Moonlighting for Money

30Aug10

Moonlighting is a term used to refer to holding a second job outside of normal working hours.  Traditionally, individuals who take on second jobs are those who want to gain new experience or skills (especially in a different industry), enjoy working more than one job, or want to earn more money.  Today, about 5% of Americans hold more than one job.  That figure may increase as more Americans are finding it harder to meet their basic living expenses.

For those who have broad-based skills, freelancing can be an easy transition.  Broad-based skills include problem-solving, research, and communication among others.  Some may be interested in parlaying skills used in their primary job yet various issues may arise.  Some issues to consider include:

  • Conflict of interest – Avoid work that involves the same products or services or that could target the same market as your company.  Your not likely to get support from your company and trust issues may arise. 
  • Work-life balance – Taking on a second job can easily put strain on not only your primary job, but your personal life as well.  Will your productivity suffer?
  • No-compete contract – Check your employee handbook for policies against moonlighting.  If your company has sensitive information in which employees are privy to, they may find it risky to let their employees work for a competitor. 
  • “Daylighting” – Keep your moonlighting schedule just that, after normal work hours.  Avoid using company equipment or time to take care of your second job activities. 
  • Time management – In order to hold two (or more jobs), managing time is critical.  Make sure you have a backup plan if your primary job involves working overtime. 

By understanding not only the benefits but drawbacks of moonlighting, you will be able to make a better decision of whether it is right for you.  Sure, extra income is nice.  Yet, if it comes at a cost to your primary job or your health, you may want to consider other alternatives.           

Have you ever considered moonlighting or held a second job before?  If you, what were your primary reasons for wanting to or doing so?

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