I’m currently working a 1-year contract for Company A that’s set to expire at the end of July. Since all the projects I was working on have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic (and my contract can’t be renewed) I’ve really just been making busy work for the past 6 weeks.
I’ve discussed the situation with the project manager and he’s content to keep the contract going even though I’ve expressed to him that I feel guilty for getting paid such a large sum of money for doing what amounts to very little work. Since the contract will end before the lockdown does, it begs the question of what exactly I’m doing still working for them. Although I’m grateful to have a job as millions of others have lost theirs because of this pandemic, I’d have cut me loose a month ago if I were the manager in this situation.
Additionally, I’ve been made an offer for permanent employment by Company B with a tentative start date beginning of June. Despite the lockdown, they seem eager to get me started as soon as possible even though they admit they don’t know how this is really going to work with onboarding a new hire remotely.
My new boss has given me an idea of a project that doesn’t require a lot of tribal knowledge that he’d like me to work on until they figure things out. Interestingly enough, it dovetails perfectly with something I was already working on for Company A, so I’ve already done most of the leg work for it, and all I’d need to do is adapt it to Company B’s environment once I get acquainted with it. I don’t anticipate it will take that much work.
I’m pretty sure I can do both jobs simultaneously without mentally short-changing one or the other. But I’m not sure this is ethical to get paid for two jobs concurrently. It seems like one company or the other should “own” my time for those hours.
On the other hand, freelancers do this all the time and it’s not unethical at all as long as the price is known and agreed upon by both parties beforehand.
Both managers know about the other job, so I’m not doing this covertly. But company B wants me in the door sooner rather than later, and Company A wants to hold on to me as long as possible.
I can get away with billing less time to Company A, but Company B is a full-time salaried position. I can also discuss this openly with Manager A to see how he feels about it, but I don’t know Manager B well enough to tell if I could even broach the subject with him.
So is this something I should do? Bearing in mind, it would only be for two months tops. Also bearing in mind, I would immediately resign from Company A if at any point I felt like I wasn’t being faithful to my commitments. I wouldn’t want to jeopardize my new job.