How seriously in need of a job do we have to be in before we can work at a job that would require having to sell sinful items

I am nearly 30 years old, I have about $4 in my bank account and the only reason I’m not homeless is because I’m living at home with my parents.

I obviously really need a job where I can support myself and move out of my parents’ house.

The problem is it’s hard to find a career in my field (Visual Media) that doesn’t require that I be involved with the distribution of sinful material. I’ve tried looking for Christian/Catholic-based organizations for full-time…even part-time positions but found none.

I won’t be able to support myself working in fast food. I could possibly work at a factory, I’ve done that before, but I tend to get depressed working at places like that (plus they are hard to get full time in due to temp services), because it’s a dead end job and has nothing to do with my field of study.

I think it would depend on how many “sinful” items are being sold and the overall purpose for the establishment. There are sinful items sold in grocery stores. But working in a store that specializes in porn would be a definite evil.

Everyone who works in a factory probably feels the same way you do about their job but don’t have parents who can support them. They have to work so they do it.

During the Nazi invasion of Poland, Saint Pope John Paul II worked for slave labor wages in the Wieliczka Salt Mine when he was twenty. He gained many valuable insights to human beings then and his experiences were part of who he was all the rest of his life.

Have you looked into local government, libraries, and schools? Some are looking for Media Coordinators but usually job openings are posted right at the top of the budget, so October thru March.

Can you just clarify what your field of “Visual Media” means, please?

It’s not clear to me whether you mean working in the field as a professional producer, say, of videos, or as a sales assistant in a video store, or, maybe, as an agent in a video company. This would help us assess how directly involved you would be in production/selling of the sinful items, and might make a difference to our advice.


Needless to say, many Christians face this dilemma.

There’s a good discussion in: Am I sinning by working in a store that sells condoms?

The discussion references this thorough and helpful article by Jimmy Akin:

Selling Bad Stuff

The article is long, but his conclusion is helpful:

Now, if you change any of those conditions, the moral evaluation is likely to change as well:

*] If the person is well off and doesn’t need the job then he might ought to quit.

*] If the person has available to him another, equally good job that doesn’t involve this dilemma (like moving to the butcher’s department or the janitorial staff) then he might ought to take it.
*] If the person has an alternative, such as a storeowner who could say with relative ease “Y’know, we’re just not going to sell those things here,” then he ought to pursue it.

But for an increasing number of people in our culture today, particularly in entry-level jobs, proportionate reasons for this kind of remote material cooperation are likely to exist. I’m not saying that they do for everyone. Do not get me wrong on that point. But given what’s happening to our culture, they will exist for a larger and larger number of people.

Finally, Jimmy observes that the Church doesn’t actually have a teaching on this, unfortunately, although it is becoming an increasingly common predicament.

The SCOTUS decision on SSM has thrown many more people into this situation, and there’s probably more to come.

I’m not really sure what studying Visual Media trains one to do. However, I do know that I’ve never once worked in my field of study, because I couldn’t get any kind of decent money doing it without a graduate degree, which I don’t have. So I worked in software, because it pays the rent. It’s somewhat soul-destroying, and I don’t feel my particular work is noticeably important, but it allows me to support myself and contribute to charity and help out friends in need. I do it the best I can, and that is also satisfying.

The primary purpose of work is paying the bills. There is a dignity in all work, in doing whatever you do the best you can. Personal fulfillment is a great addition, but the lack of it is not a reason not to pay the bills. If your work does not provide personal fulfillment, then you get a hobby–possibly something to do with your field of study. You could volunteer your visual media skills to help charitable organizations. Then you can look at the (possibly) dead-end job as having the value of providing you the financial support so you can help people. Or, you can get a job that supports you and then you can get married and you can be grateful for your job because it provides food and shelter for your family.

There are a lot of things you can do. I don’t understand the nature of the sinful material you might be distributing and how close your connection to it would be, so I couldn’t possibly know whether it would be serious enough that you couldn’t do it. But I know that something not being in your field of study isn’t a reason not to do it if you need the money.

I hope you do find something that both pays the bills and is fulfilling, but I wouldn’t wait for it. You can always start with paying the bills and move toward fulfilling later. :slight_smile:


Photography, film making is what I mean by visual media.

Why don’t you follow the example of those immigrants who never show up at the unemployment agencies? They all find jobs which might not be “glamorous”, but provide subsistence. Look at the “help wanted” section of the local Sunday paper, and you will find hundreds of opportunities.

