Porn @ Work: Exposing the Office's #1 Addiction

Porn @ Work: Exposing the Office's #1 Addiction

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by Michael Leahy
     
 

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Speaking from personal experience and drawing on several years’ worth of research surveys, author Michael Leahy presents the facts about our porn-saturated world in the place where we spend the most time: our jobs.

Whether you are a workforce veteran or you are sitting in your very first cubicle, the business manager or the lone HR spokesperson,

Overview


Speaking from personal experience and drawing on several years’ worth of research surveys, author Michael Leahy presents the facts about our porn-saturated world in the place where we spend the most time: our jobs.

Whether you are a workforce veteran or you are sitting in your very first cubicle, the business manager or the lone HR spokesperson, pornography at work is a real threat.

The latest era of workplace connectivity has given rise to a whole new level of office efficiency, but it has also opened the door to all kinds of potential dangers and temptations. Lost productivity and litigation risks are where the errant click-throughs generally lead.

Don’t fall into the trap! Porn doesn’t have to be the norm.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802481290
Publisher:
Moody Publishers
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Porn @ Work

Exposing the Office's #1 Addiction


By Michael Leahy, Christopher Reese, Laura Lentz

Northfield Publishing

Copyright © 2009 Michael Leahy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57567-332-5



CHAPTER 1

A PENCHANT for PORN


It has to rank as one of the lowest points of my career, if not my life—but strangely enough, I don't really remember how I felt at the time. Indifferent perhaps. Maybe I was just numb to it all. Not remembering perplexes me to this day. I mean, how does a person not remember how it felt to be fired from a job by your own brother? While I may not be able to recollect exactly what I was feeling at that time, I do remember the circumstances surrounding this most embarrassing moment.

Every second in the U.S., $3,075 is spent on pornography, 28,258 Internet users view pornography, and 372 Internet users type adult search terms into search engines.

The largest consumer of Internet pornography is the 35–49 age group.


It was 1997, the year before my divorce. Earlier that year, I had started an affair with another woman. My wife suspected something was going on and I finally confessed it to her three months later. But in spite of truly feeling sorry for what I had done and promising to stop the affair, I continued seeing my affair partner in secret on and off for the next year and a half. In the process, everything else in my life took a backseat to this self-destructive, illicit relationship I was involved in—my marriage, my two boys, my job, my friends, and family. At the drop of a hat, or the ring of my cell phone, or the vibration of my pager, I would stop everything and leave what I was doing just to be with her. Long after I left my wife and family, I finally came to realize I had lost everything, literally.

Her name was Teresa and she was actually a customer of mine whom I had met at work. Several years before, I had left my fifteen-year career in the computer industry to take a break and do something low tech and less stressful for a change. I was starting to get burned out by the breakneck pace of being a business-to-business sales executive in the computer industry, something I'd been doing ever since I went to work for IBM straight out of college. But there was more to it than that. I had grown dissatisfied with my admittedly comfortable standard of living and was looking for a way to get off the corporate treadmill, make more money, and become financially independent. In other words, I was greedy and wanted more. I had always been intrigued by my brother's successful, rapidly growing business and was convinced that there was a big market in my hometown of Atlanta for their custom wine cellars, saunas, and steam rooms. So after kicking around the idea for a couple of years, my brother and his partner finally agreed to let me open up their first branch office beyond their home base of Seattle, Washington.

By the time I met Teresa, I had the business rolling along pretty well. I had grown it from a one-man show to having several employees. We all worked out of a small, refurbished warehouse space located in the far suburbs of Atlanta close to where I lived. It was complete with shop space and offices and a product showroom we used for potential customers. Although it was a far cry from my offices at IBM, NEC, or Unisys, it was something I could say I started and built up myself. The prize in all of this hard work was a potential stake in the larger business that my brother and his partner had worked hard for many years to build. My job was to serve as the Atlanta branch manager, but with fifteen plus years of sales experience, I always dabbled in the sales side of things and kept in close contact with our customers. So when the call came in that a woman was interested in spending well into five figures with us (our definition of a major client), I naturally wanted to be involved.

Meeting people and making new friends came easily to me. But from the very first phone conversation I had with this prospective client, I could tell there was more in the offing here than just a big sale. We flirted back and forth with each other during the "tell me about yourself" phase of our initial phone conversations. She was shopping for a steam room and a wine cellar to outfit a new home her fiancé was building, but she didn't talk like a woman in love. I had been married for thirteen years, but had been slowly convincing myself over the past several of those that I somehow deserved a better life than the one I was living—in spite of having a devoted wife and a loving family who stood by my side through all of my ups and downs. At that point, I was an affair waiting to happen.

