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Moonlighting is not always rewarding

By | June 26th 2009

By Maore Ithula

In the wake of economic slowdown, those in formal employment are prone to work for more than one employer — either by moonlighting or freelancing.

"People will take a second job for many reasons. Some walk this road because they want to switch careers by improving their skills while earning more," says Mr Ben Murage, a human resource manager in the hospitality industry.

Taking a second job, says Murage, is referred to as moonlighting, while freelance workers are professionals on call. The latter are like consultants.

Mr Mugambi Baikwinga, a human resource practitioner, says: "Moonlighting and freelancing is common when employers retrench or reduce salaries."

Extra Money

Despite the merits, there are shortcomings too.

"By taking up a second job, one earns extra money, minimises risks of becoming desperate in case of retrenchment, and helps one to exploit other hidden talents," says Murage.

But Baikwinga says moonlighting can be a career killer.

"By taking up a second job while keeping another, the worker is exposed to the likelihood of revealing an employer’s secrets to a competitor."

Another disadvantage is reduced productivity because the employee’s attention is divided and cannot meet deadlines from two masters.

Freelancers are perceived to be disciplined because their income is not regular.

However, freelancers are vulnerable to instant dismissal, especially during times of economic difficulties.

Other challenges that freelancers face include lack of terminal benefits and other benefits like medical cover.

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