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Office Life

Watch out for these 4 downsides of moonlighting

Looking at moonlighting to boost your income? It may seem like a great way to earn some extra bucks, but be aware there may be some drawbacks, especially in the personal side of your life.

Men and women who moonlight a second job are just as productive and engaged as their one-position counterparts, but according to a new study from Ball State University, led by Ball State’s Bryan Webster, Ph.D., a management professor, moonlighting may lead to family conflict — possibly due to the number of hours spent outside the home.

Work-life balance may be an issue

In the Ball State study, it was cited that dual jobholders don’t report lower levels of work engagement at the second job compared to the primary job, but conflicts may arise on the home front. “In general, it appears that dual jobholders are able to perform as adequately as their single job holding counterparts,” Webster says. “However, dual jobholders reported higher levels of work-family conflict as compared to single job employees.”

Dual jobholders work an average of 46.8 hours per week as compared to the average American employee who works 38.6 hours per week. Less free time mean less time for family.

Workers may not prioritize primary job over moonlighting

Across a series of three studies, says Webster, two important findings were learned. First, moonlighters appear to exhibit the same amount of work engagement at their primary job that they exhibit at their second job.

“This suggests dual jobholders do not prioritize one job over the other,” he explains. “This finding studied moonlighters from an array of jobs such as ministers, network analysts, and physical therapy assistants.”

Secondly, across a sample of bartenders and a sample of teachers, it was found that moonlighters exhibit the same levels of work engagement, job performance, and citizenship behaviors (i.e., “going the extra mile”) as single jobholders.

That second job may drain your stamina

Moonlighters, or those thinking about undertaking a second job, may need to consider the effects a second job will have on their lives outside of work in the form of time, attention, and energy devoted to family life outside of work, Webster says. With fewer hours at home, and more mental and physical demands, this devoid in energy can take a toll you.

Consider the risks to your career

Career analyst Laura Handrick of FitSmallBusiness.com says although moonlighting is great for extra income, she recommends to clear it with your employer, as you may be risking your day job.

“Many employers provide clauses in their employee handbooks that require you to disclose any work outside your primary job,” she says. Handrick says once they know that you’re working two jobs, they may be concerned you may not be giving full attention to your daytime position. “Then, your coworkers know that too and may resent that you’re not 100% focused on your day job.

“Your coworkers may also resent that you’re earning money on the side, and may feel that you’re doing so at their expense, or at the expense of the company. Even more, she says your employer may also be reluctant to share customer or other information with you as they may worry about their proprietary information getting into other’s hands by you. Be sure to check what your company’s policy is regarding moonlighting.

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