update: I’m working 2 full-time remote jobs — is this unethical?

Remember the letter-writer who was working two full-time remote jobs and wondering if it was unethical? Here’s the update.

I wrote to you late last year about how I was working two full-time director level jobs and was debating the ethicality of doing so. I’ve seen a lot of requests in comments for updates so here it goes.

I’m still working both jobs. I’ve outlived both of my hiring managers who have left for new roles (one within the company, the other to a different company) and have received positive (meets or exceeds) performance reviews at both jobs. I’ve even received a performance-related raise at one of them.

To clarify some things that have come up in the comments, I do not have direct reports at either job. I am not pushing any of my responsibilities onto any coworkers, and have even volunteered for additional duties here and there that are typically outside my “scope.” The hours I’m working have definitely gone up since I was a newbie at both jobs last fall, but I don’t feel like I’m killing myself, and I do have ample time for family, hobbies, and even volunteering in my community.

I did read and respond to as many comments as I could, and I realize there will still be naysayers/haters and people who think I didn’t give their opinions and views a second thought. Truthfully when I wrote in, I was on the fence about whether or not I should continue the roles and I pondered all points of view, including discussing them with people I am close to and trust. I have actually been very open about what I’m doing with family, friends, and former coworkers (from the place I worked prior to my two current companies), and no one has told me they think there is an ethical concern. Granted these people all know me well and know that I am not an asshole in real life and have been able to use the money to not only save for my future, but to help people I’m close to and to donate to causes I care about.

Thanks to all who commented (positively or otherwise). It was interesting to see how strongly people felt about the subject!

{ 683 comments… read them below }

  1. WendyCity*

    I… desperately wish I had the nerve to do this. I certainly have the time on my hands from one corporate job not giving me enough to do.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Seriously. I’m sitting here at 2pm staring at AAM desperately willing some emotional energy to finish the day. This is beyond me.

        1. fantomina*

          Feeling this so intensely. Sitting here at 6pm wishing for the emotional energy to finish the work I’m behind on :’-(

      2. High Score!*

        Me too! Does this person sleep? Or have a time machine?? So, 2 full time director level jobs, volunteers, spends time with family, and had hobbies (plural). Just how???
        And if they are feeling so good about it why not tell current employers? I guess it’s none of employers business if they didn’t sign anything promising to not work another job.
        Again, how?

        1. OP*

          I’m super (like, beyond anal) organized and prioritize nights and weekends for real time off (shut off notifications, keep to those boundaries, etc) – though there are times I’ll have to work a bit in the evenings and weekends, it’s not super common. Also, not having any caregiving responsibilities other than myself helps!
          I am of the mindset it’s not my employers’ business as I didn’t sign anything prohibiting this, and my companies do not compete, do business with each other, or interact in any way.

          1. Less Bread More Taxes*

            Can I ask how many hours you work per week on average? What is your typical daily schedule like? E.g., do you check both email accounts at the same time or do you have different start times, do you work at job A for several hours before moving onto job B, or is it more of a fluid back and forth, etc.

          2. Sara without an H*

            Hi, OP — you just answered the question I was coming here to ask, i.e. whether the companies you work for might be in competition with each other.

            Since you’ve clarified that — assuming you can do satisfactory work for both employers AND there’s no overlap between the two firms, I don’t see this as a problem.

            1. OP*

              Thanks Sara without an H! Less Bread More Taxes – around 50-60hrs/week. It’s definitely fluid – 2 computers open at once, start/end at around the same time (normal office hours).

              1. andrea*

                I did wonder, because you were remote, if one job was in eastern time and one in pacific; I could totally see that being doable.

              2. allathian*

                How do you deal with conflicting meetings at both jobs? Or are you high enough in the org chart as a director that you can almost always decide when the meetings are held?

                Thanks for coming back and clarifying. I’m mostly in awe and slightly envious, because there’s no way I could work more than about 40 hours a week at one job without burning out. Sure, we have our busy seasons and less busy ones, and enough flexibility that I can bank overtime hours during the busy period and work a shorter workweek when we’re less busy. Granted, I’m not super-organized, and I do have a family to support.

              3. K Cee*

                I guess my thought here is that your salary at each respective position is likely intended to be for 40 hours a week. And based on what you’re provided here you’re actually spending an average of 25-30 hours a week on each job, which could be considered time theft if that’s the case. That said, if you’re meeting or exceeding task expectations, it’s no different than someone doing the same and just taking it easy the rest of the week without a second job, or someone being less effective and taking 40 hours to complete what you can do in 25. Which are both quite common scenarios.

          3. High Score!*

            At work, I’m super organized. At home, eh… But I’m exhausted after I put in my 40 hours. And I don’t have caregiver responsibilities either, not anymore. I’d like to have your energy!

          4. coffee*

            I’m so pleased you wrote in with an update! Fascinating to see how it’s working out. You mentioned you were hoping to retire in a few years, which I think is an important factor – less risk for future consequences if you’re going to be gone anyway.

        2. Budgie Buddy*

          I wonder if the job duties aren’t actually as onerous as the company believes, and the pay and titles are inflated compared with what’s actually being accomplished. Maybe OP found a smart way to streamline and get work done more quickly. (In that situation, I’m not sure how many employees would go to their bosses and say “Look, once you automate this part of my job to remove busywork, all my tasks can be accomplished in three hours per day tops.” It’s sort of like asking to be paid less…)

          1. High Score!*

            The sad thing is back in the 80s when we were first experimenting with task automation and robotics and AI, we thought it was great bc it would help us do our jobs and then the next generation would only have to work 4 days a week or maybe only 3. Silly engineers. :(

            1. Avril Ludgateaux*

              That same idealistic optimism goes way, way back. Oscar Wilde famously and beautifully speculated that the industrial revolution would free us (as in, the individuals that make up society) up for more noble, humane pursuits, like the arts and sciences, paving the way for the advancement of thought, media, and civilization. I’m sure he wasn’t alone in thinking this, nor was he the first. Sadly, the owner class is always trying to get richer, and it never materialized as the academics and creatives of the time hoped. Now we (the working class) are constantly warned about the threat of automation on our jobs and livelihoods, while the owner class are similarly encouraged to invest in automation specifically to cut labor costs.

            2. AnonyD*

              This thread is one of the saddest things I have read. When hope and optimism to provide a more liveable situation for future generations is crushed by the owning parties. The work that individuals probably put in with the hopes that it would open the door to alternative, joyful, and even daresay peaceful existences for people used to make more money.

        3. DontTellMyBoss*

          I have a corporate wfh job I could absolutely do twice in my day. I’m used to high pressure sales working with the public on my feet and this is a huge difference in culture and just reasonable expectations. I do a days work in like 3 hours and just monitor my email and teams to make sure I’m not neglecting any issues that arise through the day.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            I am hoping this is the case for me in the future. I did BigLaw, which is pretty insane, so my current job is a walk in the park for me while it’s really stressful and challenging for a lot of other people. I do think what you view as “normal” has a big impact on how onerous you think your job is. If I ever get a “normal” job (still in professional services/consulting, which is a step down but still has some last-minute/client-related insanity), I can envision feeling this way about it.

