying how much she enjoyed working with us all at our most recent weekly meeting.

    Afterwards, I popped into her office to say ‘I’m really enjoying working with you too’, and gave her a couple of examples of things I’ve noticed/appreciated.

    She was visibly touched and appreciative that I’d said this to her – do please take the time to verbalise your appreciation to your boss; it can be a thankless task, and people don’t always make as much effort to praise as complain!

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I think giving one or two specific (brief) examples is a great inclusion, and conveys sincerity. Plus being useful feedback about what she’s doing that’s really impacted frontline staff, like improve morale.

  4. Kate*

    Honestly I am so impressed that LW 1 has hundreds of members in her sex club!! Genuine question that I have no idea how to find an answer to: How common are sex clubs of that size??

    1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      I don’t know how common large sex groups are, but when I’ve told people about the club, they always expect it to be ten or twenty people. We have 400 people on the mailing list, but any given meetup is only 15-25 people. We have our parties in private homes or hotel rooms. If we had a dedicated space, we could shift to a drop-in model (“everyone drop in Thursday between 7 and 10 pm”) that might be able to accommodate many more people at once, but we haven’t been able to find a space we can afford. My level of organization (we have a website, RSVP process, signup forms, announcements + RSVP process, interviews of new members) seems to be very unusual in a non-money-making group of this type. (P.S. I’m a guy, if it matters)

        1. Joielle*

          Seriously! Me too. That sounds amazing. And like a ton of work. OP, I wonder if a few fellow organizers could be references for you… like everyone makes a pact to just call it a private social organization, and talk about your management skills.

      1. Oh SO anonymous*

        We’ve been to a few hosted parties in our area, and I suspect they all have decent-sized mailing lists, because there’s typically 30-50 people at any given event. But those have all been held in dedicated spaces, and it doesn’t sound quite as curated as yours; there’s still a level of interviewing and verification, but a little more room for “problems”.

        Anyway, I’m impressed. :)

      2. neverjaunty*

        Ooh. Yeah, unfortunately I think it matters – not because it SHOULD matter, but (as you likely know) there are a lot of guys who bring up their horizontal hobbies in work situations because they don’t understand or don’t approve of boundaries, and there’s a nonzero chance bringing it up in a work context will get you lumped in with those guys.

      3. econobiker*

        These type of organizations or groups tend to be similar to other more vanilla hobbies in that the administration and organizing skills of the founder /moderator contribute to the success of the group. And there are various ways to find out by searching for swinging or swingers and not the dancing version in a geographic area.

    2. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

      Depends on whether there are local clubs where people can go. Some states harass them out of existence. Others are pretty chill.

      In harassment states, there are elaborate networks for private parties. And it’s a lot of overlapping circles: kink, poly, leather, rope, specific sub-fetishes, lesbian, leather gay, trans-friendly, etc.

      There are informal organizers and hosts, regular group meets, and specific associations. Hundreds on a list matches what I’m used to. It takes a lot of skill, true!

      If you want in, join Fetlife (no face or crotch pix), read up on kink sexual ethics, and find the local “munch” and then go. Once you meet local people, you’ll start getting invites.

  5. Casuan*

    If OP1 were a consultant & if the sex club hired her for the work she did, would putting those skills on her cv still be taboo?
    If so, why?

    1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      Alison, what’s your take on this? This could be a way I can bring up the scenario in an interview situation. I *do* do work as an organizational consultant from time to time, so it could be worked into my client history. (Thanks Casuan! This is a great perspective. Can’t wait to hear Alison’s reply.)

      1. Casuan*

        If you think you can present this way, be very certain before you do it.
        Also, be careful so that you or any references don’t lie. That would be a be a very big deal & it would also harm you professionally.

        Have you ever seriously thought of turning this into a business? It sounds like a niche market!
        Good luck!!

      2. Temperance*

        I honestly don’t think you could really bring your sex club experience up in an interview. If you do work as a consultant, can you bring up those scenarios instead?

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I do think it’s going to be … the only thing the interviewer remembers about you. “Who? Oh, the sex club guy! Right.” I’m not sure this is a good look.

        2. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

          Depends on how discreet the sex club is. If a quick Google outs it, I’d stay away from the resume. But if it’s “event planning for ABC corp” and there are several ABC corps or the website is vanilla, you can include it. “Coordinated an event for 100 people, involving training, breakout session, and light refreshments.” (Snerk – breakout sessions)

          1. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

            Oh, this answer was for OP consulting for other people’s clubs, not their own. Leave your own off the resume.

      3. Blue_eyes*

        I think that could work. You can bring up examples of your management experience, without giving details about the nature of the “organization” you were “consulting” for. Then don’t have any of your references be from that particular “consulting gig”, so no one has to lie about how they know you or what kind of work you did.

      4. Snark*

        I think it’s a barefaced lie, and so I think it’s to be avoided. You didn’t consult for the club, you started the club.

        1. MommyMD*

          Agree with Snark. I also don’t think anyone outside of the adult industry is going to be impressed by being involved or managing a sex club.

      5. Kathleen_A*

        I don’t see how you can bring it up without disclosing that you’re involved in it – not without lots of lying, at least by omission. And while the idea of a sex club is problematic at best, an even bigger problem is the almost inevitable disclosure that you’re involved in it. As I said above, I just don’t want to know that much about my coworkers, much less my potential co-workers, and I know I’m not alone. I don’t want to know if coworker A believes in having sex only after marriage (in a church wedding) and only in the missionary position…I don’t want to know that coworker B is celibate…I don’t want to know about coworker C’s and partner’s fetishes…and therefore I most definitely don’t want to know that potential coworker D is involved in a sex club. No no no no no no no. In the eyes of coworkers, you would always and forever be the Sex Club Woman, and I don’t think that would be a beneficial thing, professionally.

    2. FD*

      I’d still think it might be a bit chancy. It shouldn’t be–everything is legal and consensual! But people are weird about sex things.

      1. Safetykats*

        I think that if you were a consultant and this club was one of many clients, you would still want to think hard about where you sent resumes listing that experience. Applying for a job, I second that in certain venues it might be fine, but with a lot of companies it would likely be really risky. Certainly any company that has some sort of morals clause in their employment contracts is probably going have an issue – if only on the basis that the association might be objectionable to some of their clients.

        Is this a responsibility that you intend to keep up after being hired for whatever job you’re pursuing? Because that might also be objectionable to some employers, if it came up. Of course, if you’re intending to continue, and it’s important to you, maybe you don’t want to work for anyone who would see it as a serious issue. In that case, maybe bringing it up early is an advantage – as it may prevent you from ending up working for somebody who would have issues were they to find out later.

      2. Ramona Flowers*

        And – not saying this is right, just that it’s possible – some people might assume OP would scout for new members in the workplace, or react with aversion and paranoia due to #metoo. I’m not saying that’s got anything to do with this (and respectfully ask that nobody assumes I need to be told the difference between assault and a sex party) but that people are currently particularly sensitive to anything to do with sex in the workplace.

        1. London Bookworm*

          I think that’s a good point, even aside from the recruitment fear.

          If someone felt comfortable raising a sex club during the interview process (when people are generally considered to be polished and on their toes) it might raise questions about whether they were very caviler about talking about their sex life (or other generally sensitive topics) in general.

          Even a company was ok with it and hired OP, I think this is the sort of juicy tidbit that would make it around the office in five minutes flat. It might result in more gossip and speculation than it would be worth.

          1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

            I used to work for a well-known org that is sex-positive and this is my thought. There are people who can’t grasp the distinction between sex positivity and ignoring boundaries and this can be a problem in some workplaces. Which isn’t to say I think OP is one of those people at all, but depending on the company and the individual interviewer, bringing it up in an interview may not land as a sign of good judgment.

            OP, I am sorry about this. It would be awesome if you could speak to the hard work you’ve done to build this group and be taken at face value, but I think the opportunities to do that will be rare and difficult to identify.

            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

              Agreed. There are people (who by and large aren’t all that socially adept to begin with) who think that positivity means ‘I MUST shoehorn this into every conversation and the only people who would object are bigots and squares.’

              The coworker who found out I’m a lesbian and subsequently tried to have Loud Social Justice Conversations About Orientation with me still makes me shudder, and she was fired years ago.

              1. London Bookworm*

                Yes. And it can be difficult to measure that sort of nuanced emotional intelligence in an interview.

                1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

                  Tragically, yes. It can definitely be hard to find the dividing line between “don’t talk about this because it is Shameful and Bad” and “don’t talk about this because it’s perfectly natural but not appropriate for this venue.” But still, ugh.

        2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW here) This is the big issue. Since starting this group I’ve become aware of how knee-jerk sex-negative so much of our society is. (I was, myself, until very recently.) Even a lot of “sex positive” groups use sex-negative concepts without realizing it. I think the very topic itself carries a strong charge. Now that I’ve read many of the comments here, I think the risks outweigh the benefits. Even an organization that is sex-positive could be a problem if even one person would be put off by it. If the organization itself is in some aspect of the adult industry, then it might be OK, but that’s not where I want to work.

        3. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW1) Hadn’t thought about the recruitment fears. That’s a very good point. And the interaction with #MeToo is also an issue. If even the mention of sex club could make someone uncomfortable, then I don’t want to do it.

          1. fposte*

            I think that’s a lot of the risk to me–there are echoes of skeevy Hefneresque things if you don’t explain, and a risk of talking about it in too much detail for 1) a sex club or 2) an unpaid gig if you do.

            I also think the gender factor is relevant here but unpredictable. In some situations it’s trickier if you appear male; in some it’s trickier if you appear female. If you don’t appear binary, it risks making that identity into an even bigger thing.

            1. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

              A man who runs a sex club can run into very different perceptions than a woman. Both have a high likelihood of being judged, just by different groups.

          2. SarahTheEntwife*

            Yeah, if you were my coworker and I found out about this after I’d already gotten to know you a bit, I’d have absolutely no problem with it, but at an interview I’d kind of worry about boundaries. It’s kind of the same as talking about religion — if your religious practice comes up in conversation naturally, that’s cool, but if your resume has missionary work prominently featured I’m going to wonder whether you’ll start proselytizing at me (unless you’re a work-study student or something and “tutored Sunday school” is the closest you’ve had to a regular job).

            1. else*

              Same! I have a good long-time friend who also participates in a large sex club like yours, and I have zero problem listening to her talk about it and cheering her on when she talks about how beneficial it has been for her and her partners, but I would be massively put off if someone I knew in a work context was talking about the same things. I feel the same about those who trumpet church-gained work experience, incidentally – both of those can give you some useful skills, but both also suggest that you might behave in boundary-crossing proselytizing ways at work that I’d be really uncomfortable with in a colleague. If about different types of activities.

