We all went through the lockdown and witnessed the world as we know it was thrown completely off balance. We are still recovering and readjusting to the new normal. Moonlighting or “side-hustle” as Gen-Z calls it, is the very tool for surviving the new normal.
Before we shift in favor or disapprove of the idea, let us settle on what moonlighting actually is. According to the lawyer’s network of India, it simply means holding another job during the working hours of your primary job.
So, if you are freelancing during your free time, it does not fall under moonlighting and cannot be used as a clause for distrust by the employer.
However, there is still a lot of debate about moonlighting being unethical and just outright wrong. We need to understand that working for a competitor company and moonlighting as a freelancer are two completely different things. If you are employed in an IT company and working as a freelance photographer, this cannot be considered unethical.
We need to understand that with the rising expenses and cost of living, it has become a necessity to utilize all the possible revenue options. We need to understand that moonlighting is the natural right of an individual because it supports an individual’s right to have a good and respectful life. The majority of employees moonlight to follow their passions and not just to seek an extra source of income.
There are many arguments that suggest that moonlighting reduces the productivity of an employee at work. However, according to psychologists, employees have a higher chance of reduced productivity due to burnout at their jobs, than as a result of moonlighting during their off hours. Another reason for moonlighting is that people feel a sense of security that they have a plan b. With widespread layoffs happening in all industries, having a second job becomes a safety net.
To conclude, moonlighting is the natural right of every individual and unless they are going against company policies, it is not unethical. Having a second job is more than just a necessity in today’s economy and it is time that employers start giving their employees the freedom to moonlight. An option to maintain the scrutiny is to include it in their policies and set out regulations for the same.
Dr. Ragini Sharma, PGDM (2022-2024).