Q: I have a small side hustle and although it doesn’t affect my normal working hours or quality of work, my supervisor seems unhappy about it. Now, she complains every time I take a few moments during my lunch break to attend to my clients. She has never talked to me or my colleagues about it, but her actions show that she is displeased with me. What should I do? I need the extra money and this job too.
Your side job may be small, but you are so brave in your pursuit of success. I admire your courage. There are many people out there, including your boss, who have great ambitions, but lack the courage to work towards achieving them. When you took this job, you had a specific goal in mind. Perhaps you needed a salary to make ends meet, an opportunity to hone your skills, or even to fit in with society or fulfil your family’s expectations. Whatever the goal was, you have to stay focused until you achieve it.
Your job helps you earn some income, but instead of whining, you have found a way of raising more money. Do not let your boss kill your dream. Employees with side hustles are usually focused and productive, but are sometimes envied by their colleagues and bosses.
To tackle this issue, you have to ensure that you do not compromise your productivity, and that you give your job full attention within the expected hours of work.
You have not stated the kind of industry you are in, but it is wrong to use your employer’s office to attend to your clients. How you spend your lunch break is entirely up to you, but your employer expects you to get some food and rest so that your productivity is not impacted negatively.
If you spend your lunch break attending to your clients, you may not have enough time to do this. If, on the other hand, you order a meal and eat at your desk outside the lunch break, you will certainly run into trouble with your boss.
If you abide by all this to no avail, consider approaching your boss. You could say, “I have a keen interest to pursue a professional course in my work, and I have a side hustle to fund my studies. I assure you that this will not affect my productivity in any way, but I thought I should let you know so that you do not have to hear it from others.”
This way, you will open a door for her to share any concerns she may have, and you will be better placed to make the right decision. Please note that telling her “I do this because you do not pay me enough” will come out as rude and may be interpreted as blackmail. Pay rise discussions are structured differently, and should be merit-driven.
Mwikali Muthiani - Managing Partner, MillennialHR (@MwikaliN; [email protected])