Having a Job on the Side

Dear Anita,

I have recently taken a hobby to a professional level outside of my full-time job. I am really excited about this new opportunity and want to share my excitement with my co-workers. Is there a way to do this without making my current job appear less important to me?

Dear Double Time Dude,

Thanks for the question. You are like many others who are looking for additional jobs these days to cover expenses or heading back to school to advance their degrees.

You are one of the lucky ones who actually really enjoys what they are doing on the side. But what tends to happen among all the excitement and buzz about a new gig is that others may perceive this change as you losing interest in your current position. They may wonder whether or not this new venture will impact your performance, dedication to the team, and reliability in the future. It also may stir up concerns that you may be planning on making a quick exit out of your position — all of which sounds like what you don’t want to happen.

To make this a smooth transition, I would first notify your supervisor of your new opportunity. Before you take on any additional work, make sure it will not interfere with any obligations or projects you are currently working on. Most supervisors will be thrilled to hear that you have taken on additional responsibilities but just need reassurance that you are still dedicated to your role at the company. Also, double-check with your HR supervisor that there is no conflict of interest.

Once you get the all clear from your boss and HR supervisor, it’s time to share the news! If you work in a team environment, let them know how excited you are and think of ways to explain how this change will have a positive impact on your performance in the group. It is important that, after your announcement, you restrict conversations to Show and Tell time, lunch breaks, or outside-the-office conversations — especially if what you’re doing is irrelevant to what the team is trying to accomplish.

My last piece of advice is to keep your two ventures separate. When you are at Job A, be fully entrenched in it. Same goes for Job B or your classes.

Readers – are you trying to balance school and work or two jobs? How are you managing, and how have your supervisor and co-workers reacted to the news?

Wishing you success,


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. m.capriola
    May 08, 2012 @ 10:48:08

    One approach is to mention that you’ve found a way to make “beer money” off one of your hobbies, but your primary job is still your bread and butter. This way you can share your excitement w/o making people feel that you’re preparing to leave the company and strike out on your own.

    I would not sit down with your boss or the HR people to talk about it because It’s none of their business what you do in your spare time as long as it does not affect the company. I keep picturing the conversation running along these lines:

    You: “I’ve started making money off one of my hobbies. It’ll be like having a second job.

    Boss: “How will this affect your job performance?”

    You: “It won’t.”

    Boss: “Then why are you telling me about it? Are you saying you can’t work overtime or that you’ll need time off from your regular job.”

    You: “No.”

    Boss: “Then why are you telling me about it?”


  2. tgtpye
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 05:56:44

    I agree with Eileen; “Given that this person is not engaging in illegal activity or giving away company secrets — isn’t it true that what individuals do on their own time is none of their employer’s business??”

    I have had multiple jobs for the past 16 years and attend school and raise a family. If I had a full-time job at the time, I do not let the part-time or intermittent job interfere with my main job. There have been times when I have taken a day off from my full-time job to allow me to work my intermittent job (because I had the opportunity to make a good sum of money in a short amount of time.)

    Now I have no job.


  3. pravinchn
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:51:11

    Reblogged this on pravinchn.


  4. Eileen
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:27:42

    Hi Anita –

    Your advice was to notify the supervisor of the new gig, but don’t you think even raising the issue with the boss, HR or employer constitutes asking for permission and putting too much control in the employer’s hands?

    After all, if issues of confidentiality or conflict of interest were a concern, the employer would have — or should have — required a signed confidentiality or conflict of interest document at the onset of employment. Hense, nothing is enforcible to deter taking additional employment; there is no need to raise the issue. (No, I am not a lawyer, but I am educated in busness law.)

    Given that this person is not engaging in illegal activity or giving away company secrets — isn’t it true that what individuals do on their own time is none of their employer’s business??

    Perhaps it is most prudent to keep it under wraps knowing it is in their long-term best interest. Information of this new opportunity cannot do anything to enhance their position in the workplace – but it sure can hurt. I would recommend that they forego the urge to discuss the opportunity in the workplace, nor not discuss it with the employer.

    Love to know your thoughts,


  5. Tom Gordon
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:00:05

    I wouldn’t go around telling people this. Human nature would definately use this against you.


  6. taiyelolu
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 08:51:28

    Its been one week now that I started at what I can call another job.

    I took it because its what i have always wanted to do. The offer I got for it has no guarantee of a financial reward but the opportunity to actually get involved in something I have always considered exciting pulled me in.

    It has been exhausting but I am loving it so much and I believe with time, I should be able to work around both jobs productively without wearing myself out physically.

    About telling my boss, I could only tell the manager at my new job and he has been understanding so far, although he fears it is a delicate situation as he would not like other members of staff to know that I have a ‘second job’,


  7. InTheBeginningOfBusiness
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 08:38:56

    Great advice Anita. The most difficult thing that you would encounter is curtailing your enthusiasm in your new business. I have been through it when I started my business and now I am going through it again because along with my current business, i have started to write a book. The challenge is, when I am on an appointment or an event for my original business, not talking about the book. When I am on an appointment or an event about the book, i also need to remember TO talk about my original business because the reason I am writing the book is to promote my business.

    Your brain has a mind of it’s own sometimes. You may find it difficult at the beginning to separate the 2 but you must.

    Good luck,



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.

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