How to Tell Prospective Employers About a Second Job

DiceTV: Should you tell prospective employers about your “other” job? Should you continue moonlighting after you land a full-time gig? Tricky questions, if you’re a tech. But we’ve got some answers.

I’m Cat Miller and this is DiceTV.

A generation ago, moonlighting meant going to a second job after the whistle blew at your first job. While this may have been exhausting, it didn’t pose the ethical dilemmas it can pose now. Today a tech can moonlight during the day, even at their full time job. So, should you tell your prospective employer that you have another job? For answers we return to Dino Londis from the Dice Blog Network and a columnist for BYTE. Dino, welcome back.

DINO:

Hey Cat.

CAT:

So should you tell your boss about that other job?

DINO:

In a word, Cat, Yes. It used to be that if someone was, say, driving a cab to pick up extra income, they were pretty safe from being discovered unless they picked up a co-worker. Today your employer could discover that second job with just a few clicks.

CAT:

Google makes it trivial.

DINO:

Yup. It’s forced transparency. You had better be transparent…

CAT:

…or a quick search will give you away.

DINO:

Right. Unless you’re doing something that doesn’t involve IT. If you’re making candles for the county fair, that’s your business. But if you’re building websites off hours that should be disclosed.

CAT:

Why is that so important? Isn’t the weekend your time?

DINO:

Well let’s say I’m a full-time admin and on the weekends I build those websites. On a Wednesday at 10 a.m. I get a call at my full time job that one of the websites is down. If I respond, I’m getting paid twice for my time. If I wait until 5, I’ve lost my reputation and probably my client.

CAT:

Aren’t there are intellectual property issues, as well?

DINO:

Absolutely. This is a knowledge business and if I spend hours learning something at my full time job and take it to my part time gig, I’ve really stolen from my primary employer. That’s another thing the cab driver didn’t have to worry about.

CAT:

So if you’re going to be transparent, what’s the best way to do it?

DINO:

Transparently. Be big about it. Don’t try to slip it into a conversation with your current employer. Take a meeting.

CAT:

And mention it early on in your interview?

DINO:

Well you’re not moonlighting at that point. It’s really about your current job.

CAT:

Dino… are you moonlighting by doing this video segment?

DINO:

Well, I would be if I was also on a help desk call.

CAT:

And you’re not?

DINO:

Cat, you’re my only call.

CAT:

I do appreciate your complete attention during our little interactions. Thanks, Dino.

DINO:

You’re welcome, and thank you, Cat.

CAT:

Giving you my full attention… I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.

Comments

2 Responses to “How to Tell Prospective Employers About a Second Job”

August 18, 2011 at 9:55 am, Mike said:

A couple of comments:

Unless you are hosting the sites you are building, if the site is “down” your client should call the hosting agent. If you are hosting sites, and then decide to work full-time at a different gig, you owe it to your existing clients to inform them of your new responsibilties and allow them to make the decision to stay with you, or transfer to another agent.

If you are changing the site you owe it to your clients to make certain all is well before you shut off the light in your home office. Then againvif your client has access to a “WYSIWYG” editor, makes a change that is not liked, and calls you to fix it, that would be a problem as well.

I am unsure “learning” something at your FT gig, and then using it on your own is a problem. Although I can see writing code for an employer then using it one your own could be a problem. Then again, I am sure there are lawyers that will argue both sides of every point.

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August 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm, Bob said:

Applying learning is stealing?

*plonk*

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