            I am always looking for the most efficient way to do things because I’ve spent most of my career in fields where you never have enough time to do anything.

          2. Down the rabbit hole*

            Same. I have a lot of deliverables and need to be able switch tasks but half my day is spent waiting on responses and other people to finish their tasks so I can do the next step in mine.

          3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            I could easily triple my throughput in a day, but I don’t have 10 hours per day to spend in two jobs’ worth of meetings without just turning off video and muting my mic.

          4. BubbleTea*

            If I had a second job that was just data entry or something similar, I could definitely do that during my workday. I spend a lot of time waiting for the phone to ring. Once it does ring, that’s often three hours of concentrated work – but there are long stretches of time when it doesn’t. It is mind-numbing and I’ve talked to my manager about my desperate need for more to do.

            1. Em*

              I sympathize — I once worked in a call centre on a team that received, for the entire team of four full-time people (so that there could always be two people scheduled in case one person was sick), an average of three calls a month (we were doing initial troubleshooting support for a proprietary piece of software used by franchisees of a certain business, and the calls amounted to “have you accepted the cookie? Accept the cookie.*”). If it had been work-from-home, it would have been great, but it was 2008 and we had to be in our hemicubes, in the windowless, crowded call centre, not visibly doing anything that wasn’t work (“you can’t have a book, the client’s on site!”)

              It took four months for them to agree to cross-train us.

              *I have generally found that accepting a cookie is a good strategy in offline life as well

          5. somanyquestions*

            I was moving up in government and took a short term position that was an amazing challenge. It ended after the pandemic started & I found a mellower, 100% WFH position that was a step back in visibility but still pays decently.

            I work 2-5 hours a day (I’m going to guess 3.5 as an average), and get constant amazing feedback. The people who have done this job before me had a lot of problems getting it done in 40 hours, and I do the job plus some side projects. I’m just used to moving faster.

        4. Despachito*

          I think it is not the other employer’s business. It would be if OP’s performance was lacking but as OP says they have good or excellent evaluations, it is not the case.

          I wonder if OP feels a bit in the defensive because of mentioning that the money earned goes partly to charity – there is no need for that. OP rightfully gained this money and is pulling their weight.

        5. Dan*

          Yea, I am also very curious about this. She has 2 full time, director level, 200k+/year positions and has zero direct reports, does not manage crisis, does not work overtime, and is 100% remote?

          2 easiest director jobs I have ever heard of.

    1. AJoftheInternet*

      You could always start a business. I know a woman who works for an accounting firm because of the benefits, but only has enough work to occupy her days for three months out of the year, so she opened a subscription box business, built it to the point where it runs itself, and then opened another.

      She decided that was good, though, because she’s in her 60s now and does want to retire eventually.

    2. MissGirl*

      This reminds me of an old episode of Frasier where Martin, his dad, is all excited because the bank accidentally gave him an extra $20 or something when he withdrew some money. His home health nurse, Daphne, tells him it’s unethical to keep it and to give it back. Martin tries to send the money back but the bank sends him a letter apologizing for the error and giving him even more money, thinking the error had been a shortchange. Throughout the episode, he keeps trying and failing, at Daphne’s insistence, to return the money.

      Finally, the pair of them go to the bank in person to rectify the error. The bank again apologizes and announces that they’ve put even more money in his account in hopes he’ll be placated and stop complaining about his missing money. Martin turns to Daphne, his moral compass through this, as if to ask what to do. She leans forward and says to the teller, “Can I open an account here?

      My instinct is to totally tell the OP they are wrong, but I really want to know where they work to put in a resume.

  2. Anonymous3*

    I’m curious. How do you plan to handle this on your resume once you do leave (one or both of them)? Pick the job with the greatest accomplishments and list that? Do you plan to remain off of LinkedIn?

    1. to varying degrees*

      I think they said in the comments that they would just go with the job that was most relevant to what was being applied for.

        1. Yvette*

          If you ever do go for another job after finishing with one or both of these, even if you only list the most relevant one on your resume, a background check would reveal the simultaneous employment. Do you think that might torpedo your chances?

          1. Erinwithans*

            Would it, though? I’ve always had to tell background check places where to check for my previous employment – how would they know where else you’ve worked?

            1. suomynona*

              There is a service called Work Number which pulls reports of everywhere that you have been a W-2. So it is certainly possible that simultaneous employment can torpedo offers. I have seen it happen.

                1. Hearts & Minds*

                  How is it shady? I’m an employment background investigator and employers refer me to TheWorkNumber all the time. Typically large corporations, but medium-sized and smaller companies use it too. Sometimes it’s the only way to verify employment because HR has a (misguided) policy they can’t release any information about current or former employees for fear of being sued.

                2. fhqwhgads*

                  It’s not shady. (in the US) you have to sign a form allowing them to do the background check, so you’re consenting to them looking up this stuff. It’s not a surprise.

              1. 15 Pieces of Flair*

                You can check your own TWN records results. I checked my recently, and they don’t have any of my recent employers. So it’s possible that OP could run into this but only if the employment verification checks TWN and both employers are reported. It’s unlikely that both of those will be occur. Worst case scenario, having two employers reported for the same time doesn’t prove OP is working two full-time jobs.

            2. Captain Swan*

              A background check will often include checking tax records and I’m sure both employers would file tax information with the IRS. So that’s one very obvious way that such information could be found.

              1. 15 Pieces of Flair*

                In the US, you either have to provide the tax documents to the background check company (only common if you have no other way to verify your employment) or sign a separate release for them to get records from the IRS. Unless OP is applying for a job that requires clearance, background check companies verify the employers listed and maybe cross-reference them with the candidate’s resume. A deep dive into tax records would be time consuming and expensive.

            3. MCMonkeyBean*

              When I got my current job they actually came to me with a question about the background check because what they found for my employment history didn’t match up with what I gave them–it tuned out to be because I told them I worked for “Clothing Company” but my paycheck technically was coming from “ClothCo Payroll Subsidiary.”

              So it does seem like something that could come up in a background check! May not be an issue, but definitely something to keep in mind for anyone considering this.

            1. Sue Ellen*

              I really wouldn’t worry about that, my company only checks for that if there is a gap in your resume and they want to make sure you aren’t leaving off a job where you were fired for, say, gross misconduct, or if we call your references and the dates they give us for your employment aren’t the same as the dates you listed. As long as you’re a pretty above board candidate I wouldn’t think they would get that nitty gritty with it.

  3. JelloStapler*

    Can I have whatever you’re having for that much focus and energy? I am having trouble staying engaged at my ONE job.

