WWYD: A Job on the Side

Am I obligated to let my primary employer know if I take on freelancing work (be it career-related or just bartending or something) on the side? In my case, my non-profit office is open 8-4 but I sometimes have to travel and/or otherwise be available for work during nights and weekends. I am salaried, not hourly, and paid enough that I do not really need a side income to stay afloat, though it would be nice! And I am not in a field where having a second job is commonplace. WWYD? — E.

Unless it’s in your contract that you have to let your employer know about freelance work, your employer doesn’t need to know what you do during your free time. Just make sure the freelance work isn’t in direct competition with whatever you’re currently doing, and isn’t affecting your job performance. Otherwise, you don’t need to say, “I just want you to know that I hunt for deals in vintage stores on the weekends and sell the gems I find on eBay for extra cash.” Your boss probably isn’t interested in hearing that (though I am—I want to hear all about it!).

If I were you, I’d make sure the freelance work is flexible so that it doesn’t get in the way of you being available to work your regular job some nights and weekends. Bartending or hostessing at a restaurant is probably too structured, but freelance writing, babysitting or petsitting, tutoring, designing logos, focus grouping—whatever it is you can swing on the side—could be good options. Enjoy the extra cash!


Email me your WWYD experiences to me with “WWYD” in the subject line. See previous installments.




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