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I currently work remotely for an international company.

A clause in its contract states that I should not have any other job.

But now I was just called to assume a civil service position I applied to a long time ago, and, even though it's not mandatory, I would like to try it out for just a month or two so I can decide which one I prefer. At the end of such period I would decide which one to quit. But if I do, I'm violating the clause of my current contract.

So I'm at a loss. What are reasonable courses of action here? I'm afraid that if I tell my hesitation to my boss or HR I'll just be fired.

Additional context (please comment if more is needed):

  • In my country, civil service does allow one to have other jobs. (In response to comments, I have double-checked this.)

  • If I take the civil service, then my name will appear in a publication of my country's official journal. Although my company would hardly even know about that journal's existence, it will be easy to find it if they put my name in a search engine.

  • Civil service job is purely bureaucratic, a real no-brainer, so it shouldn't interfere with my current job in the short run (as I said, I'd only like to try it for a month or two maximally and then decide which one to quit).

  • The services executed in each job bear no connection whatsoever (so no competition or interest conflict etc.).

  • Both are full-time positions.

  • Though I like my current job, it is quite demanding some times, so that is why I'm considering the civil one. Gregory Currie got it right:

    Some people actually just want a 9-5 job that is simple and puts food on the table. So while a bureaucratic may be boring for some people, the simplicity is a boon for others.

    and since that is civil service I can't just be fired without a very good reason, so it also brings me stability.

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    It's hard to tell what the consequences are as you haven't included a jurisdiction. May 3 at 1:26
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    If civil service is a full time position, it will surely not allow you to hold another full time job, does it? I mean you live in a country that has labor laws, right? You cannot legally work 16+ hour days as an employee.
    – nvoigt
    May 3 at 5:43
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    @nvoigt In Australia for instance, which has pretty employee-friendly labour laws, in law, you are not restricted from working two jobs, nor is there any restriction to the numbers of hours you may work a week. May 3 at 6:04
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    @GregoryCurrie That is not employee friendly. That is enabling exploitation and therefore employer friendly. That's what I mean by labor laws. They are supposed to protect people. Working two full time jobs is possible by either defrauding employers by not actually working 8 hours a day, or by cheating the healthcare system by working yourself to an early grave and then expecting the public to step in and pay for it when you collapse. Where I live, to do that you must be self employed, so the risk is on you, not on the public.
    – nvoigt
    May 3 at 6:11
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    Even if you can legally hold two jobs and don't care about work-life balance, how do you plan to physically perform the responsibilities of both when at least one can't know about the other? Are the hours going to be flexible enough for you to do this? May 3 at 15:37

4 Answers 4

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A clause in its contract states that I should not have any other job.

If the clause says you cannot have another job at the same time, then you'd be in breach of contract with your current employer if you try to do both jobs at the same time.

Depending where you are you could ask for a sabbatical period from your current job. This would be unpaid, and give you the opportunity to do something else for a defined period.

However, doing it to "try out another role" could be a red flag to your current employer. You'd be part of their headcount, they'd potentially need to hire a temporary replacement (who generally cost more in the short term, especially with training), and you could decide at the end of your sabbatical to take the civil service role permanently, which means your current employer having to replace you permanently.

If you choose to ask for a sabbatical, be prepared for it to be declined, and be prepared to do all you can to salve any concerns your employer might have. Put together a list of what you want, their possible responses, and have responses to their responses/questions ahead of time.

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What are reasonable courses of action here?

It would be reasonable to accept the new job and quit the current one. It would be reasonable to decline the new job and keep the current one.

Trying to hold your current job while "trying out" the new one appears to be a violation of your contract and is not reasonable.

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I don't think it is a good idea to work on 2 jobs like these at the same time. The first reason is that you would violate the agreement with the private company as you already wrote. The second reason is that you won't be able to dedicate 100% of your energy and aspirations to both jobs at the same time.

Is this civil service job mandatory or not (for example, young men in some countries are required to serve in the military for a few years) ?

  1. If the civil service job is not mandatory, and you already describe it as "Civil service job is purely bureaucratic, a real no-brainer", then it does not seem you enjoy the job that much. Why would you even want to try such a job if you don't love it that much ? Just pick the job you love the most and go with it.
  2. However, if the civil service job is mandatory, you have to serve that mandatory job regardless of how much you love the current job in that private company (unless you can defer that civil service for a few years, depending on your country laws). If you can't defer the civil service, the best solution is to tell the company the truth, and quit that private job. Then, after you finish the civil service, you can either apply for the job at this same company again, or at some other companies.

Edited: BTW, I am not saying civil service jobs are bureaucratic and boring. Many people enjoy and take great pride in these jobs. Everyone has his/her own preference.

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  • Just on point 1, and I don't mean this in a derogative sense at all, but some people actually just want a 9-5 job that is simple and puts food on the table. So while a bureaucratic may be boring for some people, the simplicity is a boon for others. May 3 at 3:17
  • @GregoryCurrie, That is a good point. Also, some people may have simple and bureaucratic jobs during the day. But, during the evening or on the weekend, they can work on their own highly creative and inspirational projects such as art, music, etc... May 3 at 3:42
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I would suggest to check your current contract provisions regarding unpaid leave of absence

IMHO, if you absent without pay, you sort of suspended

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