I had grown increasingly impatient with my lot in life in those days and was envious of and lusting for everything everyone else had that I didn't—bigger homes, better jobs, newer cars, younger wives, you name it. I was having a classic midlife crisis and nothing seemed to satisfy me anymore. I had taken a big cut in pay to join my brother's business right after one of my best years ever in sales in the computer industry. I had a great job and a lot of money in the bank. Nonetheless, I convinced my wife and kids that we needed—no, deserved—much more. We deserved to live in a better neighborhood and a bigger house, where I believed we'd make better friends and be so much happier than we were then. So I convinced us to leave our good and faithful friends behind and moved out of our affordable and more than adequate home into an upscale, country club-style neighborhood full of people we didn't know and a new 5,000-square-foot home that we really couldn't keep up with, much less afford.

I had also decided my present job in the computer industry wasn't going to be enough to get us to the new and improved promised land of our upscale American dream. So after that best year ever in sales, I quit as soon as I could strike a deal with my brother and his partner. The golden egg was the promise of an ownership stake in the business, if things should work out. Of course, expanding a small business on limited resources takes extra time and a lot of hard work and luck along the way. The business was growing, but not fast enough for my liking. And not fast enough for me to avoid maxing out our credit cards and dipping into our 401K retirement savings regularly to help make ends meet. Instead of growing richer and settling comfortably into our new lifestyle, we were growing poorer by the day and sinking further into debt. I tried to hide my discontent from my wife and kids by working longer hours and stuffing my feelings of frustration and anxiety while I was around them. But over time that only made the distance that was starting to grow between us seem larger and harder to bridge. I could feel my new and improved version of the American Dream slipping away.

But when Teresa pulled up to our less than glamorous office/warehouse for the first time, no one there, including me, was thinking much about anything or anyone else but her. As she brought her candy apple red, late model Mercedes 500SL convertible to a stop in our parking lot, the car door opened and out stepped a tall, tanned, blonde bombshell of a woman wearing sunglasses and a glamorous summer dress. The guys in the office and those out in the shop froze and gawked at her right up until she came through the front door, at which point they suddenly pretended to look busy and otherwise preoccupied. To them, this was a pleasant surprise and a refreshing break in what had been a brutally hot and humid workday. To me, I suddenly saw more than just another pretty woman and the possible beginnings of a sexual fling. I saw a potential meal ticket—a permanent solution to all of my problems. I knew her car alone was worth more than I made in two years' time and I wondered if there was more where that came from.

The flirting continued in my office that day, in follow-up phone conversations, and on the private plane ride to and from Alabama several days later to take measurements at the fiancé's new construction home. Finally, all the playful talk and mild advances gave way to our first sexual encounter. She was ready to sign a sales contract, so we agreed to meet at her apartment in Atlanta's ritzy Buckhead district to close the deal. A business meeting at her apartment—right!? We both knew what was really going to happen there. Interspersed between our sexual encounters that followed were conversations about a multi-million dollar trust fund she claimed to have, money she assured me would be more than enough to settle my debts and invest in the growing business. She spoke of not really loving her fiancé and of leaving him for me. We talked about traveling the world together and I fantasized living a jet-setting existence I'd only dreamed of with a beautiful woman. At the time, I'm not sure what the bigger hook for me was—the sex or the promise of riches and thus the power to do whatever I wanted to in a lifestyle without limits. The more I obsessed on this fantasy, the easier it was for me to justify leaving my wife and children behind for a better life. By this time, I had truly lost my way. I was engrossed in a delusional fantasy world of sex and greed.

Of course, I later discovered that all of the talk was just that—talk and empty promises. As it turned out, Teresa was a sham, a compulsive liar with a history of seducing naive men like me, men who were safely married and could easily be kept hidden out of sight. She used sex and charm and spun tales of fantasy to keep several of us entangled in the same web of lies. Years later I was able to better understand this pathological behavior as a type of sexual addiction that women are more prone to than men called love or relationship addiction. However, that was only after losing everything and realizing that I myself was a sex addict, and that this affair that I had started and wouldn't leave was not just an isolated event for me. It was the latest example of a lifelong history of risky sexual "acting out" behaviors, dating back thirty years to my first exposure to pornography as an eleven-year-old.


My Great Escape

Discovering pornography at that young age was an unforget-table yet contradictory experience for me. On the one hand, seeing a picture of a naked woman posing on the back of a deck of playing cards was instantly arousing to me. I still remember exactly what she looked like. The feelings I felt were unlike any I'd ever experienced before, as if a shot of adrenaline was coursing through my veins. There was no doubt; I liked what I saw and how I felt when I looked at porn. But at the same time, I felt guilty and ashamed for looking at pictures of naked women. Something inside of me told me this was wrong, and so I kept these dirty little secrets about myself hidden from others and tried to reason it all out on my own.