    1. GingerNP*

      Purely speculation – but if this person is like me, they need* to have multiple things to focus on for the sake of their ADHD brain. I work in the ER because there are always multiple fires to put out. I don’t believe I would be nearly as successful working on a more structured unit. It might just be how they thrive.

      1. OP*

        Hahah..not diagnosed with ADHD or anything like that – but I’m the type who can hardly sit through a movie without getting up to find something to do around the house. My brain doesn’t turn off much.

        1. Loredena*

          As a woman diagnosed with ADHD inattentive this month. My brain not turning off is a major part of it. On the other hand you are clearly way more organized than I

          1. Cat named Brian*

            Same. ADHD and brain doesn’t turn off. I’m also director level. And run a business on the side. It is really more about managing the workflow and how much flexibility one has in the job. And at 1 point I was also full time single Mom (there Dad moved across country)

  4. nom de plume*

    OP, thanks for the update. I cant help but wonder though – if this is going as well as you describe, and you’ve received an ethical all-clear from so many, why not just tell your respective two jobs? Wouldn’t this simplify your life? And further validate your choice?
    (Also, tiny point, but “ethicality” is not a word – the noun is simply “ethics”).

    1. Miss Suzie*

      I had a coworker at a high-tech company who needed extra money so she applied for a position as a part time cashier at a drugstore. No conflict of interest whatsoever with her current job, and the hours were nights and weekends, not hours she would normally be working. However, when our company found out she had applied for this other job they fired her, perpwalked her out the door, etc. Does anyone really think either of OP’s jobs would be happy to know they were working for another company at the same time?

      1. nom de plume*

        That’s what I was getting at, implicitly. OP frames this update as having pretty thoroughly vetted her decision, ethically-speaking. But wouldn’t the most ethical and transparent thing to do be to tell her bosses / companies, so that they, too, know and have a chance to consent to the arrangement?
        Hence my question.

        1. nom de plume*

          Sorry for double-post — I guess if she hasn’t done so, it must be because deep down she knows it wouldn’t fly, so like others I’m not sure the opinion of friends really weighs a whole lot here.

        2. DontTellMyBoss*

          I think what’s ethically correct under a capitalist system sometimes involves less than full transparency with your employer.

          1. WillowSunstar*

            I would agree with that. If the companies are not keeping the employee busy for at least 7 hours a day, then that is on management to prove. I will say at many jobs, begging for more work will make them wonder what you’re actually doing all day and might cause some managers to lay you off, so that could backfire.

            Also keep in mind that many positions have changed since we all went remote. If you don’t have a lot of meetings to attend or questions from coworkers to answer, because no one is stopping by your desk on the way to somewhere else and interrupting you, or you don’t have to walk from one end of the building to the other for another meeting, you’re going to have a bunch of free time added to your day.

          2. Well...*

            Lol this thread really separates the capitalists from the rest based on all the +1s on both sides. I agree it’s silly to say the only ethical thing is to be 100% transparent with any information your employer would like to know.

          3. Rachelle*

            Not only this, but so much of Askamanager is navigating the amount of transparency which employers and employees are entitled to. I appreciate the advice on this site for making it clear the things that you are obligated to disclose and the things no one is obligated to share.

          4. MissElizaTudor*

            Absolutely. I’d argue, in this case, if there’s a concern about getting fired, it’s *more* ethical not to be transparent, and to continue using the money to help out people you care about and good causes.

            Good for OP!

        3. idioalacrity*

          “tell her bosses / companies, so that they, too, know and have a chance to consent to the arrangement?”

          This implies the assumption that the companies are entitled to consent or not consent to the arrangement, but unless multiple employment is explicitly mentioned or prohibited in the employee handbook, why should they be? Your employer is entitled to you doing the work you’re hired to do. Multiple jobs is often hairy because your attention/effort is divided thus you’re potentially submitting subpar work ie not doing the work they hired you to do, but if OP is performing well enough to get a Meets or Exceeds in both roles, then both employers are getting what they asked for. If anything, it’s on the employer(s) for not scoping/defining their job properly.
          I think some unease stems from old notions of employees owing loyalty to their companies- my initial discomfort with the letter was certainly driven by that. But all you owe is your work (and not actively sabotaging your employer), not your fealty.

        4. Betsy Bobbins*

          Wouldn’t it be ethical if companies gave you a heads up that they were considering laying you off beforehand so you could get a jump on interviewing for a new one? Wouldn’t it be great if they all gave you sick days without requiring a doctors note? It would be really awesome if they all allowed you to work from home when their is no real business reason to be in the office.

          We have been brainwashed into thinking that companies do what is ethical rather than what is best for their bottom line at the expense of employees all the time. If the OP is getting her work done and meeting the needs of both companies what is unethical? Let’s face it, businesses are far from transparent with their employees, why should the burden of transparency be solely on the employee?

        5. L-squared*

          I mean, by that logic, why aren’t we fully transparent when job hunting, or about the fact that we may be watching TV while WFH and not just “working”. There are a lot of things that we don’t tell our employers as long as we get our jobs done.

      2. my 8th name*

        No. I don’t think anyone thinks that. I think nom de plume’s point is how ethical can something be if you have to keep it a secret and presumably lie about how you’re spending your time if asked by either employer. I personally don’t care if they work two jobs, but I think the original question was whether it was ethical, and that’s definitely a grey area.

        1. nom de plume*

          Yes, thanks, my8thname, that’s what I meant — it’s the framing of it as “ethical” that’s up for question.

          1. Waiting on the bus*

            I’m not sure why telling the company would be more “ethical” than not telling them. This is a business relationship; the company wants you to do a certain amount of work and compensates you accordingly. From the sounds of it, both companies are getting their money’s worth.

            Why should the company expect (or why should it be more ethical) to be told something that doesn’t affect this business relationship? I have a chronic illness that often sometimes causes me to lose focus in the afternoon. My employer doesn’t have an issue with my work output – I consistently get great feedback and merit raises, so it obviously doesn’t negatively affect them. Is it unethical of me not to disclose my illness? Because everyone on this site would certainly tell me not to disclose since it doesn’t affect my work performance and could lead to prejudice from my employer.

          2. 15 Pieces of Flair*

            The companies are paying OP to accomplish certain objectives, not to work 40 hours. The number of hours matters less than the results. If OP only worked one job and put in a ton of hours but didn’t produce results, they’d be fired.

            The reason OP can’t tell their employers is because employers in the US feel entitled to an employee’s full dedication. If they knew that OP was working less than 40 hours, most would demand more work even though they are objectively satisfied with OP’s output now.

        2. learnedthehardway*

          From the opposite side, though, if there’s no overlap between the companies, and the OP is killing it in both roles, it is really any of either company’s business?

