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Smut in the Workplace

Joan Jerkovich - August 30, 2014 10:26 am

You know who you are. Your day at the office starts with logging on to the company web server. You do a quick check of your emails then think a quick look at the breaking news and trending topics for today won’t take but a couple minutes of your time. You’re tempted. Always. And the desktop file labeled “Misc. Stuff” is calling to you. At least you knew better than to label it “Misc. Smut”. Because smut it is. It’s a folder of your personal favorites.

Why not take a quick peak? No one’s around? Your office door is open, and you knew well enough to face your computer screen toward the wall where only you can see it. And, it was a real “save” that you thought to move the glass-framed picture to the opposite wall, so as not to create a reflection for others to see your computer screen as they walk by. You pat yourself on the back for that one. You’re so clever and smart. Of course. That’s how you got your promotion.

A quick peak at your favorite smut on your desktop computer now, then back to work, and before long you’ll really get to enjoy a few minutes of sexual arousal in the men’s bathroom. The smartphones are nice, but the iPads and mobile tablets have a larger screen. More pixels to feed the arousal that you hate to admit has probably reached the level of a sex addiction.

Pornography in the workplace is on the rise and raises concerns on many levels. Companies fear getting entangled in issues of sexual harassment. It raises concerns over the legalities of investigating employees who are suspicioned to be viewing pornography, or who might be viewing illegal pornography on work computers. Questions over the personal privacy rights of employees are raised. It decreases employee productivity. Porn sites are known to carry computer viruses, and these can invade not only the functionality of the company systems but can also create security breaches.

In 2010, the Boston Globe broke the story that senior staff at the Pentagon were using work computers to view child pornography. A potential threat to our national security.

An issue not often discussed where smut in the workplace is concerned, is the climate it creates for objectifying women. Mary Anne Layden, a professor and director of education at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania was quoted as saying, “Some businesses are aware of (sexual harassment) lawsuits, and they don’t want a loss of productivity. But I’m not sure that I hear business people saying, Oh my gosh, this is toxic material that is damaging our employees, male and female, and destroying our society, and I shouldn’t participate in the destruction of our own society. I don’t hear that, which sort of troubles me.”

It troubles this writer as well.

Ms. Layden, who is also affiliated with the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program and Social Action Committee for Women’s Psychological Health said that a statement she often hears from male perpetrators of sexual violence is that “women exist only to arouse me.” She further states, “That belief is a core belief that fuels sexual violence. It’s fueled by all this pornography that is completely pervasive and inundating on the Internet. It is damaging at every level. Every level of business is damaged by this message and by the use of that material on the job.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

To hear more of my commentary on this topic, listen to the podcast and my caller:  Pornography at Work; Stimulation Junkie Views Porn at Work; What Draws People to Porn?

Information for this blog was taken from the article, “Pornography problems at work harm companies, co-workers” by Sara-Israelsen-Hartley.

Joan Jerkovich, BCC Board Certified Life Coach

Joan Jerkovich, BCC
Board Certified Life Coach

 
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