The Dark Side of the Moon(lighting) Policy

A friend sent me an article recently detailing things to avoid when considering a new job. Among the things it listed was moonlighting policies. I found this interesting since I had recently stumbled onto several other articles in the HR press (yes, there is such a thing – stop snickering) that also spoke to these policies and why companies needed to get rid of them.  

To my knowledge, I have never worked for, or with, a company that either: (a) had a moonlighting policy, or (b) considered having one. So without the benefit of another perspective I have never understood the rationale behind these policies in the first place, or at least not the business rationale. For me the only true benefit is that they give the boss some feeling of authority over his or her subordinates outside of the workplace, but of course no one is going to openly admit that. I don’t need any fingers to count how many times a manager has called me and said “I want to implement this policy because I want to control my employees beyond these four walls and beyond their scheduled work shift,” but obviously someone, somewhere has taken the initiative to do so; otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about why we have policies that address things like moonlighting in the first place.

OK, so maybe I am being a little unfair here. Perhaps there are other reasons besides just the boss’ need to overcompensate for their general feeling of lack of power outside of work. Perhaps they had an employee who held down a second job and came in tired all the time and it affected their work. My advice? Try sitting down with the employee and letting them know that you are paying them to perform a job and that their work is slipping and that while you don’t care what they do outside of work (or at least you shouldn’t) so long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you are paying them to do. It might not be rocket science, but that doesn’t make it easy…

Am I wrong here? I would be happy to hear from you:

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