Over the years, as pornographic material became more and more accessible, I found myself adapting to a new sexual belief system that would end up influencing my view of what it meant to be a real man and what a real woman was all about. Real men in porn were always macho, sexually aggressive, sexual conquerors of women, and almost always degrading to women. Real women in porn had big breasts, a perfectly shaped body, were always hungry for sex (even if they said no, porn taught us they really meant yes), and willing to do pretty much anything just to please a man sexually. I also saw women in porn as being flighty, flirty, promiscuous, and typically not very smart. In other words, a woman's value to mankind was based mainly on her body shape and size, and her willingness and ability to please a man sexually. Probably the most significant message of all was that this hypersexual, male-dominated way of thinking about sex and women was supposedly normal, and anyone who didn't think so was ignorant and definitely not cool. This twisted logic would erupt in the midst of my dating relationships and even in the workplace in my first job out of school. To me, women at work represented, among other things, endless possibilities for a sexual encounter—a dangerous and risky attitude to bring into the world of work for sure.

Shortly after graduation I donned a three-piece suit and went to work for the IBM Corporation as an account executive. The year was 1980 and saying you worked for IBM was like saying you worked for the CIA. It was a big deal back then because computers were still a mystery to most people (the IBM PC wasn't introduced until 1981). As a result, my IBM business card made me a hot property on the night club circuit, and I took full advantage of it, continuing my quests for anonymous sex and one-night stands. Occasionally, I'd let my personal and work lives intermingle by sleeping with someone I worked with or had just met during our long out-of-town training classes.

Porn still played a part in my life as it always had, but I kept any magazines I had stashed away at home and rarely brought any pictures with me to work. Even though I knew a lot of the guys I worked with also looked at porn, there wasn't much tolerance for the material in the workplace. So I naturally kept my recreational pursuit of pornography to myself and separate from my work life. In time, I even started becoming more discreet about whom I dated from work. After all, this was IBM and there were high expectations and professional appearances to maintain.

I did pretty well in the five years I spent as an IBM account executive, successfully completing my two-year sales training program and qualifying for three 100% Clubs. Of course, the competitive culture within IBM at all levels was fierce. All 30,000 of my peers in sales started out just as convinced as I was that we were going to be CEO of the company one day. But after spending a couple of years immersed in the starched shirt world of Big Blue, I came to the realization that I was no longer one of them. I just didn't want it badly enough. About that time, while in Atlanta attending a product sales training class, I met the woman of my dreams coming off the dance floor of a night club. I immediately asked her to dance, and several dances led to a date, which later led to a long-distance relationship that culminated in marriage about a year later. I was clearly in love. And just like that, my life became our life. I shared everything ... except my penchant for porn.

Until that point, I had been sexually active as a single guy and porn had been like the wallpaper in the background of my life. No one else knew or could see the role pornography played in my everyday existence, especially not my wife, Patty, or our respective families. As far as they were concerned, porn didn't exist in my world at all. It was a nonissue. And to her especially, I came off as this great guy with a great job and a promising career—definitely a rising star worthy of hitching her future hopes and dreams to. What she didn't know was that even while we were dating, I was compulsively pursuing porn and sex with others. Although I had convinced myself years earlier that meeting and marrying the woman of my dreams would alleviate my urges and quickly replace my appetite for pornography, our first year of marriage was nonetheless tainted by my slow realization that being in a committed marriage relationship was actually increasing my desire for the material. That came as a real shock to me, but I still felt my recreational use of porn was something I could continue to enjoy and manage, although I knew I needed to keep it under wraps lest she discover that I might be something less than her knight in shining armor.

Suddenly, after years of being able to carelessly keep and consume porn in the dorms and apartments I had lived in, my home would no longer be a safe haven. Once again, I found myself having to hide this sexual behavior, as I knew porn was a pastime I could never partake of with my wife. I didn't even have to ask. That left only one viable option for me. I would have to find a new safe haven, a place away from home where I could escape into my secret world without the fear of being discovered. I would have to find a way to use porn at work.

CHAPTER 2

USING PORN @ WORK


If there were ever a good time to start using porn at work, 1983 was the year. My employer, IBM, had only introduced the PC a few years earlier, and it just so happened that I was the rookie sales rep in our office "selected" to be the PC product specialist. Few IBM sales reps took the product very seriously back then, including me. Everyone wanted to sell the "Big Iron"—expensive mainframe computer systems that filled entire floors of office buildings and sat perched on raised floors to accommodate the plethora of complex cables and cooling systems the behemoths required. The PC, on the other hand, was like a toy. It even fit on a desk. It was widely viewed at the time as a defensive move by Big Blue to check the advances in the education market of a small start-up company in Cupertino, California, called Apple Computers. I grudgingly took on the role of PC Specialist even though I was the furthest thing from a computer nerd that you could find. But while knowledge of the internal workings of these machines bored me, running the applications and learning about the miraculous things you could do with them that you couldn't do on a terminal hooked up to a mammoth mainframe was something else altogether.

