When you’re working as a freelancer, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day cycle of getting new clients, completing assignments and turning in invoices. If you’re not careful, though, you can easily break professional ethics by moonlighting without realizing it until it’s too late. Before you find yourself in this situation, consider the following ethical dilemmas of moonlighting professionals so that you can make better decisions as you work and plan your business moves accordingly. Ethical Dilemmas of Moonlighting Professionals

Who are moonlighters

Moonlighters are professionals who take on a second job to earn more money. The term comes from the idea that they work at night, or moonlight, as their primary profession. Moonlighting is typically done when an individual’s first job does not pay enough and they have another source of income to supplement it. Sometimes moonlighting is also necessary to make ends meet because many people lack essential benefits such as healthcare and retirement funds.

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The dilemmas

What does it mean to moonlight as a professional? Moonlighting is the practice of working a second job in addition to the one from your main profession. It’s quite common for professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors to work at two jobs; many need to do so in order to make ends meet. However, there are often ethical dilemmas that arise when you combine your two professions. For example, what happens if you have a conflict of interest with one client because of another client? Another dilemma may come up if an employer doesn’t want their employees to be moonlighting. Yet another might occur if the professional decides not to reveal their other profession when asked about their previous work experience.

Solution 1: Constrain When You Can, Expand When Necessary

One way to help avoid ethical dilemmas is to constrain your moonlighting as much as possible. If you can, find a job that will allow you to turn off the other one on nights and weekends. If that’s not an option, try to limit the time you spend on your second job so it does not interfere with work or personal obligations. When in doubt, talk to your boss or supervisor and get their opinion on what is appropriate for you. They may be able to offer guidance on how best to balance moonlighting activities with work responsibilities.

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Solution 2: Delegate as Much as Possible

This solution requires time management and delegation skills. You can’t do it all, so you have to figure out what is most important and delegate the rest. Make a list of tasks that need to be done, and then divide them into three categories: Essential, Important, and Nice-to-Have. Focus on doing the Essential tasks first, then work your way down to Important and Nice-to-Have tasks. Try not to let your own personal feelings about the task influence which category it belongs in. If you hate talking to people but know they need help with their mortgage payments, put that task under Important. Your client may not care if they get their loan, but if they lose their home, that’s bad for both of you. If you are working too many hours at your main job or moonlighting one day a week but neglecting things at home like cooking dinner or helping with homework (or vice versa), this is an issue.

Ethical Dilemmas of Moonlighting Professionals
Ethical Dilemmas of Moonlighting Professionals

Some final thoughts on making the most of your side projects

To make the most out of your side projects, it’s important to set expectations with your employer. Understand that there are always going to be some things that are more or less work. If you’re not sure if what you’re doing is worth it, try dividing your time and see if you like the balance better. If not, try cutting back your hours on one side project and see how that works for a while. It may be tempting to turn down certain side gigs because they don’t align with your professional goals, but moonlighting is an opportunity to explore new skills and interests. And who knows? You might end up finding a new career path!

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