This is a weird situation and a throwaway stack account to protect me. I'm looking for some advice from you all to help organise my thoughts.
- I'm a software engineer that works/worked for a government funded, non-profit engineering company (Company A) for the last 10 years
- Working conditions at A have been bad for the last couple of years and have led to a negative feedback of No promotions > non-competitive salaries > people leaving > increased workload on remaining staff > no hiring or promotions > ...
- I stuck around long enough to essentially be "vital" for several company products. Hoorah for being the last one left holding the bucket...
- I'm personally invested in having some of these projects continue being successful. They're generally a public good.
- I've become fed up with Company A and took a 1 year contract at Company B for a 50% pay increase. This was about 6 months ago.
- In order to keep the lights on at Company A until they could find a replacement I've agreed to help out here and there, after hours, until they could get some more staff in place. Generally this is providing experience/knowledge to the junior staff and maybe doing some high level reporting or tech support. Nothing too time intensive but is saving large amounts of effort for the juniors left at A.
- The work load at A has been steadily dropping off as the juniors are becoming more capable. Some of the projects have also ended.
- I've been told that they're happy to keep paying me at 100% since they expect me to return to Company A after the contract gig at B ends.
I'm in two minds about this... On the one hand my boss, and her boss, are happy with the situation as long as I don't go advertising it to other people. I've also been underpaid for a good few years so "I'm getting mine" now. Since I'm not really the one in power here I don't think it's legally a problem. On the other hand I don't think I'm really doing enough work to justify getting full pay from A and B. I also don't think I want to return to A after my contract since there's no indication that the work environment has improved at all and B is talking about extending the contract.
I suppose what I'm asking is are there any risks to my professional career that you can see that I haven't identified here? This doesn't seem too far from a consulting gig except that everything is agreed privately rather than in black and white. It would also be quite nice to keep the door open at A just in case any extensions from B don't materialize.
EDIT: Company A has a policy that outside work must be declared. The manager and higher manager are aware that I'm working at 'B'. HR is also aware. Company A has incredibly onerous bureaucratic systems so anything that is a little weird is undoable. That's the main reason that my working at B and still getting paid is a "casual" thing.
Company B is new and doesn't really have any policies for this. I mentioned that I would be doing consulting in the interview and they were happy as long as it was outside work hours. I've been very careful to keep things out of office hours, and have clocked out (and informed B's manager) when there have been emergencies at A that required immediate attention.