20% of men and 13% of women admitted to accessing pornography at work.

A 2004 study of 350 companies in the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia found that one-third of workers admitted passing along porn at some time—and half of all workers said they'd been exposed to sexually explicit material by co-workers.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Porn @ Work by Michael Leahy, Christopher Reese, Laura Lentz. Copyright © 2009 Michael Leahy. Excerpted by permission of Northfield Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

A number of years ago, I had an employee who started out as a terrific worker, but became so addicted to porn that he became trapped in the compulsion to access it at the office instead of working. I had no idea how to help this man or handle his addiction, and at the time had no idea that this problem affects at least half the homes and businesses in the country. In Porn @ Work, Michael Leahy bravely details his own history, demonstrates how this massive but unseen problem is destroying lives and careers, and provides an excellent road map for how to address it and bring healing.
-Shaunti Feldhahn, Nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and bestselling author of For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men

As a psychologist I have long worried about the impact of the Internet on culture. As CEO of a graduate school I am more aware than ever of the importance of preparing to deal with the sexualization of our culture. Michael Leahy has done all of corporate America a great service with this book.
-C. Jeffrey Terrell, Ph.D., President, Richmont Graduate University

Porn addiction is a dirty little secret in the workplace. One of the reasons it is so difficult to stop porn in the workplace is that the very people with the authority are some of the same people with the problem… As a business consultant, I have seen the devastating effect of porn addiction on not only the people and families involved, but on the business and the employees.
-Kevin Hanville, Business Consultant and National Speaker

Shockingly honest! An eye-opening view of what’s going on, how it happens, and what’s really at stake. This book is for anyone who needs practical advice on how to protect their company from legal liabilities and help employees who may be caught in one of the most rapidly growing addictions of our time.
-Patti Gordon, Speaker/Author of Press Play

Porn in the office is today’s ‘elephant in the room.’ Addictions to pornography have long been addressed at home. However, at work, the defenses of denial and rationalization are rampant. This has resulted in a shift in acting out from the home to the office… This book is an excellent starting place for anyone looking to address pornography in the work environment.
-Glen Havens, M.D., The Ark Psychiatric Services

Revolutionary . . . for cooperate America and the sexually addicted population. With a precise description of sexual addiction and its manifestations coupled with the lack of awareness in the workplace on such issues, Michael does a fantastic job of exposing the significant need for today’s corporations. This book will jump start a new cultural phenomenon of healing individuals and making the workplace a safe place for help. The long- term effects of porn at work increase productivity, lessen liability, cultivate community, and lay a solid foundation for the future workers, our children. Sexual addiction will not go away unless exposed, and with the information contained in these pages, the process has begun.
-Troy Snyder, MS, NCC, LPC, CCSAS, Paraclete Counseling Center

Shockingly real! I see the impact of pornography and sexual addiction on people’s careers every day in my clients. Michael Leahy has done an outstanding job of showing the severity of the problem, its impact on employers and employees, and offering real solutions and hope to those who struggle with sexual addiction.
-Richard Blankenship, LPC, NCC, CCSAS, Author of S.A.R.A.H. (Spouses of Addicts Rebuilding and Healing), L.I.F.E. Guide for Couples and L.I.F.E. Guide for Young Men

Michael Leahy knows first hand how destructive porn can be. Yet at the same time Michael knows there is hope. He honestly shares his own story so that the reader can get in touch with their story. In Porn @ Work Michael offers hope for the struggling employee, counsel for the employer, and honest solutions to a very real problem that is affecting the workplace and the most valuable asset there—people. Michael highlights how porn erodes one’s passion for real life and relationship, then offers a road back to the freedom and passion that porn depletes from good lives.
-Marc V. Rutter, US National Director Leadership Development and Human Resources, Campus Crusade for Christ International

Michael exposes a significant but rarely discussed issue that poses a real threat to businesses in today’s culture. His personal experience plus facts and statistics make the book a compelling read but with practical solutions.
-James L. Underwood, CPA/PFS, CFP®, Tarpley & Underwood, PC

 

Meet the Author


MICHAEL LEAHY has captured the nation's attention by speaking out on the topic no one wants to talk about. He is founder and Executive Director of BraveHearts, a non-profit organization whose goal is to build a global healing community of ¿brave hearts¿, and is author of Porn Nation, Porn @ Work, and Porn University. He has appeared on national television programs, in major media publications, and nationally syndicated radio programs. He and his wife, Christine, currently reside in the Washington, D.C. area.

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Porn @ Work: Exposing the Office's #1 Addiction 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its Perfectly Written, Has Equall Amounts Of Horny Reads And Love Reads. It Might Cost Alot Of Money, But Trust Me. Its Worth It. -Lace