              1. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

                I am sex positive, and active in the scene, but I wouldn’t want to talk about it at work. I talk about it at work! Several things I quite enjoy are illegal where I live, and judgment is rampant — I’m not risking my family or my job!

            2. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

              I am sex positive, and active in the scene, but I wouldn’t want to talk about it at work. I talk about it at work! Several things I quite enjoy are illegal where I live, and judgment is rampant — I’m not risking my family or my job!

              1. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

                Correction: I don’t talk about it at work! (Apparently brackets erase that word)

          3. AKchic*

            Don’t mention exactly what you do. You are a private party planner. Then market the job skills you’ve learned underneath that heading. I’ve given some examples in a separate comment on marketing some of your skills.

          4. CutUp*

            A person doesn’t need to have any kind of sex negative attitude or judgment of the club to feel uncomfortable, as well. This is sort of parallel to the issues Thinx (a menstrual underwear company) had with its CEO. All of the employees were very comfortable talking about periods in general, but the CEO acted as if that translated to walking around naked, talking specifically about THEIR periods, etc. People can have very liberal attitudes but also boundaries about what is private for them and for others, which you could easily cross by talking about a preference for group sex.

            1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

              (LW1) I met the founder of THINX once at a conference. At the conference, she was charming and didn’t discuss anything inappropriate. I didn’t discuss sex club, and I don’t think either of us had any suspicions about the other. We were, collectively, the soul of propriety.

          5. Anna*

            I’m seriously impressed with what you’ve accomplished and I’m sorry you don’t get to tell people about it as proof of your talent and skill. Good luck! I hope you’ll give us an update on how the job search goes.

        1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW here) Actually, that IS the first rule of Sex Club. The second rule is that consent is mandatory.

          1. Parenthetically*

            UE, if this is too off topic for this thread, maybe you can take it to open thread later, but I for one am curious how you police/ensure consent in your club. I think about this a lot with porn and sex work as well, but I think it fits in this context. What do you do if one of your members brings along his girlfriends, who always seem really… out of it? Or you just get a weird feeling about someone who is always accompanied by people much younger than him/her who seem less than comfortable? Or even if someone is just giving off an “I don’t really want to be here but Dan Savage thinks I need to be GGG” vibe?

            How do you walk the line between “these are adults and if they say yes I’m going to believe them” and “yes, this 18-year-old is legally an adult, but s/he seems hella uncomfortable, s/he’s pretty wasted, his/her boyfriend is 55 and married”? Or how do you try to ensure that doesn’t happen? You seem really fastidious about all this so I’m sure you’ve got a system or at least some principles.

            1. sap*

              I have no idea whether this is true of this poster’s club, but it is very common in consent-conscious sex spaces to have rules about no intoxicants at the events/maybe at some events for newer members, which handles the “what if someone is really wastes, can they really consent?” question by saying “whether or not this wasted person was consenting, we do not allow that in this space.”

              As for his/her boyfriend is 55 and married, there are lots of extramarital things that go on in spaces like this that are extremely fine with both spouses and the extras, so that would probably not be a consideration.

            2. Friendly neighborhood kinkster*

              One generally knows the web of spouses, partners, and play partners. (We have a spreadsheet to keep track of that, and a lot of other things.) Lots of people are mono, and lots are poly. But not everything is about sex – I’ve been tied by an expert I’m not involved with.

              Intoxication isn’t usually allowed – it’s too much of a hindrance to consent and communication, and too easy for things to become non-consensual.

              There are Dungeon Monitors who don’t play, they just roam and keep an eye on things staying safe, sane, consensual, and clean. The party host is often only lightly playing, and explicitly interruptible.

              There is usually an opening circle where rules are outlined really clearly, party safe words, and who to contact if there are problems.

              Smaller parties, you’ll go around and people will state what name to call them, preferred pronoun, and what they’re hoping for at that party. It can be “just watching / voyeur” to “making out” to “tying up my partner here” to harder core stuff – it’s all very matter of fact, respectful, and straightforward. That can help identify potential play partners, or allow one to draw a boundary without having to do it individually.

            3. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

              (LW1) Everyone who attends has to Skype with me to discuss ground rules. No guests are allowed. Everyone has to be a member and go through a Skype conversation before attending. At the videochat, we discuss consent, and that consent must be verbal, out loud, and unambiguous. “May I ___?” If someone asks you, you must respond out loud, unambiguously. If anyone says or shakes their head “No” at any time, all contact is to stop immediately. And if anyone isn’t comfortable saying “No,” they should come to me as soon as they can to discuss it. (If they have a general inability to say “No,” I would probably ask them not to come back.)

              No alcohol or drugs are allowed, and no one can attend who is visibly intoxicated. At the ground rules, I tell people that if they do choose to arrive in an altered state that isn’t visible, they still need to follow the rules, including consent rules. If anyone has arrived intoxicated, I haven’t seen it.

              1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

                Also, we have an opening circle where everyone communicates their preferences, boundaries, special requests (“my wrist is broken so please be careful”), etc. At the opening circle, I recap the rules covered in the Skype conversation.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        If we reverse it and the hiring manager is talking to the interviewee about his sidegig managing a large sex club and the parallels to the non-sexual organization and does the interviewee see the connection and hey let’s analogize quarterly reports to strong-enough orgy furniture…. that would be considered weird and out of touch at a minimum, and probably harassment.

        If it’s one of the 99.9% of organizations where a manager talking to subordinates about the sex club they run outside work would be considered wildly inappropriate, then that isn’t suddenly fine if it’s the employee explaining it to the manager.

    3. JamieS*

      The main problem is it’s taboo to talk about sex in a job interview with a few exceptions so I think the answer would be the same since OP would most likely still need to go into specifics about the organization.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        I think for a consultant it might be easier, because a) typically groups like this that organize themselves to a degree of being able to hire consultants take care to have an organizational “public face” that is very carefully G-rated and b) a consultant could, if applicable, focus very narrowly on “I was not involved in the subject matter of the club, but dealt specifically on the logistics of building a member database and organizing a professional-quality mailing list in compliance with anti-spam measures and required disclosures.”

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          To elaborate on a), a group in my area set up an LLC with a very innocuous name, and the leaders of the group told us exactly what they would tell anyone who called to inquire about someone’s volunteer or consultative work, which was that they were a social and hobby group with a membership of X and Y number of organized group events every month, including hands-on demonstrations of DIY crafts, organized dinners at area restaurants, a database that utilized XYZ specific technical skills, administration using skillsets ABC, and so forth.

            1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

              Yep! The membership skewed a bit older and pretty affluent, with plenty of business savvy and the money to get good professional advice on navigating things.

        2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW here) You guys formed an LLC? That’s very impressive! I have heard private sex clubs can be legally created using a 503(c)(d?) membership club, but haven’t investigated it in detail. Making the leap to a paid-dues organization seems like a potential land mine. What’s fine for a group to do socially may not be fine if there’s money involved.

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            I was only a member for a little while, but yeah, the running of the org was an LLC. It was more focused on kink than actual sex, so I think that gave more leeway.

    4. Antilles*

      Maybe, but *only if* you made sure the primary focus was on the consulting part of the work. On the resume, you list the Consulting Company as your employer and the skills there. Then in the interview, you keep focus on the actual impact of your work rather than the content of what the company does.
      Also, if it was one of several contracts, you could probably get away with being vague about the club itself – a lot of consultants have some confidential clients, so describing the experience without naming the club could be a feasible way to get your experience out there without bringing moral judgments/awkwardness about talking about sex/etc into the interview. “On a recent contract, the client had major issues with staffing their events, so I reviewed their typical attendee counts and realized that events on Saturdays tended to be significantly more attended than Wednesdays, so by shifting staffing around, they could operate more efficiently. Also, the staff really loved having a day off in the middle of the week, so it ended up being a win-win for everybody!”

    5. Penny Lane*

      Because it’s about sex. That’s why. No one wants to hear or imagine their candidates having sex — whether it’s with spouse/partner or with all of East Toledo.

      1. MK*

        I think this is key. If a candidate says they run a sex club, I now know more than I wanted to about their actual sex life. If they worked for such a group as a consultant, I can assume that they are ok with this, but not necessarily that they are involved themselves; they might be, but it could also have been just a job. If they have worked for an organisation that promotes sex positivity and is supportive of sex clubs, I can assume they actively support people’s right to these activities, but still not that it’s personal.

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If the OP were truly a consultant with multiple clients, it would be a different thing — and she’d be able to put the work on her resume without getting specific about this one group since she’d have other clients to talk about. But if, for example, she had special accomplishments with this one group that she hadn’t had with other clients, I think she could include that on her resume without specifying the type of group … but it would be one bullet of many with other details about her consulting work. But that doesn’t work in this case because the OP isn’t actually a consultant with multiple clients — if this goes on the resume, it’s going to be a single group/client, and that means that if she’s asked about it in the interview, the nature of the group could easily come out, and then we’re back to the original answer.

      To be clear, if the OP’s full-time job had been, say, doing bookkeeping for an adult film producer, that could absolutely go on her resume. It would be a regular job doing non-sex-work at a place that just happened to be in the adult industry. But this is different — there will be a strong implication here that she was so involved in this group because she’s a participant, and that’s way too much information for an interview. Even aside from that, because it wasn’t a regular job, it’s going to raise issues of judgment (“why did she put a sex club on her resume?”) that wouldn’t come up in the bookkeeper scenario.

  6. FD*

    #2- If the candidate hadn’t protested your decision, it might have been worth it (if the CEO was okay with it). If you had no other data, you couldn’t know whether the candidate knew. But in this case, given the candidate’s behavior? They probably do know and think it’s appropriate.

    1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      Yeah, there is nothing to be gained here. It’s not a situation where the candidate would thank you and ask Dad to stop embarrassing them, it’s a situation where the candidate would ask if you know who their father is.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        I picture the conversation going:

        “Listen, I wanted to let you know that your father called the CEO to complain about me not hiring you.”

        “Oh, good. I assume this means you’re calling to apologize and offer me the job?”

        1. AKchic*

          “No, I’m telling you that it was unprofessional for you to email me the way you did, and doubly unprofessional for your parent to email the CEO to try to pull strings. Once your parent emailed, your resume went to the ‘never hire’ stack, so thank your parent for that.”


          1. Anna*

            Unfortunately any contact after that email from the candidate opens the door to more unwanted follow ups. They don’t seem to understand when conversations end.

  7. Birch*

    #1, how is this different than the maid of honor who wanted to put that on her CV as event planning experience? And wasn’t there similar letter about a D&D leader (or something in that genre)? Aren’t all these considered hobbies unless you’re being paid? This seems similar any other activity club and I think the advice should be the same–as much as it would be nice to be able to claim those skills, you have to demonstrate them at work to get credit for them.

    1. London Bookworm*

      I think I see your point there: aside from the subject matter, this isn’t like a job or volunteer position where (in theory) someone is overseeing your work.

