Working two jobs or starting a business while you’re still employed? If you’re moonlighting to make ends meet, there are a few things you should consider in order to keep your work life and business interests working harmoniously together. Your employer has important legal and ethical rights. Respect those rights or you will jeopardize your job and possibly your business.
First, be careful to honor any legal agreements that you have with your employer. Review any confidentiality or non-compete agreements you have signed. Will your moonlighting violate any of these agreements? Remember, these agreements may be enforceable even after you terminate employment. If you have any questions about how the agreements you have signed apply to your situation, consult an attorney.
Second, make sure to give your employer an honest day’s work for your pay. Show up for work on schedule and don’t stay up all night working on your business so that you are too sleepy to be effective the next day. Don’t try to sell Things to coworkers when you should be working. Don’t work on your moonlighting job when you are supposed to working for your primary employer. I know it’s hard to get everything done some days, but if you’re choosing to accept a paycheck you have an obligation to your employer to give your effort and attention to the task at hand while you are at work.
Third, make sure disclose your outside activity fully and honestly to your employer. Most larger companies have policies in place that require you to report any potential conflict of interest. If you disclose you’re activities fully before you get started and keep your employer up to date on what you are doing, you can avoid many pitfalls by addressing potential issues before they become problems. If you’re not comfortable disclosing your business activities to your employer, ask yourself why. Is it because you feel your employer may be unreasonable? Or do you fear that there really may be a conflict of interest and you don’t want to address it? Either way, it may be an indication that you have to choose between your day job and your moonlighting.
Fourth, understand the culture of your organization. Is moonlighting generally accepted? If moonlighting is general accepted, it will be easier to successfully coordinate your job responsibilities with your business. If moonlighting is generally frowned upon or if you are breaking new ground by doing something others haven’t done, you may face more obstacles.
Fifth, let your conscience be your guide. Don’t just comply with the rules and guidelines,but go a step further. Consider things from your employer’s point of view. They have a legitimate interest in your external activities to the extent that they could interfere with job performance or reflect poorly on your employer. Moonlighting ethically, in a way that allows you to fulfill your job responsibilities and brings credit to your employer, is the most important step you can take to ensure that you will moonlight successfully.