Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Working 2 (or more) Jobs

I've been too busy to post this month because of my second job. I'm on full time training for 2 weeks and then work full time for 3 weeks before going part time.

At the same time, I had some units dribble in from a third line of work. That means drawing up invoices and settling up accounts. Mad props to GNUCash, which helps me keep track of my business accounts. I love the cashflow, and dealing with the paperwork of receipting income never seems to be a hassle, but it does take time.

I've also been asked for advice on conflicts of interest in employment situations. All while coincidentally pondering if - given the above - any of it applies to me!


Most people who work 9 to 5 for one employer will never have to worry about conflicts of interest, and most employment contracts (prudently) expect employees to disclose potential conflicts.

But for those with significant other interests outside work, when does an interest cross the line between 'hobby' and 'potential conflict'? Many are understandably reticent about disclosing their out-of-work activities to work precisely because they wish them to remain separate. If you're anything like me, the less said about other lines of income, the better, lest an employer take it into their heads to dictate what an employee does outside work.

My understanding is that a potential conflict can arise when there is a real possibility that an activity external to the task at hand could influence the way the task is performed. That is not just limited to second jobs and office-bearing interfering with work. It includes large commissions paid for selling financial product. It also includes favouring one client over another.

Most employers nowadays recognise that an employee has a life outside work. Ultimately too, there would have to be borderline corruption for a conflict of interest dismissal to be considered 'fair'. A singular fact of non-disclosure - in my opinion - would not cut it as a reason for dismissal. So it should be fairly safe to open up to your boss, supervisor, or team-leader, and disclose away. Employer and employee can then work to manage those potential conflicts.

But that is truly 'do as I say', not 'do as I do'. Maybe one day I'll let my revenue streams in on my other revenue streams.

Perhaps when I'm less busy.

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