          Personally, as a consultant, I take on what I can deliver. I sometimes stretch myself to take on more than I normally would. As long as I can deliver for all my clients, it’s not their business how I manage to do so. And I’m not going to tell them that I’ve managed to streamline my processes and use of technology, and to build my experience to make it possible for me to do 3x the work I could have done 15 years ago. Why would I invite them to pay me less?

          1. Budgie Buddy*

            My personal guideline is “People are the authority on what they want out of the relationship even if I disagree.” And I use that in both work life and social life.

            For example, I could be absolutely crushing it as polyamory and have an airtight case for why monogamy sucks (and all my super ethical friends back me up-yay!) —but I’ve still gotta let partners know if I’m seeing other people. Even if they never said the specific words “I expect my bf/gf to be exclusive.” Because I’m experienced; I know they’re assuming that. And I have the option to find other people who are more aligned with what I’m looking for.

            1. Eldritch Office Worker*

              But that’s a false equivalency. Personal relationships are a whole different beast with a lot of nuance. In a business relationship you are exchanging labor for money. The companies are satisfied with the labor they’re receiving, and OP is satisfied with the amount and type of labor she’s doing in return for the amount of money she’s getting. That’s the end of the consideration.

              I was really on the fence about this in the original letter but if OP is exceeding expectations in both roles? More power to her. There’s no ethical behavior under capitalism and this doesn’t seem to be screwing anyone over, which is more than a lot of people in traditional situations can say.

              1. Budgie Buddy*

                Eh, I’m still me whether I’m at work or anywhere else. I’m the common denominator that I have to live with. I know some people have an entirely different personality/ethics they turn on for work, but that just feels too complicated for me. I think all social interactions have their own nuance and set of mutual expectations, and work isn’t in some totally separate category because money is changing hands.

                If OP says she’s doing well at both jobs, I believe her. She’s the exception, but we have to go on the facts OPs give about their own situation.

            2. whingedrinking*

              Of course people are the authority on what they want. That’s not remotely the same thing as having a right to receive it. Your partner(s) have a right to know exactly how monogamous their own relationships are, not just because they want to have that knowledge, but because of what everyone involved has agreed to take responsibility for. The creepy guy next to me on the subway, on the other hand, does not have a right to know how many partners I have, or even my first name if I don’t want to tell him – not even if he really, really, REALLY wants to know it.

            3. Disco Janet*

              I’m having a hard time believing that you actually think your relationship with a romantic partner is at all like your relationship with your employer. By that logic, my employer should also loop me in and get feedback from me and all of their other employees whenever they are thinking of bringing someone new on board at the company. And my bosses should all introduce me to other important people in their life because I’m such an important part of them. Does that sound dumb and like a comparison that doesn’t make sense at all? Yes, it is. That’s exactly the point.

              To get to your actual claim – that people are the authority on what they want to get out of a relationship – the companies told OP what they expect of them/what their goals are. OP is meeting or exceeding those goals.

              1. Budgie Buddy*

                We recently got two new employees at my company…and I was definitely looped in that these people were new hires and what they would be doing? Especially as one was at front desk and the other sits next to me.

                So I think something in my post got lost in translation… in my poly example, though, both people explicitly stated that they wanted to be a couple but neither spelled out in exact words that monogamy was a requirement. That is kind of out there, but having the energy and organization for two full time jobs is also an outlier.

          2. Caramel & Cheddar*

            As a consultant, it’s a known quantity that you’re taking on other work because that’s the nature of a consultancy, which isn’t true of roles where you’re employed by someone else in a full-time capacity.

        3. ecnaseener*

          But there are plenty of things I wouldn’t tell my employer about because I think I have no ethical obligation to tell them – like for example if I needed time off for a job interview I would lie and call it a doctor’s appointment or whatever. Most people agree that is okay.

          So the ethical line can’t be “if you have to hide it from your employer it’s unethical,” or even “if you’re hiding information that affects your employer it’s unethical” because that’s true for the job interview example too. I think it’s a very interesting question – where do you draw the line? If your employer is happy with your work output and availability, do you owe them any other information?

      3. Lenora Rose*

        Perp-walking someone out for having a second job in their own off hours with no conflict of interest is the height of ridiculous, and is indicating that the high tech company in your anecdote was utterly toxic, not anything about how a more normal company would see the same action. This case is an ethical and practical question because they are overlapping the same hours; if they weren’t, we might be wondering about life-work balance but nobody would be saying it was wrong.

    2. Chairman of the Bored*

      If I worked at Company A, I would not tell them if I started interviewing for other jobs.

      This is not unethical, and I don’t need my meal ticket to validate my choices. There’s nothing wrong with keeping an employer informed on a “need to know” basis.

      The company gets to decide if they’re happy with the work I’m doing in exchange for the money they are paying me. If yes, no problem. If no, they’re welcome to fire me.

      1. nom de plume*

        But don’t you think there’s a difference between interviewing and actually performing a job on a less than full-time basis? Those aren’t commensurate.

        1. Chairman of the Bored*

          The point isn’t that both things are the same, but that the example of “looking for other jobs” shows that “why don’t you just tell your employer?” is not a valid way to test whether a given course of action is reasonable or ethical.

          1. nom de plume*

            No, but in this update, the OP seems to be saying that she’s already satisfied that her working two jobs is ethical. And my question is, how can she be satisfied that’s true if she hasn’t revealed it to the party most impacted by her decision?

            I take the point that you don’t have to reveal all to your employer (e.g., job interviews). But the difference here is a) scale and b) the implicit understandings that bind two parties in an employment relationship, one of which is trust, and the other, the assumption that the employee isn’t working other jobs.

            So again, it’s one thing to say that it’s working well and she plans to keep doing it. It’s another to say it’s ethically above board.

            1. Cake or Death?*

              Don’t ethics go both ways? If the company was planning to layoff employees, ethically, they should give those employees a heads up so those employees aren’t blindsided and suddenly left without a job. How often do companies act ethically in regards to their employees? I don’ t think that an employee should be expected to treat their employer with a higher standard of ethics than the company treats their employees.

              “the implicit understandings that bind two parties in an employment relationship, one of which is trust, and the other, the assumption that the employee isn’t working other jobs.”

              I take issue with this statement, for reasons I said above, and also, MANY people work more than one job at a time… the opinion that it’s unethical to not disclose that is odd to me.

              Again, an employee only owes a level of trust and loyalty to their employer equal to the level their employer gives them. We literally almost every week see letters where employers freak out about an employee leaving, trying to tell them they can’t leave or demanding extended notice periods, etc., posted with letters in which people are getting fired/laid off with zero notice or just employers screwing over their employees in general.

              I for one an certainly not feeling bad for OP’s employers. They’re getting work they are pleased with; they have no claim on their employees’ time outside of that.