      However, unlike those previous two, managing a club with hundreds of members is an unusual experience that not a lot of people will have had (as opposed to managing a guild or MoH, which many people have done, to varying degrees of intensity).

      But your right that even if it were a more ‘work-friendly’ topic, the achievements there still wouldn’t hold anywhere near the weight of something that was done within a work context.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I thought of the D&D leader letter too. I have a similar thing where I’m a leader in a hobby group and definitely use skills that would be beneficial in a workplace, but there’s just not a good way to include that experience in a professional context.

      Not to mention that it might be a red flag to a potential employer for reasons unrelated to the group’s topic. If I was interviewing someone who talked about how hard they worked for their hobby group, it would make me wonder how dedicated they would be to the job I was going to pay them to do.

      1. Akcipitrokulo*

        I used to help run parlour larp events – cash handling, record keeping, responsible for health & safety issues, dealing with grievances if they occurred – and as was international, also had a bit of dealing with legalities of exporting personal data to the US and what we needed in place to be able to do that.

        I went into it in interviews when I was starting career! Quite a lot for first couple of jobs, as a bit of an additional detail for the next, then it stopped being relevant as I had enough work experience.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          Basically – when I had no work history, it was very useful to me for entry-level jobs; once I had work experience, it wasn’t really relevant any more. Apart from the DPA for a couple of specifics.

          1. Purplesaurus*

            I can’t speak for what Akcipitrokulo runs, but the parlour larps I’m familiar with are self-contained: easy for players to drop into and are over in a few hours. Kind of like a dinner theater or murder mystery type of thing, except you get to be one of the actors.

          2. Akcipitrokulo*

            Purplesaurus is right – it’s distinguishing it from physical or runner-sword larps. Both involve taking on a character and playing them in a game, improvising their responses. I’ve never done rubber-sword larps (they look awesome but I like indoors :) ) but did do the ones where you book out the back room of a pub and pretend to be a vampire for the night. (Or werewolf, fairy or mage!)

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I was also reminded of the D&D letter, and that’s a good point about talking about a seemingly all consuming hobby. (Just like you shouldn’t spend too much time on how you primarily identify as a parent, or spouse, even if technically your children will always trump your job in personal importance. Or how planning family dinner is the same as ‘nutrition counselor.’)

        Akcip has a good point about this only going on a resume if there is nothing related in your professional career that you can point to.

      3. Triumphant Fox*

        I think if it’s a side business or something you sell, it can be easier to include. I include that I’m an artist on the side – in part because my creative experience has been a huge asset to the teams I’ve joined, and in part because I have a website with a bio, blog, my work and an online store. I rarely sell anything – I do a few art shows a year and it’s not really worth it to me to make it a serious business, but I have always had questions about it. It takes up one line (literally just title and website).

        I also bring it up if people ask what I do in my spare time – it’s a nice way to work it in. If my work were risqué at all, I’d probably think twice, so this isn’t as relevant to the OP.

    3. Former ConCom*

      Thing is, on my resume under “related work experience” there’s an entry saying:
      “Department head for presentation art competition [year-year]. Hired judges; solicited prize donations, trophy art and volunteer staff; coordinated with technical team; redesigned and streamlined entry process. Competition ran on time and under budget every year.”

      When asked, I can discuss scheduling, budgeting, team coordination and cooperation, assigning support staff, wrangling up to 100 entering artists, even redesigning mandatory forms.

      …and all without ever actually saying “I was the Masquerade Director of a large regional science fiction convention.”

      1. Purplesaurus*

        …and all without ever actually saying “I was the Masquerade Director of a large regional science fiction convention.”

        See, that would make me interested in hiring you (with the accompanying skills/experience). Though, I don’t think science fiction conventions are as a taboo and uncomfortable topic in the workplace as sex-related stuff.

        1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW1 here) I’d hire you for experience running part of a large regional science fiction convention. I’ve seen those behind the scenes. They’re large events. If you ran it well, that’s good credentials. Of course, that’s the same logic I am using with sex club.

      2. not so sweet*

        I hired a science educator whose resume and interview conversation included her experience organizing conference events, and the skills that might transfer to the short-term position I was filling. By the time the working-together project was almost over, we had come to trust each other as well as respect each other, and the employee explained that although some of the examples she had used were from science grad student events, others were from a large regional science fiction convention (and it turned out we knew a lot of the same people).

        I was super impressed that she had managed to bring in those examples without me noticing that she was being discreet about the details. I thought she was well prepared to apply to post-doctoral fellowships and other jobs in science.

    4. hbc*

      I think scope matters in addition to pay. Managing my soccer team is a pain in the butt (more than one might expect when dealing with adults who manage to feed and clothe themselves), but it’s just one team and the personal advantage to me is huge compared to the responsibility. If I organized the whole league, it would be more relevant, whether I charged a fee for it or did it out of the kindness of my heart.

      I think the role-playing group and the maid of honor were on the smaller end of the scale–or at least, you’ll have a ton of people who will say, “Yeah, I had game nights too, BFD.” For running a club with 400+ members, it wouldn’t be as good as the same experience in a paid situation, but it’s definitely better than not having any experience. Equally important is showing the hiring manager that you know it’s not as good as official on-the-job experience–and I think that’s where most people tank it.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s not that all experience on your resume has to be paid; people put volunteer work on their resumes all the time. The issue with the maid of honor question wasn’t that it wasn’t paid work. It’s that being in a wedding party is the kind of thing that so many people do in the course of normal life that it’s just not resume-worthy. It would be like including that you planned your own wedding or helped friends apply for college.

      I do think there are hobbies or leadership roles in clubs that can become resume-worthy. If you build an organization of hundreds of people who achieve X or Y in your community, that can be resume-worthy (because you can point to something you built and something you achieved). The problem in the OP’s case is that hers is all tied up with sex, and you just can’t bring a sex hobbyist club into an interview context.

      1. C.*

        My advice for LW #1 would be to get involved with a resume-appropriate organization (like a nonprofit or professional organization) that lets them put their organizational and event-planning skills to work. I had a similar situation in my life, actually: I hosted and planned a lot of large-scale parties (and a few memorial services/funerals) over a number of years, realized, “Hey, this is a lot of work but I’m pretty good at it?” but also that I couldn’t put “throws a great funeral” on my resume. Later I joined the board of a professional association that needed help with event coordination, so now my resume has a couple of lines describing conferences and banquets I helped organize. Lots of organizations need this kind of help, and getting involved can be good for your career in other ways too (it was for me).

    6. soon 2be former fed*

      Thirty year fed here. Volunteer/unpaid experience is explicitly allowed as qualifying experience on federal job applications. They want the skills. Not sure how sex club organizer would go over though. Might be considered a security risk or something.

  8. Daria Grace*

    OP 1, can you put your skills to work on an event/short term project in another field so at least you have something work friendly to show for your hard won abilities?

  9. SuperAnon*

    Op#1, I can’t put my finger on why, but your comment about body types and physical health give me great pause. Maybe it’s how you are phrasing it, but as a sex positive person, I would be less interested in you as a candidate due to that language, regardless of background that generates it.

      1. Sick of Workplace Bullshit*

        I doubt it. STDs have nothing to do with size. I read it as having to do with participants’ preferences.

        1. Anonymous Today*

          How does saying that they “have systems for guaranteeing physical health” in any way relate to size? I definitely took it as screening for STDs and providing protection.

            1. Rat in the Sugar*

              Right, but why would you assume those two sentences have anything to do with each other? I read it as two separate statements: 1. We try to mix people up in groups that they’re comfortable in. 2. We try to ensure physical health and safety.

              1. Myrin*

                In fact, there is literally nothing suggesting that these two statements have anything to do with each other, other than that they’re both true and appear consecutively in the OP’s letter. I wrote about this extensively below but I feel like your short comment here actually would’ve been enough to get my point across. Oh well.

              2. Temperance*

                Judging by his comment below, I do think they are related. He doesn’t want to get into what it means, so I’ll take that for what it is.

                1. A Cita*

                  Huh? He specifically says that physical health is about STDs, and that he allows anyone to join and makes sure there is a good mix of body sizes/types. He also says is the most contentious issue, so he tries to organize events that ensure everyone has the highest chance of enjoying themselves. I’m not sure what else one would want or expect?

          1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

            Yeah, I read “body types” and “guaranteeing physical health” as two separate things and I definitely took the latter to refer to STIs and safe sex. Which is awesome and important. But I also read the phrasing of the former as a mix of body types (and preferences) as well as a mix of personalities, not that OP is being exclusive based on body type.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              I read “body size” as “some people are into bears.”

              Which is true, and an aspect of orgy planning, but I guess this is another reason NOT to include it on a resume–that for the rare person who doesn’t react “Dude! What is the first rule of duck club?” they may disagree with the way you organize sex parties.

              1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

                I took ‘body type’ to also refer to things like making sure that a mostly straight gathering didn’t wind up with a ratio of 15 men to every woman that showed up.

                1. Dove*

                  I took it to mean referring to things like making sure that participants who are heavier than society’s ideal, or who have physical features that aren’t conventionally attractive, aren’t going to be in a group where they’d be shamed for their physical appearance.

        2. Penny Lane*

          Yes, Sick of Workplace Bullshit, it certainly would be awful if someone running an activity catered to the preferences of its clients. Can you explain why it’s not valid for someone to prefer someone of a particular body shape / habitus? Within a certain subculture, for example, there are those who prefer twinks — with a smaller, thinner body shape — and those who prefer bears — with a larger, stockier body shape. That’s not my subculture, as I am a cis heterosexual female, but if someone were setting up a site for them to meet, whether it’s for dating or swinging, I’m not quite sure why those preferences wouldn’t be valid.

          Or is this a case of getting feelings hurt because of a reminder that not everyone cares for every body size?

    1. Sick of Workplace Bullshit*

      THANK YOU! I was coming here to say the exact same thing! I’m a bigger woman involved in what some people would consider “edgy” adult activities, and this was really off putting!

    2. Betsy*

      I don’t know if I misread the original, but I took it in a positive way, like the OP makes sure the sex parties are particularly inclusive of different types of bodies (e.g. bigger, smaller, transgender, cisgender, masculine, feminine) and the health part could just mean providing condoms, dams, lube, etc.? I am just saying this because I know some of the saunas and sex parties I’ve heard of have been explicit about being inclusive of different body types, because they know that not everywhere is that inclusive.

      1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

        Yep, looking back at the letter I can see how the wording is ambiguous but I definitely took it this way.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That’s how I read it too.

        But it also has nothing to do with the work-related questions the OP is asking! So please let’s not derail (further!) on this.

    3. Myrin*

      Okay, I do have to ask very honestly: Where on earth are you getting that from?

