Working in the Pole Industry: Is There an Afterlife?
I danced on stage with Guns N’ Roses last summer in Vegas. It was an incredible experience and a dream come true. The band happened to share a video of me dancing on their Facebook page and thousands of comments flooded in. Most were positive but some were mean. One woman went to great lengths to voice her disapproval. She shared the video on her own page and snickered sarcastically how this must be a wonderful addition to my resume. Little does this woman know, she’s right!
Many people who practice pole dancing choose to conceal their hobby from professional colleagues. There are a range of reasons why a person may choose this level of discretion. I respect their right to privacy and keeping their recreational interests separate from work. What about those of us who are openly involved in the pole industry though? We share videos and pictures all over the Internet of our passion. If we choose to venture back into a more traditional work environment at some point in the future, can we expect difficulty in this transition?
I made a conscious decision on February 4, 2011 to upload my first-ever public photo to Facebook of myself on the pole. I had recently quit a job in an unrelated industry and was nervous about openly sharing my hobby. I knew that this subtle action would be a big statement. With my name being as unique as it is, any potential employer or long lost relative can easily track me down. I knew after posting that picture I could never hide or deny my involvement in pole dancing for the rest of my life. I made this decision after careful thought and consideration.
I have now traveled further down that rabbit hole with hundreds of pole-related pictures, videos and articles tied to my name. Anyone who googles even my first name can easily discover my connection to the pole industry. This is not a problem for me considering I am proud of what I do and I hope to work in the pole industry or some other creative/liberal field for the rest of my life. What about those who are uneducated about our world and what it is we do? I can’t deny there is a chance I will be rejected from a great career opportunity in the future, regardless of how misinformed the hiring manager may be.
I read an article today that highlighted these concerns for me. The Sydney Morning Herald published an article discussing job application horror stories. In it, hiring manager Anne-Marie Orrock discussed a “misguided” applicant. “Her current employment and experience was as a pole dancing instructor and she believed her entertaining skills would be additional advantage….” Orrock said. Now, I don’t know this applicant’s background or qualifications for the job in question, but a career in the pole industry should not automatically disqualify you from employment in most any field.
In fact, I think experience in this industry can be usefully applied to so many positions across a range of professions. Here are just a few reasons why hiring a former or current pole dance instructor may be a great idea for your business….
Interpersonal SkillsThere are so many different types of people who take pole dancing classes. All races, cultures, genders and ages. Many people also feel nervous or intimated in such an environment. Interacting with people when they are at their most vulnerable is a delicate task and requires one to be highly attuned to human tendencies.
Presentational SkillsWe must master public speaking, listening and communication skills to effectively teach.
Organizational SkillsLiving the life of a freelance instructor can be challenging. One must be highly organized with a constantly fluctuating schedule. Some weeks I teach 30+ hours and others under 5. I need to plan for the unexpected lulls and power through the busy seasons.
Possesses Body Awareness and Anatomy KnowledgeWould you scoff if a group fitness instructor applied for a position and listed their experience? What about a professional dancer? Well pole dancing is a combination of sport and art. We must be trained in basic anatomy and physiology as well as CPR and first aid.
Highly Energetic and DeterminedPole dancing is physically grueling and draining. Anyone who does it at a professional level must be in peak physical condition. They also most likely do not back down from a challenge, even when they are knocked down.
CreativePole dancing still may carry the notion of taboo for some. Those who pole dance are liberated and open-minded. They most likely think outside the box and abstractly. Just the sort of people who would add valuable insight to any professional team.
For the most part we are highly in tune with our own bodies and comfortable in our skin. Being able to lift your own body weight off the ground in little more than underwear tends to have that effect on people. Confident people know what they want and aren’t afraid to be honest. They are also happier and most likely more productive because they know who they are, what they want and where they want to be.
So what do you think? Have I left out any other positive traits? Tell me why you think hiring a pole dancer or instructor would be a wise decision for any hiring manger to make. Also feel free to share your own stories.