            2. Sue Ellen*

              but nom de plume, the company ISN’T being impacted by OP’s decision. The companies are both satisfied with the work that OP is doing for the price of their salary. OP is receiving excellent reviews. If the company is ever dissatisfied with OP’s performance, they have many options (PIP, termination, etc) and they are simply not indicating that is the case. So it seems ridiculous that you would try to circle around to OP being so unethical because they won’t disclose this to both companies, when it honestly just isn’t their business. Companies can take a hard line on things that aren’t objectively wrong all the time. As long as OP’s performance isn’t suffering, no one is being harmed here. Your ethical stance on it is just coming across pretty high horse.

            3. Despachito*

              “how can she be satisfied that’s true if she hasn’t revealed it to the party most impacted by her decision?”

              But it seems neither of OP’s two jobs are impacted.

        2. Well...*

          I think the point is that your argument isn’t very strong. “If you’re so clean, why not just give the person in power more information?” has never been a good argument.

          1. linger*

            Oh yes…

            If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’ve nothing to fear.
            So bend while we check nothing’s hidden up there,
            And spread those cheeks wider to help the probe clear.
            If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’ve n(arrgh!)thing to fear.

            Your personal details we’ll happily share
            With police, or the press, or our pals over beer.
            You want privacy? Where’d you get that idea?
            If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’ve nothing to fear.

      2. OP*

        Pretty much the conclusion I’ve come to, Chairman of the Bored. Thanks for putting it so succinctly.

    3. SpEd Teacher*

      I think you are conflating ethical and best for the companies bottom line. The company would not like him working at two places because it’s not best for their profits. That doesn’t mean it’s unethical. There are many ethical things you can do at work that do not maximize profit that are fine to do and also you shouldn’t tell you boss about it.

      1. nom de plume*

        If this is to me, I don;t; think I am conflating those two. Ethics concerns moral principles, and that’s the framing of the original question and the update. Her working two jobs doesn’t seem to impact profits one way or the other, so on that basis she could write and affirm that. But she’s saying that she’s vetted her decision on an ethical basis, so that’s what I’m asking about.

        1. Mike K*

          I’m not sure I would determine the moral worth of an action based on the reaction of a business. For profit organisations would have no qualms in making someone unemployed for any or no reason if it was beneficial to the bottom line. Taking one’s moral compass from such a group sounds… unwise.

          1. nom de plume*

            Hmm, I think there’s a misunderstanding here. I am absolutely not saying that the business provides the moral compass! I’m saying that the original question was about whether this is ethical — OP has shown she can make the situation work. That’s distinct from it being ethical. That’s the gist of all of my points above.

            1. Marcia*

              /And my question is, how can she be satisfied that’s true if she hasn’t revealed it to the party most impacted by her decision?/
              As many other commenters have explained to you, each company is receiving from OP the amount and quality of labor that they feel is equitable for the compensation they are giving her. They are not the parties most impacted by this, OP is.

      2. OP*

        “The company would not like HER…”. It’s so interesting to me how many people assume I’m a man!

        1. Mangofan*

          I think there’s a convention on AAM to assume a poster is female if they don’t specify otherwise, so as to counteract the historical bias of assuming an unspecified person is male.

      1. Lydia*

        There’s a lot of taking the moral high ground here about what people say they would do when they absolutely would not do that thing if in the same situation.

    4. Delphine*

      I don’t think there’s any circumstance where a business would sit down and consider the ethics of an employee who has successfully been working two jobs. That wouldn’t even be a factor, so why would their approval or lack thereof be a litmus test of the ethical soundness of working two jobs at the same time?

    5. Lydia*

      I’m sorry. Did OP take a vow of fidelity to either of the companies she works for? If she didn’t, I don’t see why she should share anything with them.

    6. Ann O'Nemity*

      I was originally worried about the ethics of juggling two full-time jobs at once, but hearing that both companies are happy with the performance negates some of that concern. That said, I can’t help but think that being open about this arrangement will drastically change the companies’ expectations! Like, “Oh, you can handle the workload in only 20 hours? We’re going to give you twice as much work for the same salary.”

      1. Well...*

        A good reason for OP not to tell. If a company wants more info so it can pay OP half as much for the same labor, that seems like it’s undervaluing OP. In fact companies might hate someone working two jobs successfully precisely because it makes it harder to exploit labor.

      2. Disco Janet*

        Yep, exactly. Then it turns into the exact dilemma we’ve seen debated here before about the fairness (or lack thereof) of two employees receiving the same salary because they work the same number of hours, but one is doing twice the amount of work.

        My take on the whole thing is that OP is salary, not hourly, and meeting expectations, so they’re in the clear.

    7. CJ*

      The employers aren’t the ethical arbiters here (and can’t be, because they have incentives in the situation too).

      OP reports working 50-60 hours a week and performing at least as well as the employers expect, so she sounds pretty efficient. The employers have decided they’re happy to pay 200k for a certain amount of work product that they’ve judged would generally take 40+ hours (let’s call it 40 units of applied widgetry). OP can produce 40 units in 30 hours and does so for both jobs. If she told one or both of them how efficiently she widgetizes, they *might* do the ethical thing and say ‘Well, we could use 53.3 units a week, can we offer you a 33% raise to produce that?’ Or, more likely, they’d think ‘Woohoo, we lucked out here, we can get 53.3 units for the price of 40!’ Which would be unethical IMO, and I don’t see where OP has the obligation to give them the chance. (Option 3 is that they’d cut their nose off as well as hers by firing her, and she’s got no obligation to facilitate that either.)

  5. Radical honesty*

    Interesting… it doesn’t sound like a true director position if you don’t have direct reports. The director level jobs where I work, no one would be able to have a side hustle. They direct an entire department of about 10 teams, as well as have direct reports who also have direct reports.

    1. Aerie*

      Different companies/industries have different metrics for titles all the time. I’m a Director in the marketing division of my company – I don’t have any direct reports, but bring a higher level of experience and have more independence than a Manager would in the same position.

      1. OP*

        I’m not in Marketing, but yes similar, Aerie! I know a lot of companies that have director-level positions but no direct reports.

        1. Cakeroll*

          In my industry, this individual-contributor equivalent of “Director” is called “Principal”, and helps avoid a lot of confusion about managing-a-large-team skills versus doing-this-a-long-time-and-very-efficiently skills.

          1. blood orange*

            Interesting! I’ve typically thought of a Principal as an owner with a specific kind of oversight or responsibility. Just another example that we probably can’t make specific assumptions based on title.

        2. blood orange*

          As another example, I’m a Director of HR with no direct reports. Our site managers execute much of the personnel duties that could either be done by HR or a manager, while I do strategic and company-wide compliance work. We have 150 employees and about to add another 50 or so, to give you a sense of size. I probably won’t need direct reports until we’re at around 250-300 or have another state to deal with, etc.