      The OP talks about how she works and what made her group so successful for everyone. She says: “[I] was able to start identifying factors that led to successful experiences for the attendees. The factors ranged from the environment to the mix of personalities, body types, and preferences.”
      Like. She says right there that the fact that she made sure to include people of varying personalities, body types, and (sexual, I presume) preferences directly contributed to her group’s success. She figured out that it’s positive to have people of different sizes in such a group (which makes sense just on a logical level alone but it’s nice to see that she had actual observation to back that up).

      The point about “physical health” is an entirely separate one. It’s very clear that everything in that paragraph talks about the various factors contributing to her success; it’s basically a list in the form of two sentences.
      “We have explicitly developed and refined systems for guaranteeing physical health, dealing with consent, screening new attendees for fit, and so on.”
      I honestly don’t know how one can read this sentence the way you did – it’s entirely clear (especially in concjunction with the next paragraph) that she’s talking about physical safety. Whether that is limited to stuff like supplying condoms, lube, and thelike, or also includes systems to ensure people participating in encounters featuring BDSM or just more risqué sexual experiences or well taken car of is anyone’s best guess, but I feel 100% confident that it doesn’t mean she sends people on treadmills before being allowed to join (or whatever it is you’re thinking of, which I’m not actually entirely clear on).

      Like. I don’t mean to come across as harsh or like I’m attacking you, SA, but I find it frustrating that people sometimes seem to pick up three words in a letter without actually reading carefully the whole body of text that we are presented with here. The OP presented her situation in a straightforward manner which shows her attitude and personality quite clearly (and she continues to do so in the comments) and there’s really no need to search for a hidden “but what did she actually want to tell us here?”.

      1. Myrin*

        Ugh, “are well taken care of”, not “or well taken car of “. That’s what I get for including half-sentences after the fact.

        1. SuperAnon*

          You can discuss safer sex methods (including PrEP) in plain language. If that is what was meant, why not say so?

          The way the phrase came across to me, as a reader (“guaranteeing physical health”) was as “coded” to imply being physically fit; especially when paired immediately WITH “for fit” in the following phrase.

          That, combined with “body type” in the same post, detailing how the OP selected persons for their group based on preferences, made me wonder about whether the OP was aware of how their language came off. Sometimes the way you say things gives another person a reason to be cautious. This was such a case to me.

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            How do you get “screening new attendees for fit” to mean ‘for fitness’? I thought it was very clear that this meant ensuring that new attendees fit in with the group, the same way we talk about fit for a job.

          2. Elizabeth H.*

            I did not get this impression in the slightest. I think it’s a misreading.
            My experience of people who participate in organized sex activities is that they tend to be really supportive of diversity of preference, body type, inclusive of those who don’t fit “stereotypical” ideas of attractiveness, etc.

          3. Penny Lane*

            So wait. The OP is running a club where people voluntarily engage in the most intimate of activities with people with whom they are not already engaged in a relationship (not judgmental – just stating the purpose/nature of the club). And they shouldn’t have personal body preferences about the kinds of people they wish to engage in this activity with? They should just do it with anyone who shows up and passes whatever health/safety screening they have? Unbelievable.

            Everyone’s going out of their way so far to avoid even the merest hit of fat-shaming that it’s ridiculous. Look, I wouldn’t touch one of these clubs with a ten-foot pole, but to each his / her own … But if it were my thing, of *course* I’d have personal preferences for the people I’d engage with.

            1. Betsy*

              Oh no, I definitely don’t think it means just do it with whoever you happen to see first. Of course people have preferences, and will hook up with people they are attracted to. I think there are some scenes (perhaps swingers) where it is all about conventionally hot bods, and others, particularly in the queer/bdsm communities that try to open it out to different body types and genders. No one is obligated to sleep with anyone.

            2. Kathryn T.*

              There’s a difference between “you are not allowed to consider physical attraction when choosing a partner” and “nobody will be made to feel like the mere fact of their body will be a party-ruining buzzkill.”

          4. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

            (LW1) When I wrote “guaranteeing physical health,” I was referring solely to STDs. With regard to overall body fitness, we have had clashes about whether I should have criteria to exclude certain body shapes or body hair. To date, I haven’t done, and some people have left the group because I haven’t done so. As I said, it’s contentious and concerning to me, and I’m doing my best to try to be as inclusive as possible.

    4. Penny Lane*

      What does being a sex positive person mean? Are people who are not swingers (to use the old-fashioned term, I guess) not sex positive? I’m monogamous with my spouse, but I don’t care what other people do behind closed doors. I think prostitution should be legal (and regulated) and don’t have a moral problem with it. I feel like those aren’t “cool” enough to earn the label sex-positive, though.

      Does being sex-positive mean you can’t have body type / physical preferences? Tall guys, short blondes, you have a weakness for redheads, you’re not interested in someone who weighs 300 pounds?

      1. London Bookworm*

        Wikipedia has an article on the Sex-Positive movement.

        Basically: “The sex-positive movement is a social movement and philosophical movement that promotes and embraces sexuality and sexual expression, with an emphasis on safe and consensual sex. Sex-positivity is ‘an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, encouraging sexual pleasure and experimentation’.”

        1. Penny Lane*

          Can someone be sex-positive and still have (personal, for themselves) strong opinions on the personal characteristics / body types of people they choose to engage in sex with? Maybe they love / hate tattoos, or body piercings, or red hair.

          Because the vibe I’m getting is that people are trying to “out” the letter-writer as Not Being Sufficiently Sex-Positive Woke because he or she mentioned body type preferences, and that everyone is trying to outdo one another on the “oh, that’s not cool, you’re supposed to be completely indifferent to body shape of the person you are about to have intimate relations with.”

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            Absolutely! Part of what goes into sex-positivity is being able to draw a strong and clear line between “this is what I find appealing/unappealing for my own personal activity” and “this is what I think should be considered generally socially acceptable.”

            So like. I personally am strongly monogamous and would not consider a poly relationship. But I don’t consider poly relationships to be inherently bad or wrong, and I’m supportive of my friends who are poly.

            1. else*

              Same thing – I am monogamous by nature and way too lazy/jealous to be poly, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect that other people are totally capable of being poly and both healthy and happy. Being sex positive basically means knowing your own needs and preferences without shame and respecting those of others, without feeling pressured to match them or police them.

      2. fposte*

        Google says, “having or promoting an open, tolerant, or progressive attitude towards sex and sexuality.”

        I don’t think that you have to be cool to be sex-positive, but that it’s likelier to be part of your self-identification if it’s in regard to specific actions.

      3. London Bookworm*

        So, in short – yes, you can be a sex-positive person and still not be particularly interested in the juicy details of your coworkers sex lives. In fact, that’s probably most people in the sex-positive movement.

    5. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      (LW1 here) You bring up a very important point as it relates to my question. Both the STD issues and the body type issues are contentious simply to mention. People have very strong feelings about both, regardless of the official position of sex club on both. Bringing up anything that triggers strong feelings in an interview seems like a very bad idea, especially when those feelings are not directly related to job performance.

      To clarify the specifics about sex club and my letter:

      “Physical health” is about STDs. I used to say “STD”s but some people objected to that phrasing. This is non-negotiable. If someone has a communicable disease, I ask them to get treatment and test negative before attending. I’ve been staff during a public health emergency that was so severe it required a site be quarantined. Public health is both a safety issue and a consent issue. Consent is our bedrock principle, and that applies to exposure to disease, as well as direct physical touching.

      Body type has been the most contentious issue. Everyone has an opinion, and there is not consensus. This is a sex club, not a romantic club. Physical attraction is part of the dynamic. No matter what the policy is, people will object and some people won’t show up. No matter what the policy is, people will complain afterwards that there was too much variety, not enough variety, that they didn’t get any action because of their body type, that they got too much attention because of their body type, etc. It happens if everyone is welcome. It happens if you have specific characteristics you look for. Part of why sex club is so much work is that I’ve opted to allow anyone to join, and I try to curate each gathering so people have other people who will want to interact with them.

      I won’t go into any more detail, nor will I discuss it further here. It is our most contentious issue, clearly people on this thread already feel strongly about it, and I’ve put tremendous thought into it and do a lot of work to try to please everyone.

      1. Maiasaura*

        I think this is a really well-thought position and you articulated it extremely well. It’s a damn shame that you can’t mention this in an interview—it’s an excellent example of handling a sensitive issue effectively—but those skills will certainly serve you well in your career, even if folks never know how you initially developed them.

          1. rldk*

            I support this – although I don’t know how much detail UnexpectedEntrepreneur could go into (over what’s in the comments here) due to privacy concerns

          2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

            (LW1) You can’t imagine how much I would love to do such an interview. Running this club has taught me not just about organizing, but a lot about how to help people expand their comfort zone safely, how to help shy/nervous people network with strangers, etc. These lessons have been helpful in everyday situations. Just today I helped a friend have a difficult conversation (that had nothing to do with sex) using some of the techniques I’ve developed to help shy sex club members express their requests and boundaries.

            The one specific lesson has been how to help people feel more comfortable with their bodies and sex. After 400 video chats with members, I have a pretty good idea of the range of concerns, fears, and insecurities. When I started, I shared most of those and running the club has helped me realize that my fears and insecurities are the norm, rather than the exception.

            Unfortunately, my voice is distinctive, and I do voiceover work. An audio interview would broadcast my identity to anyone who has heard my body of work. Given that this whole thread is about concern for my work reputation, that probably wouldn’t be wise.

      2. MassMatt*

        It stinks that it’s so difficult for you to outright put this on your resume and discuss it in interviews but given the thoughtfulness you’ve displayed both in your posts here and in managing your club/group activities, any employer is going to be pleasantly surprised how well you can organize, take many contentious points of view into account, and stick to the most important principles. Right now you have great skills that are difficult to work into an interview but you HAVE the skills, no one can take that away.

        I would also think you might be able to mention this kind of experience in applying for some organizations working in public health (including non profits) but you’d need to know each organization’s culture.

        1. econobiker*

          I still ponder if he/she could indicate experience in party planning and event planning and management. Then, when pressed for details, he/she could say that, in the past, he/she gained experience in the past planning for big holiday, sports event watching, family birthday parties of X number of people for a wealthy friend who has a large diverse group of friends, employees, customers, neighbors, who said friend hosts at various places and venues. And said friend will be from an industry unrelated to the job interview (choose a sport???, academics???, retired entrepeneur??? etc.) so “I really can’t go into details about my friend since his family is fairly well known so I respect his privacy.” You can also say that this was in the past if you think the time committed would adversely influence the interviewer.
          And this idea may or may not work depending on the position and industry for which the interview is targeted. For authenticity, however, people who DON’T name drop are typically really involved in real-time activities versus bragging folks who WANT you to know who they know and hang out with.
          Just an potential idea.

