Be transparent about working on the side

Featuring independent recruiter Beth A. Berk, CPA, CGMA

Video transcript:

If you’re considering doing consulting or some type of gig work on the side, and you’re currently employed, or you’re just doing a bunch of gigs right now and you’re looking to seek out permanent employment, I would suggest when you are applying for a job is to ask the question upfront in the cover letter, or even try to call into the HR department before you even apply at that point in time to find out if they have any policies that would preclude you from continuing on to do a particular assignment on the side. Sometimes with certain companies and depending on the level that you’re seeking a job, you’re going to have an employment contract that clearly spells it out. Sometimes it’s in the employee handbook. Some of the smaller to medium-size companies that may not have specific policies on this may have kind of an unwritten policy on it and they frown upon it, but yet it wouldn’t get you fired, necessarily.

However, I don’t think you want to go into a job and not stating that you’re doing some work on the side, and then they find out while you are at that job and it becomes an issue. And then you get let go for some reason or you’re having to force yourself to quit doing that gig and maybe you are in the middle of doing something, you maybe had a contract with the person who hired you to do that gig. So do know what you’re getting yourself into and make sure it’s not a problem for employers. I know and a lot of times I’ve seen in government employees, for instance, I believe certain government agencies allow people to have a side business, but I don’t know what the parameters are, necessarily, so the more information you can find out for the job that you’re applying to, the better for you to disclose it upfront. And if it’s something completely different than an accounting role, maybe it’s bartending or you like to be a DJ or MC at events, it’s very possible that even if a company has a policy against certain types of side gigs that maybe they would allow you to do that because they don’t view it as being as a competitive type of skill that you’re using for their business and it wouldn’t reflect poorly on the company should some of their clients happen to see you out and about, especially in the smaller communities.

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