There was a time when moonlighting – taking on a second, part-time job in addition to your full-time employment – was meant to be for underemployed workers and seriously cash-strapped individuals.
Today, people in all fields and tiers of income are supplementing their primary income by moonlighting. But before you make the decision to take on a second job, consider these pros and cons.
Money: The primary reason people take on a second job. With inflation and health insurance premiums on the rise and many incomes stagnant, this extra income can be a lifesaver.
New Skills: If you’re thinking about switching careers but aren’t too sure if you’re ready to take the plunge, a part-time job could be a great way to test the waters or even improve your professional skills.
Security: Unfortunately, not all full-time jobs are secure, or permanent. There are a number of people in the United States who go to work every day, not knowing if their job will be there for them the following week. Taking on a second job can alleviate the stress that comes with a temporary full-time position.
Time: Do you really want to spend 15 or 20 hours a week on another job? Sure, the additional money is a major plus – but unless the part time job will allow you to work remotely, you’ll also need to factor in the hassle of commuting, and the disappointment of significant others who will be seeing less of you.
Potential conflict of interest: Consulting or working for a direct (or sometimes, indirect) competitor can risk the relationship you have with your current employer. Before signing on to a moonlighting opportunity, you’ll need to determine the potential conflict of interest. After all, your full-time employment should take precedence over any other forms of income.
Burning out: One of the main reasons employers are apprehensive about condoning their employees to moonlight is the fear that the employee will burn out, and their performance will slip. Some companies like to demand your full-time attention, even after you clock out.
If you are in fact considering a second job, here are some tips to make it work:
- Pick an unrelated field: You’ll reduce the risk of boredom, burnout, and a conflict of interest with your primary employer. A safe bet would be a marketing professional who teaches performing arts on the side, a health care worker who conducts piano lessons or a bank teller who does occasional landscaping work.
- Check with Human Resources: Some companies have moonlighting policies. But even if they don’t have any restrictions, it’s always a good idea to check with your company’s HR rep, especially if you’re considering a part-time job that’s related to your full-time job.
- Set aside some time for yourself, and significant others: A second job can take away from life’s most precious moments. So it’s important to take a breather every once in a while. Go to the park with your spouse, plan a family picnic, or take a Yogalates class. Whatever you decide to do, just remember that taking care of yourself and your relationships is more important than a paycheck.