      3. Anion*

        I don’t necessarily have a high opinion of the type of organization you run–I don’t *disapprove,* I just have Opinions–but it’s a legal activity/organization in a free country, run and peopled by consenting, free adults who may (afaic) do as they wish with their own bodies. You have every right to set whatever standards you may wish, and frankly shouldn’t have to justify that to anyone, much less strangers on the internet. I’m sorry you’re being scolded by thought-nannies who failed to understand your perfectly clear wording.

        I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your job search.

  10. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP2 – if the candidate had sent a polite “While disappointed, I’d like to thank you for your time and consideration, and wish you well for future” response to the rejection, then yeah, I’d give them a heads up because their behaviour is fine and they may be being unfairly negatively impacted; but a confrontational email from them too? I’d leave it.

  11. Creatrix Tiara*

    #1: So my work experience is pretty peppered with things to do with sexuality – interning & doing social media for the Center for Sex and Culture (a gallery/library/community space around gender and sexuality), organising Slutwalks, a background in burlesque performance. It probably was a hindrance in some applications, but there’s also been places that have been pretty open to it – primarily arts organisations, activist organisations, or LGBTIQ organisations. So maybe start looking at opportunities in those spaces?

    1. Betsy*

      Oh yeah, me too. I have some similar stuff on my resume and it’s not really been a big deal. However, I work in higher education, in a field that is quite open-minded, so that kind of thing is probably seen as a bonus.

    2. Temperance*

      I think that this is a bit different, though, because it’s not explicitly about sex, in your case.

    3. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      I’m currently not looking specifically in the adult activities spaces. But maybe I should start. I’m very curious as to what “Slutwalks” is?

      1. Blue Anne*

        Slutwalks are protests against rape culture. A police officer giving a talk on safety at a law school made a comment that “women should not dress like sluts, to avoid being victimized” and it set off protests around the world.

        At the ones I went to there were a lot of 1) women dressed normally carrying signs saying “these are the clothes I was raped in” and 2) women wearing little more than body paint carrying signs saying “this is not consent”.

  12. Akcipitrokulo*

    OP3 -it depends on the cost and distance if they aren’t interviewing anyone else (if they were, I’d interview if possible). Bearing in mind I’ve learned here that interviews are two-way – I think I’d prefer to see how things were in person, but it’s a personal balance of gains from chatting in person vs inconvenience & cost.

    1. OP3*

      Based on their budget I assumed an interview would be done remotely although I hadn’t thought about paying my own way to go there so that’s a good point to weigh that cost. Since I sent in this question I was able to confirm I’d be reporting to someone I both reported to in the past and who at one point I was a peer of. So in terms of confirming a fit of management style I feel pretty comfortable there. I also know no one else is being considered for this position as they basically created it once I expressed interest in returning to work there. That said I agree that if other candidates were involved I’d definitely want to interview.

      1. Garrett*

        I think it would still be a good idea to have an informal conversation with the hiring manager just to discuss things that Allison mentioned like how the remote working will work (e.g., will you need to travel to the main office sometimes, computer equipment, mileage reimbursement).

        1. OP3*

          Yup, done, it was one of the first things I asked and was why I felt comfortable proceeding at all to even pursue it, as they’re very explicit with how the setup works in terms of what they do/don’t provide and what the expectations are.

  13. I Herd the Cats*

    #5 — does your small nonprofit have a board of directors or trustees? Do you have a relationship with them? They’re the boss of the boss, they’re interested in how the CEO is doing, and that this can translate into rewards (monetary and otherwise) for the CEO. Perhaps you could send an email or write a brief note, depending on what works in your organization.

    1. Ella*

      I was going to suggest this too. By all means, tell the boss all the ways in which she’s doing great! But also tell the people that she’s accountable to as well. They would appreciate knowing how things have changed in the organization since the change in leadership.

    2. Blue_eyes*

      This. Definitely tell the board of directors how well she is doing and give specific examples. Especially if they are thinking about hiring her into the role permanently, this could make a big difference.

  14. NYC Weez*

    OP#1: Something about having to hide such a big part of your life outside of work isn’t sitting right with me, but I also get the concerns Alison brings up about the judginess that so many people have when it comes to sex-related interests. Since your club is so large, are there any members who might suggest some more accepting workplaces in your area to apply to?

    1. NYC Weez*

      Also, thinking about it some more, can you frame your insights in a more forward facing fashion? Like “At Old Job, I noticed that when people formed teams, they didn’t consider (factors). So now, when I am trying to establish effective teams, I proactively do X, Y and Z to minimize the impact of those factors.”

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        That’s a good idea, to see if there are things you can talk about that you’ve learned without getting into where you learned them. Just like–“this would be my management style.”

        1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW1) Instead of saying “I started this sex club,” it makes sense to say “my skill set is X, and I’ve used it in a variety of settings.” I can concentrate on the hypothetical uses, not on the organization where I developed it. I think it will be easier to frame it this way and deflect questions if they get too close to the specifics of the group.

          1. Kiwi*

            Maybe. But as an interviewer, I wouldn’t let you away with hypotheticals. My interview questions are all pretty much “tell me about a time when …”

            Then again, I’d count your sex club as valid experience – impressive experience, in fact. Problem isn’t that everyone would hold it against you, problem is you don’t know who would.

  15. Once again anon for this today*

    *silliness on*
    At last we know The Other Side Of The Story! :-D
    (Namely of the infamous Duck Club thread already referenced below this thread’s letter. **quack**)
    *silliness off*

    Levity aside, I’ve been involved in clubs and, hm, play groups of an adult nature and with LGBT aspects – not political, but very explicit.
    I have to agree with AAM, it would be harmful to your application to try and and “sanitize” (as if the human body ever were dirty) and mention your organizing the club. It sucks, and I’m very sorry.
    I also have to be very very quiet about any and all of this at my job. Just being a woman in a tech job has triggered harassment – this stuff would trigger an avalanche.

    I hate I had to say this. :-(

    1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      (LW1) Yeah. This thread has really raised my awareness of #MeToo issues. I’ve been self employed for many years and am just reacclimating to corporate life.

  16. Parenthetically*

    Boy, I had a totally different reaction to #1 compared to a lot of folks, evidently! No, however well organized your sex life is, I’m really ok with living in a society where it’s more or less off the table as a discussion topic in a work setting.

        1. Anion*

          *raises hand* Also a prude, I guess. And every person I’ve ever known who did this sort of thing (swinging/clubs/etc.) also tended to talk about it/their particular needs and activities way more than I’d wish–which means, sorry to say, I would definitely view askance an applicant who mentioned this on their resume.

          What consenting adults do with each other is their own business, but it’s difficult (IMO) to have a hobby one is so involved in and also manage to keep it entirely out of one’s everyday conversation, especially with people with whom one is friendly. And, I guess, it’s rather like any echo chamber–you get so used to being around people who are happy to discuss physical acts openly, and who also spend much of their time planning their next act, that you forget other people are not in your chamber (no pun intended), and do not want to hear about it. This seems to be true no matter what the cause/hobby/outlook is–people who feel strongly that cakes are the best dessert in the world and spend much of their time running a large, many-membered (again, no pun intended) organization devoted to baking better cakes, for example, tend to talk about cakes or mention cakes even when they do not intend to, just because it’s such a big part of their lives.

          I’m not talking specifically about the LW here and do not mean to imply that he personally cannot refrain from mentioning this; I’m just saying that given the inability of the others I’ve known and their general personalities, I would need to be extremely impressed in order to not just go with a candidate who *hasn’t* brought up the ways they satisfy their baser urges during the application/interview process.

          1. attie*

            But that’s just a self-fulfilling stereotype. How would you know that the people who overshared about duck club were *all* the people you’ve known who were into duck club? Maybe you actually know three times as many duck club members, the others are just the soul of discretion and never mentioned it!

    1. TL -*

      yeah I’m pretty sex positive and I think I would still find this a little off-putting in my work life. Friends, roommates, siblings? Sure, if it’s important to you. But coworker? There are just some boundaries I don’t want crossed at work.

      1. Triumphant Fox*

        I do think this is pretty in line with other discussion we’ve had here. Wearing a collar to work? That’s going to be a no. Asking others to call your partner “master?” Striking out there too. There was a whole thing on Valentine’s Day about sending flowers to just women, and sending flowers to all women on Mother’s Day, and a big part of the group felt like signaling any real recognition/thought around women’s reproduction, sex life or romantic lives was just way too much. And that was just flowers – bringing up your organized sex club in an interview just seems so private. Even if you have lots of skills based on it, the context is immediately pulling the interviewer into a space that’s probably uncomfortable (even if they are very sexually open in their private lives – or perhaps more so, as they may wonder why you don’t have the same sensitivity about keeping those details private).

    2. Purplesaurus*

      OP isn’t asking to share details about his actual sex life, but about his organizational/leadership work within that field. Very different things, though I agree the subject itself is taboo enough for many people (evidently) to not bring it up.

      1. Parenthetically*

        Well, no, he’s not asking if it’s ok to share about his sex life, but I wouldn’t say the organizational details are at all separable from the topic of sex in this case.

      2. Temperance*

        I think the two are so closely intertwined that it’s not really possible to split them up. Even if he was just merely an organizer because he loved organizing, it would give rise to the question about why this club/org.

      3. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

        (LW1) Purplesaurus: thank you for making that distinction. You are correct. I have no interest in sharing anything about my sex life with my co-workers. Nor do I want to know anything about theirs. Nor, frankly, do I want to know about a lot of the things people talk about at work. I’m at work to earn money and build a business. I’ve developed relevant skills, there just doesn’t seem to be a way to talk about them without discussing where I developed them.

        1. MassMatt*

          The tricky part seems to me more in the resume/interview stage than in talking at work. When someone’s looking to hire they want evidence that you’ve done XYZ vs: just saying you can do it.

          Once you’re hired you can do things or volunteer for projects and be vague about where you acquired the skills, all people care about is the results, it makes no difference if you have 10 years experience or you’re just a savant.

        2. Millennial Lawyer*

          OP, that’s the issue – you have no interest in sharing anything about your sex-life with coworkers, but if you brought it up in an interview, it IS the kind of thing that would get around – potentially to other companies even if you do not get the job.

        3. CutUp*

          There’s no way for you to bring up this club and not (implicitly) state your sexual preferences and practices

    3. WellRed*

      Yeah, no. And while I can also see the practicality of finding a job connection through the group, on the other hand, there’s just stuff you don’t want to KNOW about someone you hire or recommend or what have you.

      1. Tyche*

        If I were a participant in this group and a manager somewhere, I think I would be wary about offering a job to LW. As I would be wary to offer it to a lover or a spouse.

        Mixing a participation in a sex group with work life could be a very dangerous thing, especially if things go wrong in the future.

