I was working together with a freelancer on a project here in my company for about 18 months. As he had some knowledge, that no one here had, this work was very educational for me (and in certain cases for him). Interpersonal we got along very well.
I mentioned in a Smalltalk, that I am interested in another technology, that we both do not master. I told him about my plans how I want to learn this. It came out, that he has a quite similar problem and offered me a side job, so that we both struggle through this new material in a team. We both know that, as being a newbie, a serious side income for me is not our focus. It will be more something like a “community study” with some participation fee.
I am bound to indicate any side incomes to my employer. I have not seen any problems or conflicts for an agreement, because this new task would be a program in a health service environment and I am working in the industry. But as I talked to my boss, he looked somewhat puzzled. He said that he will not (and cannot) forbid this, because I just have to indicate this side income, but do not need an agreement from him. But he does not recommend this. He fears that there might be situations in future where others may ask if I always can separate these tasks or if I can prioritize my tasks in times of heavy workload and/or trouble. He explicitly mentioned that he does not think that this will ever be reality, but if I/he/whoever needs to start explaining about some rumors, this can lead to a bad taste and in a loss of reputation for me here in my company.
Here is my dilemma:
- Learning this technology would complement my skills and widen my view for future projects.
- Working on a concrete project does significantly increase my knowledge.
- It won’t be possible to make a project here with this technology as there is nothing in sight soon. May be this will be interesting for this company in 2 to 7 years from now. But I want to become prepared and recommend myself for new projects.
- I want to keep on learning and not become rusty.
- I do not want to annoy my boss by just ignoring his recommendation.
Our discussion is suspended and we want to talk about this on another day this week. How can I prepare myself for the next round in this discussion?