Whether as a result of COVID-19 or simply as a hedge against financial stress, more people than ever are looking to add another income source beyond their full-time job.
Should you tell your boss what you’re up to? Why? And what business is it of theirs what you do in your spare time?
Ultimately, it’s your decision whether or not to tell them. Today I’ll lay out some factors to consider when taking on an additional income source and why employers care.
Before I do, here’s how I define a side hustle. Many of us remember the term “moonlighting.” That’s a side hustle. It’s work you perform in addition to your regular, full-time job.
While some employers may have a formal policy requiring you to divulge outside income sources, many others strongly suggest you tell them. While you may view their policies as intrusive, there are at least three reasons why these policies exist.
1. Avoiding a conflict of interest. My situation is an excellent example. In my role with Goodwill of Northwest N.C., I provide free, individualized consulting to assist professionals with their career transition. It would represent a conflict of interest for me to provide those same services for a fee during my off hours. Likewise, as a full-time, permanent Goodwill employee, it would be a conflict to do the same work for our competitors during my off hours.
2. Would my side hustle harm my company’s brand/reputation? Actually, this concern extends beyond side hustles to areas such as social media and to brushes with the law. Companies are protective of their brand and typically discourage negative publicity. They’ve also been known to terminate employees for their social media posts. Remember, even if you aren’t on the clock, your actions/side hustles could have a direct impact on the company for whom you work.
3. Does your side hustle inhibit your full-time work? For many, a side hustle might mean part-time work in retail, hospitality, restaurants, etc. As long as your side-hustle employer realizes they’ll need to work around your commitment to your full-time job, you should be fine. Be sure to get enough sleep. Showing up to your full time job tired and unproductive isn’t good, especially when it’s due to working a side hustle.
So should you tell your employer? Sure, if it’s a formal policy. If it’s not a formal policy, give careful thought to the “why” behind their interest in knowing. And if your side hustle is going to possibly create any of the issues I’ve raised, wouldn’t it make more sense to have that discussion before you take on the side hustle? Good luck!