    4. Penny Lane*

      I’m ok with living in such a society too. Have fun and I’m glad you are all staying safe, but no, I don’t want to hear about it.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I have a friend who has in the past belonged to, and at one point was, I believe, a co-organizer of a club or clubs such as #1 describes. The friend used to send me really verbose descriptions of the parties they’d attended. (I ran the word count on friend’s messages and it was usually approaching 2000.) I’ve got to say that experiencing these things in person, or organizing them, must be way more exciting than reading about them in a detailed as hell email. It used to kind of squick me out. And I really hope I’m not too much of a prude! And that was a personal friend, not a coworker. So, yeah.

        1. Parenthetically*


          (I think much of my horror is directed at the word count, honestly — I don’t think I want to read a 2000-word description of anything I’m very much not interested/involved in, not just if it’s about sex.)

        2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW1) I am fastidious about wording sex club communication in such a way that it would be 100% SFW. Once or twice I’ve included an explicit sentence or two, but generally the raciest thing I’ve said is “At our last meeting, one of our attendees was finally able to try something they’ve wanted to do for a long time and we were able to provide the opportunity.” I was peppered with private emails from members asking what the “something” was. Those, I answered privately. But in the email that went out to everyone, everything really is squeaky clean. (Quack?)

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      I look at all the #metoo about sexual harassment in the workplace right now, and I’m pretty sure wanting to talk about your experiences in sex club would fall under that. Or that any number of people now under justified fire would try to play the card “I’m just sex positive!” or “I’m not prudish about sex!”

      1. Decima Dewey*

        I’m with you. I’m equally uninterested in gay ex-boss’s sex life, and the possibility that straight ex-boss and his wife regularly dress up as Batman and Batgirl in the bedroom.

        1. Anion*

          Batgirl dated Nightwing, not Batman (despite Brian Azzarello’s weird attempt to shoehorn that into the Killing Joke movie). You’re looking for Talia al’Ghul or Catwoman.

          1. no1curr*

            perfect example of something nobody outside the core group cares about. Batman and Batgirl was just an example.

    6. Lynca*

      You’re not an outlier. I’m perfectly okay with never knowing about this sort of thing from a co-worker, report, etc. I like to keep very professional boundaries at work.

    7. BananaPants*

      Me too. Sex has literally nothing to do with our business, and someone who brought up their sex club organizational skills in an interview would be viewed as wildly inappropriate.

      I don’t care what people do or who they do it with in their spare time, but I don’t want to hear about it at work.

    8. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      (LW1) I don’t want to discuss sex. I have no intention of discussing sex with co-workers or those who hire me. I want to discuss the challenges in building a 400-person group, creating the logistics and processes needed to register people, to coordinate complex events where people do and don’t show up, etc.

      I don’t know where anyone got the impression I wanted to discuss sex or my sex life with co-workers. I apparently failed in my original post to make it clear: the fact that this is a sex club is largely irrelevant to the skills that they’ve required me to develop. I never said I wanted to discuss sex or my sex life. I want to discuss management and organizational development. Is there any way to showcase those skills /without/ having to discuss the fact that I developed them in the sex club context?

      1. Parenthetically*

        I don’t you’re trying to find a way to let your proverbial freak flag fly in the office. But no, I do not see a way to discuss this without it being on the topic of a thing I do not want to know about with regards to my coworkers.

        1. a1*

          While I agree he should not talk about this in the interview or be on a resume or any part of the job search, I don’t know how talking about managing a large club, even a sex club, would mean talking about *his* sex life. It’s not like he’d be talking about how he makes sure each event has people that would click with each other and then suddenly throw in something like “because I like to do X with my partners”. He’d be talking his process of matching people and events. And again, I agree this shouldn’t be referenced in the job search, unfortunately, but this just seems like a big leap to say discussing management/organization process = discussing details of his sex life.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s not that he’d be explicitly discussing his sex life. It’s that it’s going to be clear that he’s a participant in said club, with all that implies.

      2. Going Anon for REASONS*

        Going anonymous for this one.

        I can totally relate.

        I had a successful side business with adult activities. Wasn’t anything illegal. But I made a decent chunk of change. I wasn’t going to get rich off it but it was definitely enough to cover bills. I had a steady following and was able to cultivate an online presence. It was an insane amount of work. And it wasn’t on the same level as what you’re doing.

        I’ve tried to figure out a way to touch on those skills I learned and developed. But there is no way I could bring it up in interviews. Which sucks.

        1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          (LW1) Running sex club has opened the door for me to have a certain number of conversations about adult topics in my social life. I’ve been astonished at how many people people have adult side activities. One member of my social circle actually makes their real living as a webcam model, making about four times as much money modeling as in their normal 9-5 day job. I was floored. I’d love to swap stories but I have no idea how to establish a private message link through an anonymous public bulletin board. Hope you found a way to bring your skills to work and have them turn into career advancement for you.

      3. ZTwo*

        I think the fact that so many people here see it as discussing sex or think it means that you would want to is a good data point–regardless of how work-oriented you make the conversation, it’s going to read as “sex talk” to some people.

    9. Bea*

      I flinched and was truly upset to start my morning off reading about it. It’s like the woman demanding everyone call her dude “master”. I’m not down with playing openly talking about your sex life as ever work appropriate.

        1. CityMouse*

          But the problem is, your organizational skills are so involved in the sexual preferences and activities of others that that noise will drown out the signal. You may talk about your great skills but what people will likely take away is “I work with a sex club”. There’s a chance your interviewer won’t be phased and get your point, but it would be a.minority of people and you just don’t want to take that chance.

          1. Squeeble*

            Right, it seems that OP understood that and that’s why he wrote in, to see if there was any way around it (which it seems there isn’t).

            1. VelociraptorAttack*

              Based on OP’s responses in this particular thread, it really doesn’t seem like they do understand it.

              1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

                (LW1) I certainly understand that it’s a contentious issue. I wrote in to learn how contentious. The answer is, very. And it’s also clear that some people will see the word “sex” and they stop there. Any attempt to shift the discussion to organizational skills or challenges would be ignored.

                I am rather concerned that Bea only had to read the words “sex club” and get truly upset. Especially since much of my experience with sex club has been helping people get comfortable even admitting they have a sexual side, that’s exactly the opposite of the effect I want to have.

                Ergo, no mention of sex club in job interviews. The words alone are triggers for too many people.

      1. Anony*

        Wait, you were truly upset to read a post that mentions the existence of a sex club? I’m surprised to hear that, since the post wasn’t explicit in the least.

        I think it’s a completely legitimate question, and sounds like great management and organizational experience. I agree with the majority that there’s no way to bring it up in an interview, aside from MAYBE a highly sanitized version, but I’m confused by the consternation over the question itself.

        1. CutUp*

          You’re surprised that people have strong emotional reactions to being told about other people’s sexual experiences? This could be super triggering for a lot of people, actually. I’m genuinely surprised that there have been comments to that effect.

          1. Penny Lane*

            It is a little whiplash-inducing when on one hand the #metoo movement (which has excellent objectives, certainly) has been co-opted by some extremists that even the most subtle of innuendos or double-entendres or banter in the workplace is portrayed as being at the same despicable, must-be-stamped-out-immediately level as “sleep with me or you won’t get promoted” … and then on the other hand, why can’t we talk about our experiencing managing sex clubs on interviews, what’s the matter, are you all prudes.

            1. Purplesaurus*

              Wait, where did anyone call someone else a prude? I don’t think that happened. (And it’s possible I’m misunderstanding the intent of your comment.)

            2. CutUp*

              Hm, that’s not what I meant at all. I was trying to point out that talk about sex in the workplace (from what OP describes to what you describe as harmless innuendos to extreme sexual harrassment) is ALWAYS a bad idea since a. It’s not generally relevant; b. It makes people uncomfortable and c. It can be really emotionally distressing in unexpected ways. The most important part is that there’s no upside to bringing it up but lots of downside, so I’m with all commentators who say just don’t do it. Including innuendos and banter.

    10. Natalie*

      I feel like I’m missing something here, since there are few to no comments suggesting anything contrary to that? At most some people have given a sympathetic “that sucks”, which isn’t quite the same thing as suggesting it should change.

      1. Lissa*

        Yeah, I’m not sure why the OP of this thread thinks their reaction is so different. All the reactions seem to be somewhere along the “not a good idea” scale, from “NOPE” to “the club sounds cool but sadly no way to mention it at work.” …

  17. Helpful*

    #1, it sounds like you could legitimately turn this into a business. Maybe a side hustle at first (no pun intended) but it sounds like there is money to be made.

    1. boop the first*

      You mean OP should just be a pimp? Well okay, that would certainly add some flair to the resume.

        1. WellRed*

          Yeah, I’m kind of surprised he doesn’t already charge for membership, but what do I know about sex clubs?

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          I imagine it’s difficult to draw the line at what parts you could charge for without turning it into something less-than-legal.

        3. CM*

          I was thinking this too — it seems like OP#1 is providing a valuable service. Above, OP#1 commented that he can’t make money off it because it’s not “above board,” but paying for membership in an organization seems above board to me.

          1. MK*

            If the membership grants you access to sexual partners, it might be as illegal as prostitution usually is, or run afoul of related laws. Or some over-jealous procecutor might try to argue that it is so. Not to mention that you might be suspected of procuring under the cover of a membership fee.

            Depending on the jurisdiction, this could be very dangerous for the OP.

          2. Temperance*

            Except you aren’t paying membership fees solely to be a member, you’re paying to get access to sexual partners. That’s where it becomes seedy/unseemly.

                1. SallytooShort*

                  Sex clubs are not automatic sex clubs either. It’s all based around consent. You aren’t guaranteed anything.

              1. SarahTheEntwife*

                Granted I’ve never actually been to a nightclub, but I had been under the impression that actually having sex in the club was generally frowned upon.

              2. MK*

                No, it isn’t. The nightclub isn’t offering you access to people who are specifically there to have sex with you.

                Unrelated, where I am from cover charges are deducted from the overall bill; it’s basically a minimum consumption charge. I assume it’s not always the case.

                1. SallytooShort*

                  Neither are sex clubs. If someone doesn’t want to have sex with you they don’t. Unlike prostitution.

                  And it is why people go to nightclubs.

                  Also, it was clearly a joke.

                2. bonkerballs*

                  I’ve never been anywhere where a cover charge was deducted from my bill. They were two separate charges.

        4. Oh SO anonymous*

          The parties I’ve been to have actually required a fee to attend, mostly for overhead, there’s often food offered, sodas/non-alcoholic beverages, plus keeping the lights on, etc. It’s for access to the party, it’s not selling sex.

    2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      I’ve looked into this. When you’re charging money, you suddenly become subject to health regulations, zoning, possible accusations of prostitution, etc. There is probably a way to thread the legal maze (there are plenty of legal sex clubs around the country, after all) but it’s not my career aspiration.

