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Can I take this side job without notifying my employer?

Friday November 15 2019

writing, typing, technology

Read the company policy, and note the areas where you need clarification. PHOTO | FABIAN IRSARA | UNSPLASH 

I am a young content writer. A publishing house recently approached me with an attractive offer to produce content for them. While my company’s policy doesn’t explicitly forbid us from engaging other publishers, I’m hesitant to sign the contract because I might get into trouble with my employer. How should I navigate this?

The best place to start is to establish what exactly your company policy says about this. The fact that you are hesitant means you sense that this is not entirely right. There are a few questions I would like you to consider as you think through this matter. There is an attractive offer awaiting you if you take the job, but is it better than what you are enjoying at your current job? If you were jobless, would the publishing house be interested in you or has your employer elevated your professional worth to a point where your work can attract other firms? The point is, establish where your loyalty is and protect it even as you look for freelancing opportunities elsewhere.

Read the company policy, and note the areas where you need clarification, then speak to your supervisor or HR manager about this before you commit to anything. Here are my thoughts and advice on how you could reassure them and get their nod to take the job.

First, reassure them that this part-time gig will not compromise your work. And if they allow you to freelance, avoid any situation that may compromise your productivity or quality of work because if this happens, your job will be at risk. Second, let your contact person know that you are neither idle nor underpaid. The appropriate way is to view this as an opportunity to enrich your career and broaden your experience. Third, explain to your employer that this is an opportunity to earn a little more money, which could lead to the achievement of the much desired financial stability, and that this will enable you concentrate on your tasks without much distraction. Fourth, seek to reassure your employer that you will not plagiarise or share any of his content with the new publishing company. Lastly, gather courage and ask for a review of your terms of engagement to allow you to freelance. This may give you the flexibility you need to engage in many more gigs. Some employers have no problem with their staff taking part time gigs such as this.

You will never know until you ask.

Finally as you enjoy your career and emerging opportunities, remember to balance your time well so that you can get adequate rest, spend quality time with family and engage in other constructive social activities even as you endeavor to create personal wealth. There is a quote that says: You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do. Aim at doing a good job.


Mwikali Muthiani - Managing Partner, MillennialHR (@MwikaliN; [email protected])