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'Daylighting': Doing 2nd job at 1st job

April 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
You've probably heard of "moonlighting," which is working a second job at night to make ends meet. Now with the tough economy, more people aren't waiting until after hours to score some extra cash, a recent trend called "daylighting.""Daylighting" is the only way some workers can earn enough to keep their heads above water.

When Joe Johnson launched his own technology firm, he needed more money to pay the bills, so he snagged a full-time job as a systems engineer. But when no one was looking, he snuck in work for his own business, right from his desk.

"Picking up customer calls or handling Web design problems or maintaining our systems," said Johnson.

It's called daylighting, when employees work a second job while on the clock at their first. Workplace expert Liz Ryan says it's happening more and more these days. Why? Because people are either in fear with all the layoffs going on, or their paychecks are shrinking.

"A lot of full-time jobs don't pay enough for people to meet their bills," said Ryan.

"It's tough out there," said Johnson. "Everyone could use a little extra money for everything, and it's the easiest way to do it."

People work all kinds of second jobs from their desks, according to Brian Barry at the National Human Resources Association.

"Individuals have been running everything from catering businesses to wedding planning, e-trading, eBaying, separate engineering firms and, you know, it runs the gamut," said Barry.

Barry cautions, as you might expect, at most companies, daylighting is a prohibited.

"There's a lot of organizations that would terminate an individual for that," said Barry.

In fact, someone in Barry's own office was recently fired for working as a wedding planner while on the job.

Liz Ryan says along with the practical risk: "The other is ethical -- what do you feel comfortable doing? I don't think it's especially ethical to work for somebody else while you're at the desk on the job of your full-time employer."

Johnsons says he never shirked his duties and has no regrets. He didn't get caught, but was recently laid off due to budget cuts. He now works for his own business. He says, of course, protect your first job, but ...

"Sometimes you can fit both in and succeed at both ventures," said Johnson.

It's not just people working a second job while at work. Ryan says so many employees are nervous about being laid off that many are spending hours at work hunting for a new job.


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