Would you have considered taking the programming job? Why or why not?
Interesting question, both on its face, and in the way you asked it. Let's try a quick sketch of the issues:
- Legality (always relevant regardless of industry, some 'reputable' firms have malfeasance too)
- Stigma based on the "sleaze factor" (what will my family think)
- Stigma based on peers (what do other techies think)
- Personal / Professional development (what's it really like there?)
You could lay out the issues and be deliberate and calculating (e.g., Legality is not a problem as long as the firm 'appears' reputable .. in which case you wouldn't work in 'porn' but you would go to work for a company like Enron .. for example). In the final analysis, it's probably a question of your own personal ultimate values (aka no one can really answer it for you) (except perhaps, "what is it like working there") but even that varies depending on the specific people/culture at the location you will be working. Even within a single company it varies.
Bottom line: it's probably not good to automatically stigmatize someone based on their industry, just like its probably not good to discriminate against someone based on what neighborhood they live in. It's easy to turn your nose up at the "porn" and yet how many of us have "prostituted" our intellect, abilities, time and values to 'fit in' elsewhere? Does it change the propriety just because it is "illegal" in some places and not in others?
Best wishes to you in your employment endeavors, *and* in your moral and ethical status as well.
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