Moonlighting: Should you tell your boss?

July 5th, 2009

When fitness buff Amanda Furgiuele began teaching pole-dancing classes after work two years ago, she didn’t broadcast it to colleagues at her day job as a television producer.

“Although I know that pole dancing is a legitimate fitness pursuit, most people still refer to it as ‘stripping class,’” said the Maui, HI resident, who has never worked as a exotic dancer and does not allow nudity in her classes. “I was kind of worried about the social stigma. I didn’t want to appear unprofessional.”

Despite her discretion, it didn’t take long before Furgiuele’s coworkers found out.

“One of my student’s cousins was my office manager,” she said. From there, it was only a matter of minutes before her evening occupation was laid bare before the entire office.

“After a thorough round of teasing and a few moderately inappropriate comments, it’s mostly smoothed out at my day job,” Furgiuele said. “I’m glad everyone knew me as a person before they knew my ‘other profession.’ I’m not sure they would have been so understanding had they thought of me as a pole dancer first.”

According to a January survey conducted by The Daily Beast, 23 percent of those polled have more than one paying job. Some said their second job was a hobby that had morphed into a money-making operation. Others said they needed the extra income.

So does the fact that we’ve become a nation of cash-strapped moonlighters mean that your employer will support your after-hours vocation? Or could fessing up that you’ve been serving cocktails, driving a limo or designing canine outerwear on the side jeopardize your reputation, or worse, your day job?

The short answer is, it depends. [Read the rest at]

Entry Filed under: Balance,Overworked and underpaid,Popular articles,This freelance life

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ananda Leeke  |  July 6th, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing this informationl. It was very helpful.

  • 2. GeekMBA360  |  July 7th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    I would say “no” — if you’re doing your moonlighting job outside your work, why should you tell your boss? It’s your own life and second career. It has nothing to do with your primary job.

    To avoid any potential legal issues, I think folks should not to tell their boss about their moonlighting jobs.

  • 3. Liz  |  July 10th, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Great article–I work from various locations around the world, and I find that the less information I share with my boss, the less worried he is. I’d rather have him focusing on the work at hand rather than worrying about where I am at the moment or if he’s going to lose me to the call of freelancing. (although the latter isn’t that far from the truth…)

  • 4. Kimberly Gauthier  |  July 10th, 2009 at 8:28 am

    I love this story. I loved the class that I took; I need to look up the instructor and take another.

    When I decided to turn my pet photography into a business I shared the news at work and quickly learned to keep work separate from my business. I won’t take on coworkers (or their friends/family) as clients. It’s made life a lot less complicated and it gives me an easy and reasonable out when I’m approached at work for my photography.

    I did experience two funny things from coworkers. One told my boss that I was using work hours to work on my “little business” and it was causing her dept extra work (totally untrue). Another coworker seemed to think I was using a camera phone or a disposable phone for my business and didn’t understand why I thought that would earn money.

    I still laugh when I recall these situations.

  • 5. Working Girl  |  July 10th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve done a ton of moonlighting in my life and never kept it a secret. Working two jobs was exhausting enough, I thought, without going to the effort of deception.

    But Liz and GeekMBA do have points. And in theory, your time off should be your time off, and you should be able to do whatever you want with it in privacy. I would just keep in mind that stuff like this has a way of coming out. Be ready.

    Whether or not you (try) to keep job #2 private the most important thing is that the boss at your “real” job knows that he/she is #1. Everything you do/say should prove it. Then I think you should be okay.

  • 6. The Ripe Tomato Awards: 1&hellip  |  July 13th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    [...] levity and experience to the world of freelancing—whether you walk dogs for a living or teach pole-dancing classes.  Since I wear many freelance hats, Goodman’s wit is [...]

  • 7. Raimonda  |  November 19th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I think you do not have to tell your boss about second job.But sooner or later it will come to the surface.If the boss value your talents,he will come up with something to make you stay at your full-time job.
    From my experience,you need to find a second job if:
    1.If companies values do not match your own values.
    2.Feel that you ar not learning anything new from your full-tme job and wish to expand your horizons.
    3.To try new opportunities that could eventually lead into something great.
    4.You have a controlling and immposible to please boss (if he suspects you have another job that means that you have a plan B and that you are in control of your life,not him.This way he loosepower over you and finally leaves you alone).

  • 8. chris  |  January 24th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Im a tattoo artist at a very big name shop as my full time job and love it but as times are getting tougher i am wondering if i should pick up another tattoo job at a shop in another county on my days off from the primary shop. should i tell my main boss of this decision or just go for it.

  • 9. Michelle Goodman  |  January 29th, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Chris, depends on the policy at work. Is there a rule against working for competitor shops? Is a shop in another county even considered a competitor? Since your work requires you to be physically (and visibly) present, I’d assume your boss will eventually find out if you get a job at another shop. So you probably want to be out in the open with this.

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Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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