          It depends on the structure and needs of the business. There are definitely companies that use Director titles maybe a little prematurely for whatever reason, but generally I expect strategic work to be required in a director position. I once hired an Operations Coordinator who previously had the title Director of Marketing. I’d consider that a case where the company might have titled the position Director and it might not have been very accurate.

            1. blood orange*

              It was the first time the company had had anyone in a marketing role at all, she had no prior marketing or professional experience (just some writing experience at their company), and she was doing what I’d consider to be marketing coordinator level work (drafting content and running it by someone else before posting, responding to some customer inquiries, project management, etc.).

              She was previously an office administrator for the same company, and was promoted to this position. I was concerned at first when I interviewed her that the role I had would be a step down, but it was right in line with her level of experience and aligned with what she was looking for. I spoke to her more about it after hiring her, and she described a really toxic work environment. She felt they saw she could write really well, she was asking for more creative work, and that’s what made sense for them.

      2. Anonym*

        Yep, they exist where I am too. They indicate a level of expertise or seniority. Typically for us, a director without people management responsibilities is an extremely senior subject matter expert.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          In a highly regulated industry, that level might not have direct reports but might be responsible for information, compliance requirements, etc., that requires a high-level staff member.

          1. Anonym*

            This describes both my industry, and the non-manager directors (and managing directors) that I’ve encountered. Thanks for the extra context!

            This is the kind of good sense perspective I’d expect from you, Ms. Lucas. :)

      3. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Yes that’s how it works in my consulting world. Director often means directing the work not supervising people — a high level of contribution and oversight of projects/teams but direct reports are not necessarily part of their role.

      4. londonedit*

        In publishing you have Editorial Directors who are directors of their own particular editorial programme. They might well have people reporting to them, but not necessarily – the ‘Director’ part of the job primarily refers to the fact that they manage a list of books. There may be a Publisher above them who is line manager for the whole imprint/department/list as well as overseeing the direction of the imprint as a whole.

    2. Emily*

      This. I find it very odd that LW is doing two director level jobs, but has no direct reports. It is going to be very interesting to see what happens when the two jobs find out what LW is doing. If LW is telling family and friends and former co-workers, it is just going to be a matter of time before LW’s current employers find out.

        1. Emily*

          Lydia: LW is telling friends, family, and former co-workers what they are doing. It’s definitely a matter of when, not if.

          1. mimi*

            Yeah, I am concerned about how many people know of this arrangement and how long till one accidentally strikes up a conversation with a current coworker.

            1. Lydia*

              Like, family and friends who accidentally start gossiping to a stranger and then find out it’s the OP’s boss? Former coworkers who know to keep her business to themselves? I feel like there’s some fanfiction happening.

          2. Lydia*

            She hasn’t told coworkers. Former coworkers, but I’m guessing it’s a select few who know how to keep their pieholes shut.

            1. LJ*

              Yes OP obviously thought through this enough that they aren’t going to blab about it far and wide. I’m surprised people aren’t also wondering what they’d do at industry conferences (probably don’t have any/don’t go) or a myriad of other ways OP could out themselves. It seems clear OP found a situation where they have a specialized skill which commands a respectable salary but doesn’t require people management, a heavy meeting schedule, or a high profile presence.

            2. Avril Ludgateaux*

              What’s the saying? “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead”? The more people that know about something, the more people that will know about it. OP is playing with fire bragging about her setup, no matter how much she trusts her social circle. It doesn’t even have to be an intentional or malicious act on the part of one of her friends; they could simply let slip to the wrong person, who then lets slip to another person, and it goes on until it reaches the boss.

              If you’re doing something debatably ethical (in the current paradigm) and at best, frowned upon, it’s best to keep mum about it.

      1. Cake or Death?*

        “I find it very odd that LW is doing two director level jobs, but has no direct reports.”

        Is it really that weird that different companies do things differently?

        1. Disco Janet*

          No. People who don’t like what Op is doing are just looking for any excuse they can to be judgmental. Otherwise Op would be getting the benefit of a doubt and they would of course realize that different fields work differently.

    3. 2 Cents*

      There are two tracks at my huge company. In both, you can be a “director,” but in one of the tracks, you’re the director of a program or things, not people.

      1. The Original K.*

        Yep – my title is manager and I’m a manager of programs and processes, not people (and I prefer it that way).

      2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        It’s almost as though management is a skill in its own right which is not necessarily conferred by subject matter experience.

        /s, obvs

    4. WellRed*

      Eh we have a couple of so called directors at my company with no reports. This us sometimes what happens when you let people choose their own titles ; ). Not saying that’s the case for OP.

    5. Sue Ellen*

      My company has director level positions that manage projects, not people, so I think this is just a situation of your experience being different than OP’s.

    6. Gene Parmesan*

      I had a previous position as a director and did not have direct reports. We were a small organization and I was a one-person shop. In my field (higher education), it was standard for this position to be director-level, but the size of the office varied quite a bit depending on how big the organization was. At my current employer, the counterpart has a staff of 5.

  6. many bells down*

    I know of someone who just got fired for doing this. They were pulling full-time jobs at two *competing* companies in the same line of work. Apparently, they’re still at the other company.

  7. Viki*

    Still incredibly unethical. People knowing you and saying you’re not an a-hole for doing this, does not remove you from fallout, reputation issues and ethics.

    1. Emily*

      Agreed. It sounds like LW’s current employers don’t know what LW is doing (what family, friends, and former co-workers think is irrelevant), and it is going to be fascinating to see what happens when LW’s current employers find out, because it is a matter of when they find out, not if.

    2. Jennifer*

      I agree. This letter Alison posted earlier points to why this behavior is really concerning to me: https://www.inc.com/alison-green/my-new-hire-was-secretly-working-a-second-full-time-job.html. I want to work in an environment where, if I am having personal issues, my boss believes me and will give me a break, not assume I’m working a second job. The more prevalent these stories become, the more likely there will be negative effects for remote workers just trying to work a single job. I think this is selfish and unethical unless you have been clear with *both* companies that you are working two full-time jobs.

      1. Marny*

        There’s no information in this OP’s case that she’s asking for breaks or taking advantage of a supervisor’s kindness. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s unfair to assume she’s behaving similarly to the person in the linked letter.

        1. Julia*

          Jennifer isn’t saying she’s behaving similarly to the person in the linked letter. Jennifer actually seems to have gone out of her way to make a more nuanced argument than that.

          1. Jennifer*

            Thanks! I was trying to. I just am really skeptical that OP managed to find two ridiculously high-paying jobs that somehow never have meeting conflicts and also isn’t going to burn out.

      2. Willow*

        That’s not an analogous situation because that person wasn’t doing their job to a satisfactory level. It would be just as unethical if they had been blowing off work and lying about family emergencies to play video games. But no one would have a problem with someone who is getting all their work done and even taking on some extra responsibilities who plays video games in their free time.

