Talking with Kink’s 70 employees, the majority of whom are in their 20s or 30s, it would seem that porn has become just another career that creative people latch onto in the fog following college — years spent meandering between unpaid internships and dispiriting corporations, lashed with debt. A young woman who calls herself Cat Rich told me that she volunteered as a civilian nurse in Iraq after graduation but wound up back in Indiana selling cars; she is now Kink’s events coordinator. A Harvard alum in Kink’s marketing department worked in restaurants after moving to San Francisco and got his first adult-industry job after searching for the word “fun” on Craigslist. A cameraman, one of several employees with film degrees, was not only laid off in the dot-com bust but also found himself owing $14,000 in a perplexing stock-option scheme gone sour. “I promised myself I would never work at a dot-com again, but here I am,” he said, and “it feels very much like the blissful dot-com days before the crash.” There are weekly catered lunches, a health plan stretching to vision insurance and, even harder to come by, a pervasive feeling of usefulness. Reena Patel, Kink’s vice president for marketing, who has an M.B.A. and previously worked at Merrill Lynch, told me, “I actually apply my education to this job.”
Sounds like my days at a start-up tech firm in the South Bay before the dot-bomb fiasco. Except with naked people and cameras.