Tricky question from an interiorscaper

pepperomiaJanuary 17, 2008

I am an interior plant maintenance technician. I recently relocated to a new city and although I sent out my resume to two different companies in my new hometown, I was only initially able to get part-time (15 hrs/week) employment with one of them. I like my new boss, we get along well, and my (few) accounts are great. But it's not very many hours. I've been working for her for four months now, and yesterday I finally got a response from the other company in town offering me an interview for another part-time position. I have seen a couple of the accounts this second company maintains, and while they are not up to the professional standards of the company I currently work for, there are MORE of them.

A few questions:

Is it ethical for me to work for both of these companies simultaneously, especially if they are each only able to offer me part-time work? Naturally, I would not be hiding this fact from either employer, so they would both have to agree to it - I suppose the main reason I'm asking is: If I were to propose this plan to my current employer, would she think I was absolutely nuts?

Do I have an obligation to speak to my current boss about this first, before even feeling out the prospective employer about wages/hours offered, etc? It wouldn't look very good to my current boss if I came to her and said, this is how much they'd pay me, this is how many hours they'll give me - although my husband says this would be a good bargaining chip to get more money from her, and a promise of more possible hours in the future.

I appreciate any responses you all may have. I really don't want to leave my current job, but I don't want to miss a good opportunity, either.

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gonativegal(zone 5a)

I don't know if I'd call it unethical to work for two companies - sometimes this is referred to as moonlighting but as long as you're not required to sign something prohibiting concurrent employment in a similar industry then it's your business not theirs.

I just think it's not smart to work for the two at the same time. If you're doing this strictly to help pay the mortgage then I'd just look for a full-time position or wait it out at your current position and see if you can get more hours and in the meantime get an additional part-time job doing something else in the hort industry or a different job altogether.

From personal experience (in another field) more hours and salary is not necessarily a better thing especially if you have a good repoire with your current boss. She could be the sort of person that could make a good mentor (you mentioned she had higher standards then the other company) which is especially helpful if you decide down the road to go into business for yourself.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 2:54PM
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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

Use it for leveraging, of course. Tell your current employer that your considering a second part time gig with his competitor, since you're not full time. Maybe that'll be just the kick in the rear needed to get you on-board full time.

If it doesn't work, just be honest upfront during your interview with the new company. Informing them both, from the beginning will give you a clean conscience, at the very least.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 3:35PM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

As long as you are upfront with both of the employers, I don't think it is unethical.

I would go on the interview first, explain that you already have a part-time job with another company, see what they will offer you.

Then go to present employer, explain that you really need more hours and this second job is available, you'd prefer to get more hours with your existing job, but if not, you want to take the second job, and are they OK with that?

If you didn't sign some sort of noncompete agreement with employer #1, you really have the right to take the second job. Although I would be a bit leery about the low standards of company #2. However, you can always start working for them, see how it goes, and leave if it drives you nuts.

Good luck!

I'm a tech too - email me if you want to chat!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 7:58AM
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