        1. FridayFriyay*

          This is where it lands for me. My employer is not purchasing my SELF with their salary. If we are to view workers as autonomous people and not just the property of their employers, why should this person selling another chunk of their labor at market value when they aren’t working their first job be any different than this person choosing to play video games when they aren’t working their first job? It gives the employer an unreasonable amount of latitude to control their employees’ lives and time.

        2. Jennifer*

          Maybe this isn’t the case for OP. But I would say this is unethical because every tech job I’ve ever had has had a line in my contract saying that I could not work another job without explicitly clearing it with them first. I agree that I don’t owe my employer my life. But if I am signing something saying that I agree to what’s in a contract and then not abiding by it, that’s where it becomes unethical. There is also already pushback on remote work from employers who think we are a) working two jobs or b) just unproductive and stories like this make it easier for them to make the argument against working remotely.

    3. Anonym*

      I think if they can successfully fulfill the duties as described, AND they’re not working for direct competitors, AND – most importantly – neither company has a policy forbidding or requiring disclosure of other employment, a rare person in a rare situation could thread this needle ethically. It sounds (between this letter and the previous + OP’s comments on previous) that they are.

      Reminds me of the person who wrote in recently feeling guilty about doing all their work in much less than 40 hours a week. Alison’s take, which I wholeheartedly agree with, was roughly that the company is entitled to you doing the job according to the parameters they’ve created, and not entitled to all your energy for 40 hours or more a week. If you’re more efficient than average but can still turn in the performance required/agreed upon, don’t take on extra work unless you’re getting extra pay, since you’d be exceeding your part of the agreement, but your employer wouldn’t be.

      1. Anonym*

        I should add: I agree with you on the risk of reputational fallout – that’s a very real risk that OP may face given the diversity of opinion and many people’s reasonable assumptions (that you can’t successfully do two jobs) and norms around full time employment. I wouldn’t risk it myself, even if I found myself in a situation where I could do the “none are harmed, no policies are violated, performing successfully” needle-threading.

      2. Burner Handle*

        This is where I land. If all those things are true, it is not unethical IMO. It might be risky, or unhelpful to labor or society at large, or even just plain icky. It will definitely be judged by many folks. But if you are genuinely carrying your full weight at each and it’s not prohibited and it’s not causing inconvenience to coworkers, what exactly is unethical? One could say “if it was okay you’d tell your bosses”. That feels intuitively right, but there are plenty of 2nd jobs that I wouldn’t tell my boss about because they might disapprove of it for a dozen reasons. Not sure how this is different except for not wanting this person to “get away” with something audacious because they don’t have a good enough reason.

        It must be impossible to imagine this working if you’ve always had to work super hard at your jobs. I come from a different history. I know plenty of folks busting their butts and stressed out by work, but I have also known some who are underutilized. I’ve often been one of them. One or two jobs in my multi-decade career has actually required 40 hours of attention every week — most I could do in 25-30 hours on average, many weeks even less. I had a lot of flexibility, a lot of autonomy, and not enough to do even after volunteering for more and inventing make-work. So I definitely could have juggled two of those, except I don’t have that kind of stamina so PT hours at one FTE paycheck is honestly all than I can handle. (And I have too many meetings to schedule around anyway. That would be the nightmare part.)

      3. Littorally*

        Agreed. I was skeptical of this at the start, and — well, truth be told, I’m still a little skeptical, but it sure sounds like the OP is that one-in-a-million unicorn where everything lines up just right.

        1) Can perform both jobs to a high quality — this is the thing I’m still the most skeptical about, to be honest, but it sounds like she’s doing just fine so far.
        2) Companies are not in competition with each other, and the specific roles also don’t present any conflicts of interest (I presume)
        3) No restrictions/disclosure requirements for outside business activity on either side

        Then… hey, you know, whatever. I still think it’d be better for long-term sustainability to take one (high-paying, as per the original) job, work less hours, rather than steady 50-60 hour weeks, but that’s me.

    4. Lydia*

      I’m not sure how this is an ethical issue if the OP is fulfilling the duties of both roles. I think a lot of people are saying it’s not ethical when they want to say it’s not moral because they are too stuck in the idea that you exist for the company. Nobody has an ethical or moral responsibility to a for-profit company. Now, reputational damage might happen and that’s something the OP can deal with if it ever comes up, but ethics and capitalism are not things that work together.

    5. learnedthehardway*

      I don’t think it is inherently unethical. It would be if the contract specified that they couldn’t work for another company. But it doesn’t. The OP has made sure that the companies are not competitors or in the same industry, so there are no conflicts of interest between the companies’ interests.

      There could be an ethical issue if the OP wasn’t performing very well for both companies, but they say they are getting great reviews at both places. If they can deliver, then neither company is affected. They could be pursuing a hobby or sport with the same commitment level with no issues – the only difference is that they’re being paid.

      Either or both companies might very well not LIKE it, and might even fire the OP IF they find out about it, but I disagree that it is unethical, at present. That could change, of course – for example, if the OP has competing priorities that they can’t meet.

      1. Viki*

        By operating without the companies being aware, it is inherently unethical.

        As a hiring manager, I should not have to ask someone, “Do you have a second full time job you will be working while working this one?” I operate under the assumption that they have a current full time and will leave that for the one I am offering.

        The companies not competing, or in different industries do not change the fact that lack knowledge equates lack of consent.

        1. Lydia*

          You shouldn’t ask it because it’s none of your business. It only becomes your business if it impacts how they perform at the job you hired them to do. And even then, you won’t necessarily know why it’s not working out. For all you know, you’ve had to let go people who were trying it and it wasn’t working.

        2. Cake or Death?*

          You’re entire comment is basically stating that employees have a much higher level of ethical obligations to their employer than the employer has to their employees.

          How often do employers give their employees a heads up that they are going to be made redundant or laid off vs. how often they completely blindside their employees with it, leaving them with no income? Does the employer care about the fact that they just took away people’s livelihoods? No, they don’t. They only care about their bottom line.
          Expecting employees to care more about their employers bottom line, vs. their own, is totally unfair.
          There have been literally hundreds of letters on this site about companies that say they’re “faaaammmmily” and how much loyalty of their employees is important/required, who then turn around and totally screw over their employees.

        3. Waiting on the bus*

          Genuinely, why do you care? If the employee does their work well – which we know OP is doing – what do you care what else they do as long as they’re not harming your business? Would it be more ethical if OP was watching Netflix or reading a book instead?

        4. Come On Eileen*

          On the flip side, that would mean it’s unethical for companies to hide the fact that an employee or group of employees is going to be laid off. It’s not inherently unethical to keep information private when there are good reasons to do so. OP is doing both jobs well, not shirking responsibilities, and following a quiet don’t ask don’t tell policy. I have NO issues with it.

        5. Disco Janet*

          As a hiring manager, you should have a grasp on whether or not the tasks you’re assigning are suitable to part time or full time employment.