      1. MassMatt*

        There was a big case years ago in my area where a club meeting regularly that charged a nominal fee covering costs was busted by the police, and the cover charge used to justify charges of prostitution. It was a gay club so police homophobia was definitely a factor but it just goes to show there can be major legal risks in dealing w/ such clubs where any money is involved.

        1. Natalie*

          Right, even if you successfully fight the charges, it’s still a huge strain, from stress, expense, time, and possibly reputation. It seems completely reasonable to just want to avoid the whole issue.

        2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

          MassMatt, this is the first I’ve heard of something like that. Is there any way to get more details somehow? If I’m opening myself to a problem like that, I may reconsider sex club altogether.

    3. Lil Fidget*

      I think the confusion around this is one of the reasons OP can’t really bring it up in his interviews – the average employer is going to wonder if this is illegal or skating legality, and that’s not a big selling point (I mean, people said this about fanfiction, for God’s sake).

  18. theletter*

    #1 -I’ve noticed that people who build management skills from their hobbies tend to quickly apply them everywhere in their life. I think if you take on small management projects in your current workspace, such as a bake sale or a new initiative, they’ll see you have ‘management potential’ pretty quickly and give you more responsibility. Or you could plan a large group trip that’s not associated with your club and use that as an example – or maybe there’s some local STD awareness/body positivity education group that could use you in some capacity. Even being present at a conference booth could demonstrate your ability to organize and communicate responsibly.

    You could also pick up some leadership self-help books and just say that you’ve been reading up on managing people and organizations and find that it appeals to you.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I think this is wise, and echoes something from Akcip(?) upthread: that a skill from a hobby only goes on your resume when you can’t claim it from anything at work. As soon as you could point to paid work experience that demonstrated that skill, the larp or fanfic or whatever would go off the list of ways you’d demonstrated that skill unless you were in a conversation where it would be both natural and positive to bring it up.

    2. SallytooShort*

      Yes, I think this applies to the bridesmaid letter and the D&D letter and the fanfiction letter and to this one.

      No, you probably can’t use it to market yourself on your resume. But it doesn’t mean any of it is wasted. You can use those skills in your career. And get acknowledgement for them through work. And, overall, they have had positive impact on your character.

    3. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      (LW1) I read lots of management books. That’s where I started picking up the skills to grow the organization. I think that it’s a somewhat softer sell, but I can talk about the skills and say I’m just learning to apply them from the books I’ve read.

      1. Kaybee*

        I just want to say that I appreciate that you’re taking the time/energy to respond to the comments, and I’m impressed with the thought you’re putting into your responses (especially on the physical health and body types thread) and that you clearly put in your work. Fwiw, based on this, I wish my work would hire you.

  19. CM*

    #1: I think Alison is probably right, but if you REALLY want to bring it up maybe you could think of a discreet way to describe it (“sexual health?” or just “meet new people?” but then you might have to come up with an example), and if you need a reference, you could prearrange to have someone you trust talk about your role without giving specifics about the activities.

    #3: I would say you don’t need an interview, but would like to have an informal conversation so you can catch up on what’s been happening in the organization and what they expect from this role. Which is basically an interview, but I’m worried that if you use the word “interview” they will assume that it should be a competitive process and they should also interview other people.

    #5: Writing a card and having everyone sign it would be a lovely gesture. I would focus on how morale has improved and how you’ve noticed a positive change since she took charge — in other words, “thank you” rather than “good job” (which can seem condescending coming from someone who’s reporting to you).

    1. OP3*

      Good point on accidentally starting a competitive process of “interviewing”, similar to what Alison said! I was definitely thinking this is all in my favor right now and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that.

  20. Lunch Meat*

    Do you think you could describe the sex club as some kind of a support group where it’s expected that there’s a very high level of confidentiality so no details and no references? But you could still talk about your administrative skills and your ability to get groups to mesh comfortably.

    1. Temperance*

      I think I would find it weirder in an interview that someone mentioned running a support group, but wouldn’t give any details or even a basic overview because “confidentiality”.

      1. fposte*

        Yes. It’s so clearly bogus as a statement that it would make me think the club was either pretend or illegal.

        1. Turtle Candle*

          The problem is, if it was AA most people would say AA; the confidentiality applies to naming members and recounting what they say, not to the org itself. So that would still seem super weird to me.

    2. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      (LW1) Maybe … A friend of mine runs a support group for people with bipolar disorder. He’s not a therapist. He has bipolar and formed this group as a peer-support group. When people ask, he can say “it’s a confidential group to help people with certain mental health challenges that I prefer not to discuss” and people generally respect that.

      1. Goya de la Mancha*

        I feel like that statement is definitely OK in a social setting and the rational human would understand, but for some reason, it feels like “they’re hiding something” in an interview setting.

  21. Helpful*

    #3, I think it would be valuable to have an in-depth convo with your future manager and team. People determine the culture, and it’s likely there are many new people on the team. You’d be able to better assess your culture fit. Presumably you know all about the job, but you don’t know how the manager manages remotely (that’s a big deal) and also the feel of the team. If your coworkers stink, you’re not going to be very happy even with a job you think you like. At a minimum, I’d want to connect with them and get a feel for them. Best of luck to you.

    1. Solo*

      +1. Besides the question of fit, I’d want to be able to ask questions about how they manage remote workers, what portion of the workforce will be remote, and how often you’ll be expected/able to visit the home office or whether there are any in-person teambuilding events. Working remotely adds a lot of different interpersonal challenges to work, and being the guinea pig for a new remote work initiative has the potential to be… difficult.

      1. OP3*

        The good news is they’ve had set remote work policies for a couple years now so things like requirements for traveling to the office once a year are set as is their consideration of teambuilding events. They’ve also built a culture that others on the team as well as clients know that some people are remote and are used to it and they have the technology to support it. All that said, these suggestions made me think I should ask to talk to a current remote worker who also used to work there in person and then left before returning remotely, so someone similar to me who can tell me what it’s really like, both the remote aspect as well as what the current team is like.

  22. Tara*

    #2: I think the answer would be exactly the opposite for me IF the candidate themselves hadn’t sent an argumentative email. I would definitely want to know if my parents were interfering in my job search like that. However, I think there’s enough evidence here that they likely know their parents are interfering, may have asked their parents to do so, and regardless may not respond well to being told. I agree with everyone else: Don’t tell them.

  23. thesoundofmusic*

    #1 I understand why you would be interested in sharing this experience, but agree that you should not, for a number of reasons. People can’t get past the “industry” to look at the skills–and if you are too secretive, they think it is something immoral or illegal. For example, I am really involved in a recovery group. I do a lot of public speaking before big audiences. I organize meetings, I handle finances, I take meeting minutes, I keep phone lists updated—all that stuff. It’s stuff that is quite relevant to many jobs I might be interested in, but I know that most people–if they were able to figure out what the group was—would have a lot of judgment about it. I’ve seen it happen to those who choose to discuss their group membership publicly. I don’t want that label.

    1. UnexpectedEntrepreneur*

      (LW1) I just typed a comment above that a friend of mine runs a support group for people with bipolar. He’s managed to be coy about it and get people to respect that. But I don’t know that bipolar has the same stimga as drug/alcohol recovery. Both recovery and sex club can be moral issues for people.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        I think it’s more likely that the ADA comes into play there — ie, that interviewers are extremely tightly constrained on what they can ask when the mental health aspect is mentioned, so they don’t ask followups the way they might for another type of org.

  24. Fergus Formerly Known as the Artist Fergus*

    #2 send an email why the baby didn’t get the job in baby talk. Since he obvious isn’t an adult. I wonder in what context the CEO informed the hiring manager.

    1. K.*

      I know a few people who work in higher ed career services and they all talk about how parents of alums (alums, so people who are adults in every sense of the word) will call them all angry that their adult child doesn’t have a job and why aren’t you doing more to help them? One person told me she got a call from a parent who was pretending to be the kid. Whenever I hear about parental interference like that, I think to myself that I would die of shame and be livid if my parents ever interfered with my business like that (which they wouldn’t).

      1. Anion*

        Response?! What did you say?

        (Not asking for details you feel uncomfortable sharing, of course, but even just a generality would be helpful/interesting, if you’re willing.)

  25. MsChanandlerBong*

    Re: #2 The idea of parental interference is so foreign to me. My parents went too far in the opposite direction by having me handle everything on my own even when it was way above my head. Sure, I am now good at handling my own affairs and have never thought it necessary to ask one of my parents to get involved in the job-search process, but boy, it would have been nice to have a little backup when I was between the ages of around 16 and 20.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*


      My first time car shopping, my ex-father insisted on accompanying me, but then stood back with his arms crossed, saying nothing, while I tried to navigate my way through the process of buying a used car with very little clue what I was doing. Unsurprisingly, I wound up hideously overcharged for a total lemon that wound up costing almost as much in repairs as the already-ridiculous price I paid in the first place.

      It’s been 9 years and I have a much better car now, but I’m still super bitter about it. Especially since he refused to help me at all with all those repair bills.

    2. Susana*

      There’s backup and then there’s interference. Backup is helping your child prepare for an interview. Interference is contacting an employer or potential employer of your kid. I’d be inclined to reject a candidate who’s parent called about the job, argued with me, or really got involved in any way – at least, unless the job candidate was appropriately mortified by it. I’d worry that the applicant was incapable of doing the job independently.

    3. Too close to home*

      It’s hard to feel bad for this particular candidate, who behaved badly. But I had very…boundary-less parents, who did some things I found out about and other stuff I probably never learned about. Some of their ideas were undoubtedly based in their cultural traditions. These don’t always translate well to the U.S.

      People made assumptions about me based on my parents’ behavior. Even harder for me was that growing up with them shaped my ideas of what was normal, and it took a lot of work to first identify it as unhealthy and then counteract it.

      I’d say that for someone, like a job candidate, to be able to be “mortified” by their parents’ poor behavior, they’d have to be notified of it. They’d also then have to have the perspective that allows them to see *perhaps their entire upbringing* as inappropriate. And then, they might have to overcome serious programming to be able to denounce their parents’ behavior to an outsider. I will be honest—this last thing was the Line I Never Crossed. And I moved across the world, married outside my race, and chose a completely different profession from any my parents deemed appropriate.

      Again, I don’t think this LW is describing a very sympathetic candidate, but I just thought I’d share this since it seems very different from many commenters’ experiences.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Thank you! Sharing different experiences is part of what helps make the comment section so valuable and interesting.

  26. CityMouse*

    For OP3, I really think declining the interview could cost you the job. 7 years is a really really long time and doing an interview is a pretty normal part of hiring. I would personally consider it a red.flag if someone refused to do a normal hiring process and then still expected the job. Companies will go after rising stars all the time, but an interview is still part of that process. There may also be policy reasons they need to do an interview and you refusing could cause huge headaches. I just can’t see any benefit to declining the interview.

