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Would it be bad practice to use PTO to consult at a company I previously worked at on a project I lead? It would be a one day consultation.

Also, would it be a bad idea to reveal this to my current manager?

My old company and my new company are in different industries so there wouldn't be any direct conflict of interest (as far as I see).

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    I'm assuming you do not have a contract preventing this? – Erik Feb 1 '17 at 16:45
  • My contract only prevents me from sharing proprietary data/information. Does not mention anything about this directly. – cgage1 Feb 1 '17 at 16:53
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    Where I live, this would even be illegal (employees on PTO have the duty to regenerate. This can mean you go skydiving with exploding sharks, but you may not just work somewhere else as your normal job function). Care to add your jurisdiction? – nvoigt Feb 1 '17 at 17:03
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    @DavidK I think NVoigt meant depending on the jurisdiction same/similar role in different company would be forbidden. I believe that's the case in India. – Myles Feb 1 '17 at 17:22
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    @JoeStrazzere Indeed, that's Germany. It's not a single law, but something called "Arbeitnehmerpflichten" (duties of the employee) which includes the duty to use the paid days off (that are granted by law) to rest and regenerate. There have been court rulings that for example bungee jumping does count as rest and regenerate, but doing your job, either for your own company or paid by another is work. You could do it for a private project and that would be unclear whether it's legal and whether you enjoy it or not. But if you get paid for the same job you normally do... it's work. – nvoigt Feb 1 '17 at 21:03
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If you want to burn unpaid time or vacation on that, and your local laws and company and contract and conflict-of-interest concerns don't rule it out, it isn't unethical.

If any of those assumptions are false -- if you're doing it on the company's time or equipment, or if company policy and/or agreements you signed say you can't (which is generally the case for knowledge workers unless the company makes specific exceptions) , then it is indeed unethical. Unless you want to play you-bet-your-job and don't respect you own commitments, don't.

  • In most business dealings, there is no difference in ethics, morals, and legal. If you aren't legally restricted, and you aren't using company #1 resources for #2 or vice versa, then it is fine. Even if you have non-compete, it might be more disclosure than a problem. I've done this before for short-term contract work. I filed conflict of interest forms and was approved. – MikeP Feb 2 '17 at 15:56

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