Working a second job after regular business hours is known as moonlighting. Individuals may have a regular nine-to-five job as their primary source of income and work evenings at another employment to supplement their income.
Moonlighting Sociology Definition


Working a second job after regular business hours is known as moonlighting. Individuals may have a regular nine-to-five job as their primary source of income and work evenings at another employment to supplement their income.


In essence, the term “moonlighting” refers to workers with additional “side” occupations in addition to their primary ones. Although most businesses have written agreements with their workers that forbid them from working for anybody else, the pandemic reduced restrictions since many employees switched to working from home because it was challenging to keep track of them.

The USA, a tremendously productive nation, is where the idea of moonlighting originated, and it is now catching on in Europe and India.

Why are businesses worried?

Employees take on additional occupations to supplement their income, monetize their passion, develop their knowledge, and pick up new skill sets in related technological fields. However, due to their workers’ side jobs, businesses worry about productivity, data breaches, and conflicts of interest.

The staff’s productivity would also be a worry for the organizations since performing two tasks simultaneously might lead to exhaustion and burnout.

Trust concerns between senior firm leaders and other workers are becoming worse.

The executives will have the difficult task of evaluating these new gig jobs, and if employee productivity declines due to the moonlighting assignment, they will need to be constantly skeptical of it.

Why did moonlighting suddenly increase?

White-collar workers are increasingly moonlighting thanks to the work from home (WFH) operational paradigm that emerged following the epidemic.

Not Ready to Give Up WFH, but Ready to Quit

According to HR experts, Moonlighting is one of the reasons why many people are hesitant to return to work. If they are not permitted to work from home, many individuals would change employment or even resign.

What effects do moonlighting have on one’s career?

Moonlighting has several professional repercussions since it may impact an employee’s productivity, lead to safety and legal problems, and produce conflicts of interest. In their line of work, professionals have two primary legal obligations: a duty of care and a duty of loyalty. Moonlighting may jeopardize these obligations.

First, the duty of care is required under the law to carry out tasks safely to prevent injury. In other words, experts must use caution. For instance, a professional operating large equipment or piloting an aircraft has an apparent moral and legal need to focus on their task and do it successfully.

Professionals also have a duty of loyalty, which requires them to behave in their employer’s best interests and avoid conflicts of interest.

In other words, one must prioritize their business over oneself and rivals. Moonlighting results in disallowed actions like insider trading since it increases personal interests at the expense of a person’s firm.

Why is moonlighting an ethical breach?

Many businesses include confidentiality terms in the employment agreements combined with clauses barring multiple employments from preventing complications arising from someone with similar jobs. Any violations of the code of conduct would be handled by the disciplinary committee and deemed violations of actual policies.

What is the remedy for businesses?

A moonlighting provision in an employment contract is a negative covenant that prohibits an employee from working two jobs simultaneously. As a result, it prohibits accepting additional jobs while working for another company.

Public government jobs and a ban on moonlighting

Regarding doing two jobs, employees of public organizations may need to consult any agency rules or federal legislation. One example would be that it is illegal for workers of federal government entities to have two pay streams provided by the federal government. Most nations do not allow officials to have dual occupations.

Companies that use independent contractors permit moonlighting.

Food delivery drivers and other gig economy positions pay less than IT positions. Therefore, businesses like Swiggy have allowed their workers to work for other companies after official hours.

IT professionals with high skillset freelancer individuals also do it to earn quick money in dealing with softwares industry.

Karl Marx and Moonlighting

The idea of “estrangement” or “alienation” of work is described in Karl Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and is used to explain the ownership dilemma. Alienation is the worker’s separation from the outcomes of his effort in the first kind he mentions. Workers never really own the object they are making; instead, labor is always purchased and sold like any other commodity.

When people feel disconnected from the product and realize they can use their abilities to earn more money doing something else, they engage in moonlighting.

Self-directed work is fundamentally different from given work at a day job since it allows professionals to experiment, explore new ideas, and take risks. If company shares are provided, they will have less chance to moonlight. Non-alienated work, according to Marx, is essential for a sense of completion; in Wolff’s words, it “confirms [the producer’s] capacities.” One can work at a higher (rather than a minimal) level when one owns all of the results of their labor. One could also be more inclined to pursue unconventional pathways or take more risks than a group (or management) would allow.


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