      1. CityMouse*

        Ah I misread it because they mentioned posting the job. If they do post the job and do other interviews, OP should definitely interview, though.

  27. Guitar Hero*

    LW1: This is what sealed the deal for me: “if this were an activity that could be done above board, I would be trying to turn it into an actual business”

    I don’t think you want to suggest you might be involved with something that could entail money changing hands in exchange for sex (unless you’re in a place where this is totally legal!).

    I definitely don’t think that’s what you’re doing, but still… you don’t want to open yourself up to that kind of scrutiny or suspicion, especially in today’s highly charged climate. Nor would you want to risk your members being outed by people digging for dirt. That’s not fair to them either.

  28. AKchic*

    Hi #1! I’ve found that when I have to discuss my *ahem* relevant experience that pertains to my “NSFW adult activities”, I reference it as a Personal Interest Group. That is exactly what it is. If anyone wants to question you on the exact nature, you can demure and say that people get embarrassed about it, because there are some misconceptions and inevitable D&D/cosplay accusations thrown out and some people get miffed.

    Focus on the work-related portions.
    You facilitated administrative systems where there previously were none. You streamlined enrollments, registrations, team compatibilities, facilitated cohesive team bonding skills, etc.

    People who have experience with gaming have this issue too. I do understand your quandary. I’ve been there. I know others who have been there.

  29. Liz2*

    As someone who also has TONS of experience organizing events, volunteering, coordinating, sitting on boards…except it’s all on the alt world, I greatly sympathize. You really have to just be OUT and make it your profession, or accept the limitations.
    Yes, it sucks that Jane gets to brag about her garden club potlucks while I can’t mention running a weekend long event with out of state presenters, vendors, multiple locations, etc. and earned 7k PROFIT…but I know I still did it!

  30. Canto Bight*

    I’m a little surprised by the answer to #4! I guess I don’t see that much of a difference between an e-mail asking to talk “if you’re a strong match” and an e-mail just asking to talk.

    I get these kinds of networking requests occasionally when someone I know from other parts of my industry (or someone they know) is applying to my current workplace, and don’t generally find them annoying. I never thought any of them were trying to circumvent the actual application process, just get a foot in the door and stand out in an appropriate (non-framed-photo-of-themselves-in-a-fruit-basket) way. They usually end up asking the kinds of questions they might repeat later in the interview (what’s a typical day like? what do you like and dislike about the job? what are the professional development opportunities?), but if I have the time and they get some value out of it I don’t mind.

  31. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Related question to #1:

    If someone has a paid or unpaid role in the queer community that’s not necessarily sexual, how and when can that go on a resume? I mean like if you were a moderator for an area online group (a sane one, not the main one for my area where the mods are so progressive it almost circles around to…the other side), or volunteered at a youth shelter, clinic, or health education org.

    1. AKchic*

      You can leave certain information out, or gloss over certain information.

      You were a moderator/administrator of an online forum specializing in community interests, politics, sociopolitics, and support. Of course, you can always tailor that to your audience. Some jobs will actually look positively on someone moderating/admining a LGBTQIA forum. Others, not so much (hence the song and dance around the actual group itself).

    2. Galatea*

      Honestly? If it wasn’t literally, explicitly a sex club or equivalent, exactly the same way I’d put any sort of paid or unpaid role. I wouldn’t shy away from saying I was hired by, say, the NAACP; why would I shy away from saying I worked for the Trevor Project? I would probably either leave off (or heavily vague up) being the admin of a fanfic forum; same with being admin of an online LGBT group.

      That being said I’m also, you know, visibly gay and with enough skills and bad experiences with workplace homophobia I’m willing to be choosy with where I work. So.

    3. Penny Lane*

      I think a paid or unpaid role in the LGBTQIA community is perfectly fine, and I wouldn’t shy away from anyone who had it on their resume. Indeed, I’d think positively of them, because that can be viewed as a brave step (depending on your background) and because many of those organizations do a lot of great work helping people who are otherwise underserved. I think there is *no* comparison between an LGBTQIA community service / board of directors position and a swingers / sex club.

      I was involved in a project which wound up helping give the organization I link to below a huge grant; I wouldn’t think twice if someone said they were on the board of directors or volunteered heavily or whatever with a group like this.

    4. Nonsenical*

      Moderating a forum isn’t something you should mention on your resume or an interview. It is not a particularly strong skill to mention and there are other things that would be far more worthwhile. For the record, I was an admin on a large online political game for 3 years and also help run an alliance of at least 300 people. I learned many transferable skills but I still would never mention it in a job interview. It simply looks weak and you’d be better off mentioning something people wouldn’t have mixed feelings about.

      1. Moderation Management*

        I am actually a manager of a team of professional moderators and we look very favorably on people who have volunteer experience in the field! Paid experience is even better but volunteering is a good start especially for entry-level roles.

        (Going anon for this comment because it makes my work too recognizable but I’m a regular here).

    5. Anion*

      I think Alsion has said before that modding an online group really isn’t resume-worthy, but I could be wrong there. I don’t think there’s any reason not to mention volunteering at a shelter/clinic/health education org., whether it’s for LGBT or not.

      And funnily enough, I ended up where I am (as far as politics/viewpoints etc.) because I became “so progressive that I circled around,” at least to some degree; this was some time ago, though, and progressivism hadn’t gone to the extremes of advocating segregation and/or eliminating consent laws and/or such then (in other words, I never held those types of views).

      While I don’t know specifically what sort of views you’re discussing when you say they’re “so progressive it almost circles around to…the other side,” (I’m actually genuinely curious there), saying “…the other side” makes it sound like anyone not on the far left is some sort of evil cultist, like people who aren’t “progressive” should be spoken of only in hushed tones lest they somehow materialize before you and start biting off heads. Contrasting that with “sane” is kind of…extreme, as well, isn’t it? I mean, depending on which views they are actually espousing.

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

        It’s mainly that those community members do seem to be advocating segregation and generally talk about and defend POC members to such an extent that it’s literally hard to find housing on there if you’re white; people advertising there specify minority only or practice really strong affirmative action for most housing posts. And if a minority member is mean or lashes out, you get huge backlash to say, “that is rude/bad.” The moderators seem to have this idea that minorities can’t do wrong.

        I got kicked out of that group because I got mad at them for kicking a friend who uses it to find odd jobs (most of her income) for a minor faux pas over time policing. No slurs or racist action or violence. And I also told a moderator, who was black and failed to tip a struggling independent hairstylist, that they ought to have done that. They came back with some privilege argument, while I said, race regardless, people can still do bad things, and I’m not automatically terrible and you’re not automatically awesome because of privilege. Then the person who kicked me yelled at me for talking over minorities by saying that and called me a privileged hateful mayo person.

        What a mess.

        1. Anion*


          Yeah, there’s no sanity there; that’s just plain hateful bigotry. I’m sorry that you had to deal with that. much less that you dealt with it in a place that should have been welcoming and helpful to everyone. And I see now what you mean by “the other side,” as well, I believe; you’re not talking about regular libertarians or conservatives, but of the racist/bigoted minority (and honestly, large portions of “the right” these days are made up of people fleeing from attitudes like those; lots of us feel like the left left us behind, so to speak, and are a lot closer to “classical liberalism” than to the far right. So it *is* a minority, and we’re as ashamed of it as you are of people like the ones of which you’re speaking). It’s awful how these extremists ruin things for the rest of us, isn’t it? I’m sorry I misread/misunderstood.

          I really hope you’ve found whatever help you may have needed (meaning housing, etc.) from that group elsewhere, and I’m very glad you’ve found a better place to hang out. No one should be spoken to the way you were, and it’s especially upsetting/infuriating when you’re getting that kind of backlash just for speaking the actual, universal truth (all people are capable of bad things as well as good) that until a short while ago was recognized as such. Anyway. Glad you’re in a better group now, and I’m sure you’re helping lots of people who need it so I applaud and thank you.

  32. Mrs. Fenris*

    #5-I once had a coworker who was horribly toxic to the whole company. She and I were peers; there were five of us in an upper-level position.. It got to the point that, no lie, all three of the others told me separately that if she stayed, they were probably going to quit. My boss surprised us all by firing her…boss had really high hopes for this person and didn’t really want to hear the complaints at first. I knew this was a hard decision for boss, so I hesitantly sent her an email thanking her. I didn’t know how it was going to be received. I got back a single line: “That means more to me than you will ever know.” Aww. :-)

  33. Jake*

    To follow up to #1, if this was a more mundane club, how much stock would an employer actually put in the management of a club?

  34. Triple Anon*

    #1 – Even if you’re really vague about it, they could search online until they get the details. Really, it’s a catch-22. If you make it sound impressive but don’t give them much info about the type of club, it might pique their interest enough that they’d do a thorough Google until they found something. So you can’t mention it . . .

    On the other hand, there is a way around all of that. And that is to look for a job where at least some of the people would be cool with it. And that can be done either by networking outside of work within the community (maybe someone who knows what a great job you did also knows someone in your industry?) or by letting employers screen themselves out (ie, being vague, expecting them to Google and find the truth, and expecting that some will be ok with it). I have heard of analogous situations where this worked out for people. But if you’re in a geographic area or a field where it would be really scandalous if word got out, I wouldn’t mention it.

    #2 – What if the parent sent the argumentative follow up email, using the applicant’s account? Maybe I’m being paranoid, but it’s possible.

  35. Stranger than fiction*

    Re: #2, I think it’s high time for a public service announcement to all parents of recent college grads (or young adults in general). Alison could word it much better than I can, but something to the effect of “job hunting aint what it used to be…knock it the f off”.

  36. Secretary*

    I’m not sure if this has been said, but Alison I think an interview would be really interesting with the OP who ran a sex club. If you’re still interviewing interesting jobs, that is an interview I would be very interested in reading!

  37. Catabodua*

    I think I’ve told this story here before but we made an offer to a candidate, his mother called and argued that we were low-balling him (we were not, it was an entry level job) and that if we didn’t raise the starting salary by $25k he couldn’t possibly accept the job. I told the mom if he would like to call I’ll discuss it with him, but the offer wasn’t going to change. We all felt like we dodged a bullet with that one.

    Several months later the mom called us back to ask if the job was still open and could he accept it now. Again, her, never heard from him. We said no and realized that she must have pulled that nonsense multiple times and it took her that long to realize that the starting salary she thought he should be getting wasn’t going to happen.

  38. Kate the Little Teapot*

    Hi OP #1 – I worked in youth sexual health education which is probably the most wholesome sexytimes thing you can be doing. I needed to change this to “health education” in order to get a job and also take out any direct or indirect reference to sex or STDs even in my STAR examples – I started saying “a condition”. The entire organization subsequently changed their name to remove the references to sex, because they couldn’t get funding with it in their name either. As a result, I passed up a job building a dating site with a sexy angle. Don’t mention sex. Seriously.

Comments are closed.