By the way, the fact that you can spend considerable time on the internet also tells us that you are not destitute, and you waste your time on these conversations instead of finding some menial, but useful job.

Do you have a car? A cell phone? A computer? Oops you obviously have one, or have access to one.

If selling those “sinful items” is your main concern, then you have never been hungry in your life.

If you mean “still” photography then you aren’t missing out on much of a career. The field is dying rapidly. The veterans are running out of work and studios are closing.

I don’t know about film making, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s also very difficult to make a living from, and getting harder by the year. eg. my son recently wanted a video made of him performing a song, and the professional film maker gave it to him at almost no cost, just to get the work.

So, apart from your ethical concerns it sounds like it will be very difficult to make a living in the field anyway, so your sensible option may be to retrain.

Thanks for the reply, Ben.

It does sound like it will be difficult to get into the field you want, and especially if you have ethical problems with some of the jobs. I personally wouldn’t balk at photographing an “invalid” weddding ceremony, however.

Best wishes with it all.

You are missing the point of my post. (BTW, you don’t know how much time I spend looking for jobs.)

My post is not about finding A job. It’s about finding full-time work in my field of study to support myself even though the field of study has a lot of morally questionable material rampant in it. With this I then ask if my situation would be remote enough to where I would possibly be allowed to work at that job…so I wouldn’t have to just resort to working a menial job my entire life.

Thanks Edmundus.

You could look at corporate filmmaking and video production. There are many businesses that film corporate videos, website videos, videos at trade shows and conferences, multimedia events, etc.

Documentary work and non-fashion magazine work may also be avenues.

That is the your problem, right there.

Many people make a wrong choice when choosing a profession. It is “sad”, but we all must live with our bad choices. My best advice: find ANY job which allows you to start your own independent life, and in your spare time go and learn some marketable skills (in some cheap community college) which does not interfere with your “nobler feelings”.

Two jokes to cheer you up:

Q: What is the most frequent sentence a freshly minted Latin-Greek teacher says in his first job?
A: You want fries with that?


A highly qualified medical professor needs a plumber to fix his faucet. He calls the plumber, who arrives in a beautiful, new Mercedes. The professor just gasps and tells the plumber: “I am a world famous professor, but I can’t afford a car like that!”. The plumber answers: “Well, when I was a professor, I could not afford it either”.

Final advice: “Stop whining, and get a job… any job… and when you have some money, start re-planning your future.”

As someone who has the “any job” right now, those kind of jobs don’t really make enough money to get out, support yourself, and get any sort of education that might allow you to get something better.

Then you take on TWO jobs for a while. I know several women (mostly Mexican) who work their butts off cleaning houses. House cleaning pays quite handsomely, those women ask and receive 18-20 bucks an hour. Of course it is hard, menial labor, but those women do not suck the blood of their parents as leeches.

There is no excuse to live off your parents if you are a healthy 30 years old.

The Hispanic woman I know and who is a friend, worked this hard cleaning houses. She now has a daughter who is a lawyer and two fine sons who are business men. These children of hers also worked while they went to school as well. They knew the value of hard work. They did not take advantage of the parents.

A healthy thirty year old who has is unable to find work, really doesn’t want to get ahead. The world is full of starving artists. I have pretty much lost sympathy with their plight.

You might find great inspiration for your photography if you live in the real world for awhile.

Wow, your arrogance and judgmentalism is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Where I live, the current going rate for privately employed cleaning ladies is $10/hr. Most are illegal immigrants, working for cash under the table.

I don’t know if you’re aware, but the current economy (at least in Canada) has taken a complete nose dive. In less than a year over 60,000 workers in the oil and gas industry (which is Canada’s largest industry) lost their jobs in Alberta alone. I have friends who went from being well respected well-paid engineers, to borderline destitute unable to find jobs. Even those menial jobs you speak of are drying up because there is no demand for workers. Personally, I can just barely afford my basic necessities since my hours and wage got cut.

That assumes you can find two jobs that will work around each other’s schedules and still allow you time to eat and sleep on a reasonable schedule. Around here, most jobs if you don’t have open availability for them, won’t even consider you. Or if they do the schedule isn’t liveable for many people (when I tried the schedules I was being offered would have allowed me only 4-5 hours off at a stretch most days). And yes, most cleaning jobs nowadays pay barely above minimum wage with no guaranteed hours.

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