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I graduated 8 months ago, got hired full-time a month later under a good boss. I enjoy the work and my co-workers (the company as a whole leaves something to be desired, but that's beside the point.) I was recently contacted by a recruiter looking for someone to do some part-time work. I met with the recruiter and started a positive dialog. If he offers me work I'd like to take it, and work non-business hours (~8hrs/wk, nights and weekends.)

How should I handle this with my full-time boss? Should I tell him? Not tell him? What's the generally accepted behavior in this situation?

P.S. I did a quick search and didn't find a pre-existing question about this, but if you know of one, by all means point me there.

EDIT: To clarify, I don't plan on hiding this from my boss if he asks. I'm wondering if it's considered rude to not inform him that I'm taking on additional work.

  • In some countries (like here in germany) this is more of a legal question. Can you legally keep this from your boss? (Which we can't answer because legal advice is a no-go) – CMW Jan 17 '14 at 20:18
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    @CMW, I'm not sure what the legal rules are here in the US. To clarify, I don't plan on trying to hide this from my boss, I'll be completely honest if he does ask me about it. More specifically, I meant "should I inform him that I'm taking on other work outside of regular working hours?" – Zach Johnston Jan 17 '14 at 20:27
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    Unless it's company policy (as it is at mine) that you inform and/or obtain approval, I don't think you have any obligation to do so. I would advise you to be careful, though, that you don't burn out :-) – Brian Warshaw Jan 17 '14 at 20:32
  • @BrianWarshaw +1 for "Not burning out." While the extra pay certainly wouldn't hurt, I'm pursuing this more as a networking opportunity. The part-time work would be for a company developing software for one of the largest hospitals in the world. – Zach Johnston Jan 17 '14 at 20:40
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Working for two companies at the same time

This isn't the same but a lot of the answers do apply:

  • Check anything you've signed - know what agreements you've made - this varies wildly.
  • If there's nothing, it's somewhat at your discretion.
  • You may want to talk to your boss about conflicts of interest and how you'll resolve them.
  • Not telling your boss means that you are quite certain that there will be no issue at all. No conflicts of interest, and no contractual reason why you can't.
  • The two companies are in completely separate industries, so I don't anticipate any conflict of interest issues. I'll re-read my contracts, thanks! – Zach Johnston Jan 17 '14 at 20:43
  • Yep definitely re-read your contract, I have found it not uncommon to see a clause that you will not do any other work for another employer without express permission of your manager. – Carson63000 Jan 18 '14 at 7:52
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If it's not written in your contract that you are not allowed to work another job ("moonlighting" is what it's called in the US), then you are not under any obligation to tell your employer. As a manager myself, I would prefer that an employee not mention this to me because I don't want to pre-judge them when they are sick or come in late. Things happen to us all (sick, bad traffic, etc), but if I know you're working at night, I might immediately assume you're coming in late because you're tired and then my bigger concern is whether or not you can perform the duties of the job you're doing for me. Telling your boss will just worry them.

If you're saying you can put in several hours each night and work weekend for several months and not burn out or not let it impact your day job, keep it to yourself and go for it. It will be great experience and a teaching opportunity to test out how well you can juggle and handle stress.

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If you have a fairly good rapport with your boss, and have shared other details of your life with him/her, then i would recommend you come clean and let the boss know about your interest in this other position. You should also share your reasons for doing so, and provide assurance that it will not affect your work or create a conflict of interest.

This way, if this does come into question by any one else, you have the approval from your boss and that will carry more weight to ward off any negative attacks from others in your organization.

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