Moonlighting, here, has nothing to do with either Moon or Lighting, yet, it has everything to do with the concept of how the moon shines by borrowing the glow from the sun.
Before diving right into the topic, let us go through certain news headlines that sent shock waves across the cubicles of the IT world recently:
- TCS COO Says Action For Moonlighting Can Ruin A Career, and Company Will Show Empathy – Outlook (Oct 17, 2022)
- IT industry could fall apart due to moonlighting: TCS’ Subramaniam – The Economic Times (Oct 17, 2022)
- Wipro fires 300 staff for moonlighting for other companies (Oct 10, 2022)
- After Wipro, Now Infosys Confirms Sacking Employees For Moonlighting (Oct 14, 2022)
Moonlighting refers to the practice of working a second (or even third) job outside regular business hours.
You may rightly ask – Why will employees work outside their regular hours? Any guess? Money? Mental Satisfaction? Skill enhancement?
They work after their normal 9 AM to 5 PM schedule on weekends, and the trend has gathered more wind recently (to be exact, after the COVID-19 work-from-home (WFH) working style). The practice enables the employees to earn some extra penny (one IBM guy bought a BMW with all those extra pence saved, so the penny is not that less of a penny after all.)
From employees’ viewpoint, more than one job, extra income, the realization of a side hustle, the scope for their skills, etc., sounds yummy and groovy. However, employers have a different cookie to chew. Employees who work for private businesses may be subject to company policies regarding more than one job through multiple earning working arrangements. While a few organizations may not want employees to work additional jobs, others do not care. The safe bet for employees working for public organizations is to check with agency regulations or federal laws concerning having more than one job at a time.
Employers are investing in employees, and employees are finding a better use for their skills. If employers cannot appreciate (money-wise) employees, they will find better ways of earning themselves. But what if these employees lose their primary job for moonlighting reasons? And they are!
What if the sun stops shining? Can the moon be lit by itself? What will happen to these employees when they get fired from their regular job while getting busy with additional income sources?
Or in other words, what about the employment opportunities one destroys while taking up more than one job and employer at a time?
The beneficiaries of moonlight are often companies with limited resources. For such employers, the (moonlighting) employees are willing to do the jobs while staying outside any long-term commitments and contracts, not demanding any benefits they deserve when they enroll in a formal employment contract and are real winners. These employers are getting their work done for a lesser expense.
Moonlighting employees declare such practices as skill development exercises. But employers claim that such practices are against the employment agreement these moonlighting employees signed while joining the company and even against the customers’ non-disclosure agreements.