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What’s the Difference Between Overemployment and Moonlighting?

Posted By: Debbie Milks on December 26, 2022

An employee making a delivery.

Ever since the pandemic made working from home normal, a lot of companies are now encountering unethical abuses of the freedom, from quiet quitting to overemployment. While we’ve covered quiet quitting in a previous blog, and it may have similar symptoms to overemployment, overemployment is when a professional works two or more full-time jobs without notifying the respective employers.

This is not moonlighting, which is also different from overemployment. Moonlighting refers to taking on additional work or a job outside your full-time job’s normal hours—typically at night. For professionals seeking additional income, moonlighting is both common and ethical because the additional work is not encroaching on their full-time job’s obligations.

In this blog, we’ll offer a closer look at overemployment versus moonlighting. Why is it frowned upon and, more importantly, what can you do about it?

What Drives People Toward Overemployment or Moonlighting?

Money—whether out of necessity or greed—is clearly the biggest reason why people look for side hustles and outside gigs. As rent, health insurance premiums, gas prices, and other basic expenses rise due to record inflation, people turn to overemployment and moonlighting to make extra income—or to double it.

Security is an additional incentive. People turn to second jobs that provide greater security and benefits. While their basic salary may not be as high as their primary job’s paycheck, the benefits help improve their quality of life—and, in the case of overemployment, can greatly enhance it.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Moonlighting?

Employees working at an office who are on a video conference call.

Moonlighting is when an employee takes on an extra job either before or after their main job’s hours. The pro is the extra income that it generates. The extra job can also translate into additional job skills that they aren’t getting with their full-time job.

The downside of moonlighting stems from the extra time spent working and not resting. When employees tackle multiple jobs, they may feel exhausted, stressed, burned out, overwhelmed, and fatigued. This can result in poor performance.

The Pros and Cons of Overemployment

Overemployment is rampant in many industries—especially IT—where workers are not closely monitored. When a company hires a professional for a full-time position with benefits, it is usually in the form of a commitment—in many cases, a contract—between the company and the worker to perform a job within a given set of hours. When employees take on another full-time job during those hours, they could be doubling their salary and benefits, but they are also in breach of their original employer’s covenant.

In short, the upside of being overemployed is the income increase, but the downsides are many and can affect an otherwise growing or stellar career, and include the following:

  • Fatigue that compromises your performance on both jobs
  • Risk of being fired should both employers discover the situation
  • Compromise of your integrity and reputation with two employers
  • Burning bridges that cannot be repaired—with your employer and colleagues
  • Possible legal exposure, depending upon how your employee contract is written

What Do You Do if You Discover an Overemployed Professional Working for You?

For employers: Contact your HR department if you suspect that one of your team members is working full time for both you and another company. Since Texas is a right-to-work state, you can terminate them for any reason—especially if they are in violation of their employment agreement.

For employees: The practice of overemployment is unethical and could expose you to legal action if you are caught. If you are a professional and are thinking about taking on a second full-time position, make sure it is outside the hours of your current job. If it isn’t, don’t do it. The damage you will do to your career and reputation will last for years and you could risk losing both jobs.

At Brookwoods Group, we have a team of experienced executive recruiting experts working for us. As a Staffing company for marketing, we help professionals find motivated, qualified, and creative talent who are a perfect fit for their team and company.

Whether you’re looking for Top executive recruiting firms austin or a new job, contact our experts today. We serve clients across the Houston metro area, including Katy, The Woodlands, Clear Lake, and Sugar Land.