I accepted a new job at my company in a different department and have a new group and manager. This group does research on a different topic than my old role and I have a sort of technical communications role in the group now.

I accepted due to the fact that it was full time, much higher pay rate, and also fit my background well which is sort of a mix of technical roles, but also communications. My last role was as a field work tech which I valued because it taught me a lot of new skills, but it wasn't a very stable job with limited hours and also uncertainty of funds for future work.

I would like to continue assisting with field work occasionally (2/3 days a month) with my old supervisor since I find it to be very educational compared to my current position. Those days would be paid for by my old supervisor and I would not log hours with my new one. I am a little concerned about bringing it up with my new supervisor since I don’t want to make it seem like I am unhappy in my role and think it may be awkward asking to not “come in” to work so I can go work for someone else. What is the best way to ask my supervisor to do this? Or would it be inappropriate to ask in the first place?

  • Before you ask, you should first see what the workload is like for a couple of weeks, to see if they can really spare you. What about your previous surpevisor? Does this think this is a good idea? You should ask for his opinion on the matter. Apr 7, 2021 at 0:17
  • Was this initiated by you or your old boss? It makes a very big difference and depending on your new boss, it may be interpreted positively or negatively. I would err on not mentioning it if it is thought up entirely by you.
    – Nelson
    Apr 7, 2021 at 6:11

4 Answers 4


Awkward or not, this is a question that only your current supervisor can answer, as they are in charge of coordinating your work.

I don't think it would be inappropriate to ask. Simply bring it up with them in a positive and respectful way:

Hey boss, I'm excited for my new role here. I'm also wondering if it would be possible to work 2 or 3 days a month in my old role? My old supervisor there is on board.

  • Yeah i think youre right.
    – user74671
    Apr 6, 2021 at 17:44
  • 9
    I wouldn’t be so brief about mentioning it. This isn’t a normal/standard thing so some more buildup would be useful.
    – Kaz
    Apr 6, 2021 at 17:53

You can ask, but you should refine your pitch and try to find ways to make it palatable to your current employer.

If this were just a night/side gig, then you wouldn't necessarily have to involve them, depending on the laws in your location and your employment agreement. Some places have "no moonlighting" policies or "moonlighting only with permission" policies that seek to ensure there's no conflict between the jobs.

Unfortunately in this case there is a conflict built in, which is that you want 2-3 days a month to not work at your job to do that. If you are a shift/hourly worker then they can't schedule you as they want; if you are full time then you are what, planning on taking PTO for those days? (That's a lot of PTO).

You should ask "what's in it for them?" If the answer is "nothing" then why would they say yes? I'd try to put together a story about how you will make sure the impact on them is low (especially in terms of what days are scheduled), what they get out of it (you will learn things and be a more effective employee), and so on.

  • Right i get your points. Ill add that i dont interface with anyone during the work day except during a meeting twice a week so my schedule is completely flexible. I currently have been finishing all my work in less than 40 hrs a week and so have only been billing that many each week. The position was advertised as 30-40 hrs. My plan is to point out how it wont impact me getting my tasks done, and that I will make up work on weekends as necessary etc. but yeah they get no benefit except that i am a more knowledgeable employee albeit in somethinng that isn’t exactly applicable
    – user74671
    Apr 6, 2021 at 20:02

There are good answers already, but no one has addressed the risk.

Normally they have zero interest in your previous work, and they expect you to be fully committed. So this is unusual enough that it may have them searching for your replacement.

Within a company it's fairly normal for edge case or emergency situations where you have special knowledge or skills to temporarily help out. But apart from that, any such ideas should have been floated before taking the new role.

  • 1
    This is definitely the right answer. It would be a huge red flag if a newly promoted employee wants to continue doing his old work. If I was the manager, I am likely sending you back to your old job and going with the next candidate.
    – noslenkwah
    Apr 7, 2021 at 23:23
  • I agree this may be true in a general case however I do not work at a for profit company and was not promoted. My previous position was not full time and thus not financially secure, and we did discuss in vague terms thus possibility
    – user74671
    Apr 8, 2021 at 15:16

Reasons for:

  • Short term, for knowledge transfer for person taking over your old job
  • Make yourself available to the old group as a resource for the occasional "difficult cases", or as an exchange of favors between groups. Not the same as taking routine field tasks just because you enjoy it.
  • If there is an element of sales or sales-support -- this can justify almost anything, as long as the end result is produced. Occasional mini-projects of this type can be a great "cross-pollination" across group/dept lines for all involved IMO, build organizational cohesion, stimulate improvements in the workflow or product. Emphasis on occasional.

Reasons against:

  • Exactly as stated, takes time away from your new role
  • There may be a temptation to continue to feel some ownership of your old position's work product. Especially if you were there for a while and had everything just right, and now the new person may want to do things differently, repeat mistakes you made years ago, etc. Be careful to avoid this.
  • Another aspect of the above, the situation described could be a version someone going into a management role, who spends more time than they should "doing the work" (even if they are better at it), at the expense of organizing and developing their team and their projects, and developing themselves as a manager.

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