Moonlighting: a friend to employees and a foe to business?
Wipro Ltd has fired some 300 employees for “moonlighting“.
The chairman of Wipro, Rishad Premji, who has been a vocal critic of moonlighting, said the company has no place for any employee who chooses to work directly with rivals while being on Wipro payrolls. He also equated it with “cheating” and called it a “complete violation of integrity in its deepest form”.
He said, “The reality is that there are people today working for Wipro and working directly for one of our competitors and we have actually discovered 300 people in the last few months who are doing exactly that.” And told that services have been terminated in those specific instances of violation.
Last month he tweeted, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple.”
The IT sector is completely divided on whether moonlighting is ethical or unethical.
Premji calls it “cheating,” while Tech Mahindra CEO C P Gurnani tweeted that it is necessary to keep changing with the times and added, “I welcome disruption in the ways we work.” This is a debatable concept which brings out many sides.
The firing of 300 employees fueled anger among the population and Twitter got flooded with tweets favoring moonlighting and people asking to be paid more due to high inflation.
What is moonlighting and why is it taking place in such large numbers?
Moonlighting is the practice of taking more than one job at a time without the knowledge of the employer. The second job could be on weekends, part-time, or night shifts, which do not coincide with the primary job’s timings, or could be a full-time job as well, but outside the normal business hours of the primary job.
Many reasons for employees switching to moonlighting include:
- Multiple sources of income: Financial experts and books on finance often teach us how important it is to have multiple sources of income. No one who is extremely wealthy has a single source of income, but rather several. So, if you’re capable of working at two, why not? As it is said, “extra money never goes out of style.”
- Passion: Money is not always the only reason to work on two jobs simultaneously. For some people, it could be “passion”. Some are so exhausted that they need something to get off the pressure in their minds. And since passion doesn’t pay bills, a source of income from a primary job becomes highly important for survival. It is disheartening to leave a passion for money.
- Contingency Plan: During the COVID crisis, there were a lot of people who were being fired from multiple private companies. Life is always unpredictable, and when you have family responsibilities on your shoulders, it can be frightening to lose a job. Therefore, to always have something on hand, a contingency plan could work.
- To gain new skills and expand one’s creativity: Some people moonlight because they are gaining some skills and having their creativity enhanced. Sometimes, part-time jobs can ignite our creative side.
- Explore a new career: There are people who are stuck in their jobs and want to explore another one without losing the one they have. For some, moonlighting could help them gain experience in something that can lead them to their final goal, but they currently lack expertise or knowledge in that career.
- Paying off debts: Some switch to moonlighting to pay off huge debts which they won’t be able to incur in their monthly primary source of income. With rising inflation, it becomes hard for not just the poor but the middle-classes as well to live a decent life.
Why no-two timing, no moonlighting?
Moonlighting can sometimes breach confidentiality, which can act as a threat to business. It can also be stamina-draining and can disturb the work-life balance of full-time working employees.
In India, unemployment is a very prominent issue, and because of people moonlighting, some disadvantaged people suffer as they don’t even get one job, which is unfair to them, as people moonlighting are eating their primary job as well.
Readmore- IT against Moonlighting: No Dual Employment