In this day and age, we all want to maximize our time and our money-earning potential. One of the ways to do that is to work a second job, but is it a good idea? We answer all your questions below!
Is it legal to work two jobs at the same time? The quick answer to this often-asked question is: yes. You can work two jobs. Is moonlighting illegal? No, it is not. However, there’s more to it than you might think. Certain laws may prohibit you from working a second job, depending on your contract with your employer. But if you find out that you’re in the clear, moonlighting could be a lucrative and maybe even fulfilling way to make ends meet.
What is Moonlighting?
No, moonlighting isn’t just a detective comedy-drama from the late eighties. The US legal definition for moonlighting is “a term used to refer to holding a second job outside of normal workifng hours,” whether or not you actually do it by the light of the moon. And actually, according to the US Department of Labor, about 7-8 million Americans moonlight while working for a private employer. So it’s definitely something common to American people and the capitalist way of life.
One important thing to note is that moonlighting is still moonlighting whether it’s compensated or not. For example, if you’re a member on the board of a non-profit organization, your employer may consider that “outside employment,” even if you’re not getting paid.
Why Employers Care about Moonlighting
Why do employers care if you work a second job? There are a couple of reasons your job may have a no moonlighting policy. First, because working two full time jobs could affect your performance and productivity. There are only so many hours in the day, and if you’re coming in to your day job exhausted and worn out from your night job, your employer is not going to love that.
Your employer may also be worried about the use of company resources. It could violate your employment agreements if you use company equipment like a computer, phone, or company car for your other job.
But probably most importantly, working for another company could present a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest occurs when a party has competing loyalties due to their involvement in more than one organization. Your employer doesn’t want you sharing trade secrets or competing for their business. For example, if you were designing roller coasters for Walt Disney World but you moonlit as a designer for their competitor, Universal, that would be a conflict of interest. You could take your roller coasters designs from Disney over to the competition and give them the edge. Naturally, employers don’t want that. And that’s where Nondisclosure and Non-compete Agreements come in.
Moonlighting Employment Laws: Nondisclosure and Non-compete Agreements
A non-disclosure agreement, also known as an NDA, is a legal contract regarding confidential material or knowledge that organizations wish to share, but also want to protect. Once an NDA is in place, it protects any type of confidential information and/or trade secrets. Layman’s terms: don’t tell our secrets! A non-compete agreement, on the other hand, is a legal contract preventing an employee from entering a similar trade or profession which competes against their current employer. Layman’s terms: don’t work for our competition! Both of these agreements protect the company from the potential pitfalls of moonlighting by employees.
“The HR Specialist” provides this moonlighting policy sample:
If you’re thinking about moonlighting by taking on another job, be sure to check your employment contract and reach our to your company’s HR department if you have any questions.
Should You Work Two Jobs?
Now that we asked and answered the question “Can you work two jobs at the same time,” let’s ask the other half of that question: “Should you work two jobs at the same time?”
It’s definitely not something to be undertaken lightly. Managing two full time jobs takes planning, patience, and tenacity. It will likely leave you exhausted. Moonlighting is definitely not something to dabble in if you’re just starting out in your industry and learning the ropes. Once you’re rock solid on your first job, then is the time to ask yourself whether or not it’s worth it, whether the effort-to-reward ratio works in your favor.
If the answer is yes, then it’s time to find the right second job for you!
Best Moonlighting Jobs
Obviously, which moonlighting job is best suited to you is a very personal matter. You have to look at your skills, look at your time, and at all of the aforementioned legal issues. But we did some research into some legit side jobs that offer flexibility and low stress without a lot of required qualifications for you to check out.
Elderly Companion (earning potential: $10-$20/hour)
Before elderly folks need full-time, round the clock care, they could be at the stage in life where they’d just like a helper and companion. Imagine sitting with someone and listening to stories, or running out and doing a few errands for them. This is a great, humanitarian way to moonlight and earn some extra money.
Delivery Driver (earning potential: $10-$15/hour)
Delivery Driving is a great all-hours business that always needs new drivers. Whether it’s pizza or packages, you could be driving to earn extra income with very little barrier to entry.
Dog Walker (earning potential: $10-$15/hour)
Hang out with dogs and earn extra money? Sign me up! Many dog owners these days are turning to freelance dog walkers rather than expensive doggy daycare and this is an easy gig to get a hold of. Companies like Wag hire walkers nationwide, but you can also find local groups in your area.
Freelancer Blogger/Writer (earning potential: $10-$20/hour)
Hello from the person currently writing this article! You too could start a side hustle as a freelancer blogger or writer. With websites like Fivver.com, Freelancer.com , and Upwork, you could pick up some quick assignments to write whenever you have time.
Rideshare Driver (earning potential: $15-$35/hour)
In the age of Uber and Lyft, rideshare driving as a side hustle has really taken off. And with people needing rides at every hour of the day and night, this gig could really work with your schedule.
Babysitting (earning potential: $10-$30/hour)
Not just for high schoolers anymore! Families with young children are always looking for a mature adult to watch their kids and that could be you. If you love kids and have a good bit of patience, babysitting could be the perfect fit. Overnight babysitting jobs are especially lucrative. Your city probably has a local group online that staffs babysitters, so check it out!
Warehousing (earning potential: $10-$20/hour)
If physical labor is more your thing, check out some side work in a warehouse. With late night and weekend shifts available, you could do some simple tasks like stocking, assembling and picking in your off hours. Check out sites like com or wonolo.com to find a shift at a warehouse near you.
Hotel Night front desk clerk (earning potential: $10-$15/hour)
If you seek out the right kind of low stress hotel in need of someone to watch the front desk at night, this moonlighting job could be perfect for you. With simple duties like answering the phones and sending housekeeping where they’re needed, a night desk clerk has the potential to earn some solid money while also enjoying some downtime.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg that is moonlighting opportunities. There are plenty more out there. Just follow your strengths, interests, and your schedule and you’re on your way to securing a great second job as a moonlighter!
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