3 managers suspected their employees were working another full-time job but didn't fire them. Here's why, and what they did instead.
- Some employees are working two full-time jobs in secret to make extra cash.
- Employers who caught employees in the act shared how they responded.
Last April, the site Overemployed.com launched for people balancing two or more full-time jobs at once to swap tips and advice for juggling the workload between meetings or slow periods. The site now has more than 2,000 users, The Wall Street Journal reported, with some posting that they make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as a result of their double-dipping.
A 2021 report by the US Census Bureau said this trend was on the rise. Women were more likely than men to collect paychecks from more than one employer, the report found, and industries such as healthcare and social assistance topped the list of sectors where employees were doing double (or triple) duty.
Much of this extra work is done in secrecy, as employees fear losing their jobs if their manager found out they were handing in work to another employer while on the clock.
Insider spoke with three managers who caught their staffers double-dipping about how they handled it. Two discussed the situation with the employees, who ended up quitting their second jobs, and one said he was willing to be flexible for employees who showed a hard work ethic and still performed the job well.
'It usually is a red flag for serious trouble in an employee's life'
Josh Snead, the CEO of Rainwalk Pet Insurance, told Insider that he suspected that one of his employees had another full-time job after noticing a mistake in an email.
"The employee called me a different name in an email that he sent to me, and we didn't have anyone with that name working for us," Snead said. "At first I thought it was an honest mistake, but it kept nagging at me."
Snead's company generally accommodates people who want to do freelance or part-time work on the side — as long as they're not directly competing with Rainwalk or using information from the company to their advantage. But because he guessed that the employee had a second full-time role, his first reaction was concern.
"I don't think anyone wants to be working two full-time jobs, so when I've had this suspicion, it usually is a red flag for serious trouble in an employee's life," Snead said.
Snead said he set up a check-in conversation with the employee to address the issue and began by asking open-ended questions. It was here he discovered that they were in fact working another full-time job, though they were spending less than 40 hours a week on it.
"I mentioned that I had noticed him making a few more mistakes than usual at work and asked him if everything was okay, or if there was anything he wanted to tell me," Snead said. "The employee first seemed pretty nervous. It was clear he hadn't expected this to be addressed. I think he did feel some relief as the conversation progressed, though — it's a pretty big secret to be keeping after all."
After their talk, the employee ended up cc'ing Snead on an email chain that showed he'd quit his other job.
For Snead, this discovery wasn't all that surprising. "It's incredibly rare for employees to truly commit 100% to their main jobs," Snead said. "Even when they aren't handling another full-time job on the side, they still have families, friends, pets, and hobbies."
'I kept a log for a couple of weeks of every time I noticed a discrepancy'
Daivat Dholakia, the VP of operations at the regulatory-management firm Essenvia, told Insider of an incident where he suspected that an employee had another full-time position.
"I kept a log for a couple of weeks of every time I noticed a discrepancy in this employee's work log, attendance, or availability, and it gave me a pretty solid case when I did finally broach my concerns with them," Dholakia said. "It helped me identify a pattern and convince myself I wasn't making things up."
Essenvia doesn't allow employees to work a second full-time job at the same time that they're employed full-time with the company, Dholakia said. But it does allow staff to have a second part-time job or freelance, as long as it doesn't interfere with the employee's work for Essenvia.
As an employer, Dholakia believed that managers must "keep an eye" on their employees, even in the case of them working a second part-time job. "Occasionally, you'll find that a part-time job can interfere with their regular duties — not always, but it's something to keep in mind," he said.
After documenting his suspicions for several weeks, Dholakia discovered the employee indeed had a second full-time position — so he initiated a conversation with them about it.
"This made it nearly impossible for the employee to be able to lie," Dholakia said. During the talk, he said, the employee indicated that they felt like they needed extra money for a specific reason, but they were exhausted from working two jobs, even for just a short term.
As was the case with Snead's employee, Dholakia's employee quit the second job, and they're still with Essenvia today.
"Once they quit their second job and focused on their regular duties with us, they ended up with a raise after about six months," Dholakia said, adding that he considered this a good example of the "grass is greener" phenomenon.
"Often, employees think that getting a second job can deliver quick cash, when in reality, if they just focused more on the job they already have and increased their performance there, they could get a raise out of it — without the exhaustion that comes with a second job," Dholakia said.
Instead of firing the employee for having a second job, Dholakia decided to give them a second chance, as well as the opportunity to decide which job they wanted instead of choosing for them. He said he's glad he did. As a result, the VP said, the person is now one of his best employees.
"Employees are going through things that management doesn't always know about," Dholakia said. "Many people don't feel comfortable reaching out for help and will try to solve issues themselves. It's understandable, and treating them with empathy is the best course of action, in my opinion."
'That kind of worker is an asset, not a vulnerability'
Brandon Adcock, the CEO of the men's health and wellness brand Nugenix, told Insider that when he learned of a salesperson on his team who had another full-time job, rather than issuing a punishment, he worked with the employee to provide a more flexible schedule.
"The direct supervisor called a meeting with the employee, and they outlined a schedule to make sure there was no overlap between his two jobs," Adcock said. "The employee split his time by working one job in the mornings and one in the evenings."
Adcock said that while he didn't remember the exact details of the employee's schedule, his recollection of the final result was that the employee began working six days a week but had their daily hours reduced so that they stayed under 40 hours a week.
"This particular employee had stellar performance, plus his second position was no conflict of interest, and this was during the pandemic," Adcock said. "I didn't feel it was right to punish someone for good work ethic and ambition, especially in turbulent times, and ultimately, the rest of my management team agreed. But we still wanted to ensure that no work was being done for another company on our time."
Adcock said that he understood the concern of employees potentially stealing company time to work for someone else or slacking off on duties. But he said he felt the signs of a "disingenuous employee" were fairly obvious if management was vigilant about tracking performance.
"The most important measure of a good employee is their performance, and this young man was able to outperform coworkers, even while working a second full-time position," Adcock said. "That kind of worker is an asset, not a vulnerability."
Adcock said that the biggest lesson he learned was that "a little empathy goes a long way."
"We retained an impressively ambitious and valuable employee," he said, "and even in times of conflict, we proved that our management team is capable of making complex decisions that prioritize a positive relationship with our employees."
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