CNN has an article that I find extremely interesting... some employees are working two jobs at the same time. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. People are so used to multitasking nowadays that it's hard to imagine people not working two jobs at the same time. I'm not much different. A quick look at my browser shows that I have 23 Firefox tabs open at this moment. That's probably about the average for me.
I know at least two people who are working three jobs now. They have a full-time job that I suspect is near the six-figures and the nature of the work leads to downtime that can be used for the other two jobs. Is it ethical? That's a tough call. What if I told you that their employers say that they are more than just getting their job done - they are excelling? That is the case with the two individuals that I'm thinking of. Their other two jobs aren't exactly bringing in chump change either. I know that they are making them a combined two thousand dollars or more a month.
I've never been a big of fan of paying for someone's time at a flat rate. If one can do the same job faster or more efficient than someone else then that person deserves the same amount of pay - regardless of whether they can do it very quickly or not.
I feel stuck in the middle of this issue. I see three things that I can't quite resolve in my head:
- I think everyone should be looking to diversify their income streams. We don't have the benefit of pensions, and some of us may be justified in assume no income from Social Security. Your current job doesn't necessarily have to have any loyalty to you, but just their bottom line and their shareholders. People can develop these in their spare time, but let's look at #2 and #3
- I can't say that it's ethical to agree to give your time to another company and then work another job during that time. I see the problem being that we don't have a better metric for measuring "work performed." Time might be better than anything else as it's quantifiable, but it's surely not a standard measure for all people.
- There are the cases of start-up companies that have a culture of effectively making you work excessive overtime with no guaranteed pay. You may get stock options, but these are not necessarily worth anything (and you usually give up other benefits like 401k matching to get them). If you have such a job, it's going to be difficult or impossible to build other income streams.
As you can tell, I'm all over the place in this article. Perhaps some kind readers will have some insightful comments that will help put my Humpty Dumpty mind back together on this topic?
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