          If you hire a salaried worker to fill a certain role, and they are clearly meeting or exceeding expectations in that role, they are doing their job.

        6. FedVet*

          This is a *really* bad take.

          Employers are only entitled to the labor (in work or hours depending on agreement) which they purchased at the time of hire. Typically in the US, for a full time job, that is 40 hours or the productivity equivalent.

          They have zero entitlement beyond that. CERTAINLY not entitlement towards my excess hours or productivity beyond what was agreed. Trying to make an employee equivalent to a slave is the unethical thing here, not holding two jobs.

        7. Spero*

          I mean…just no. You don’t have the right to know much less make your hiring decisions based on what an employee is doing with the time they aren’t working the job you hired them for. For example, if you said ‘I assume when I hire an employee that they will stop caring for their elderly parent evenings and weekends’ or ‘I assume they will be near the jobsite and available for additional work, so they will obviously break up with their long distance partner’ or ‘I didn’t hire them because they have children, so I operate under the assumption they will have more interruptions than someone without children.’ All of these are very obviously farcical. What is the difference? You don’t control their off hours. You control what they do and what they get paid for in the duties you give them.

    6. ADidgeridooForYou*

      Also, from my experience, friends and family are sometimes the last people you should be asking about this kind of thing, since they’re (often, not always) more likely to share your values/opinions and agree with you, or just agree with you because you’re friends.

      Also, it’s very possible that they’re fulfilling all the responsibilities of both jobs, but I can’t help but think that working simultaneously with 2 computers open won’t lead to numerous errors. The human brain just can’t do that much at once with so much accuracy for a prolonged period of time. Also, by this point, we’ve heard from numerous letter writers on the other side who say that their coworkers with 2 jobs think they’re doing great and no one notices, when they’re in fact not.

      1. Lydia*

        OP’s management doesn’t agree, though, and if OP isn’t doing well and still getting good performance reviews, the coworkers need to speak up.

    7. Lobsterman*

      We live in a world with PFAS in every raindrop and trillions a year in wage theft.

      This doesn’t even begin to rate.

      1. Lydia*

        JFC, this. So many people going hard for two companies they don’t even know and not doing any sort of reflection on why they feel so strongly about it.

        1. Gerry Keay*

          “Maybe if I’m nice enough to the person stomping my neck with a boot, they’ll let me wear the boot one day.”

      2. Gumby*

        Oh, is that how it works? If you can find some other situation that is worse someplace else then you are not allowed to have opinions or make judgements about a certain situation. Great!

        “We live in a world where most girls in Afghanistan can’t go to school past age 12, some women (and girls) are forced into unwanted marriages, and other really terrible stuff. The wage gap in the US doesn’t even rate.”

        1. Marcia*

          Uhh buddy chill out there… I believe Lobsterman was talking about there being actual bad things happening in the world and all this pearl-clutching over a person working two jobs, which is not a bad thing, is not a good use of time or energy.

    8. My Useless 2 Cents*

      Also agree. There is a saying in a series of books I’ve read “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” It sounds like OP is handling both jobs at the current time. That doesn’t mean it is not inherently dishonest and unethical to do so.

        1. Meep*

          If time-tracking is involved, it is unethical and illegal to fudge timesheets to show you are working 40 hours at your job, if you are not. Wage fraud is a thing here.

          1. Disco Janet*

            And if time tracking isn’t required? Because most jobs don’t require it and Op hasn’t indicated that her job does.

        2. TechWorker*

          Because in senior positions your work is self directed but it’s very likely there’s an expectation you will be spending full time hours on it. It sounds like OP is spending 25 hours at most on their job, every week. (That’s different to having a week where everything gets done and you can chill out; in this scenario you are working systematically for significantly less time than the company thinks you are). There may well be others in similar roles who have gone part time & are being paid for part time, but do the same hours (or more!) as OP.

          1. Bob-White of the Glen*

            But most people in a 40 hour week only spend some fraction of that doing actual work. I’d say 30 on average if you take out wasted time, low production meetings, water cooler talk, etc. Someone working a very solid 25 hours in an organized and effective manner can easily do more work than a less industrious employee doing 40. Should a person be paid by the hour or by the job at this level?

        3. NaoNao*

          I don’t know if I agree it’s “unethical” but it rubs me the wrong way in a couple ways:

          Jobs at that level are limited. It’s not a guarantee that this magical “director level strategy job” paying $200k+ that you only need 25 hours of work per week would have gone to someone else but something feels…a bit greedy? iffy? about taking TWO such jobs off the market.

          Jobs that pay $200k+ are often paying people that high with a tactic understanding that their life will be pretty different than the library clerk making $50k or the independent contributor making $75k and working 5-6 hours a day and calling it good. There’s a social contract where these 6 figure jobs come with sacrifices–time, stress, on the road all the time, intense risk/decision making, in-demand skill sets, complex, nuanced thinking, a job that has high stakes, etc. But they also expect that you’re bought in and pretty dedicated to that company and that the majority of your brain power, creativity, Rolodex, best thought, energy, focus, and excitement is on them. That’s part of the high pay–for them to capture the intangibles of your high-worth work. Not just the hours or the deliverables literally.

          When someone isn’t making those sacrifices

    9. Anon all day*

      I find this absolutely nuts. Like, okay, because there are people who think like you do, that this is unethical, there could be fallout and reputation issues for OP. I fully acknowledge that we don’t exist in a vacuum, and these are valid concerns.

      HOWEVER, getting to the heart of the issue, I think it’s wild that people are arguing this is unethical. Why??? What duty or responsibility is OP not fulfilling for either job? There have been numerous questions here about people feeling guilt about not working a “full” work week and having a good amount of downtime, and almost all of the comments are, “good!” What makes it different when this OP decides to fill the downtime with another job?

      1. Marny*

        +1. OP only owes a job what she’s paid to do for them. If she does her job and earns her pay, she owes them nothing else beyond that. I cannot find the ethical lapse here.

    10. Meep*

      Yeah… Great for him being able to get away with it for as long as he does, but he is literally stealing from both companies if he is only working 50-60 hours combined as he claimed. That means he owes each company 10-15 hours a week!

      1. Disco Janet*

        How is she stealing from the companies? She is not an hourly employee, and she is meeting or exceeding their expectations for her work production/outcomes in her role.

      2. Glen*

        She isn’t an hourly worker. She’s not employed 40 hours a week, she is employed to do a job in return for a salary – and both companies are apparently happy that she is doing the amount of work they’re paying for. I’m sure they wouldn’t be happy if they knew, but that’s literally them expecting to get 1/3 again as much work out of her for the same price – not paying the extra. Of course they don’t like it, but their desire to get all that extra labour for free is in fact an ethical violation in and of itself. Lot of people in a real hurry to stand up for the interests of a corporation they know nothing about to the detriment of their fellow workers.

        1. Despachito*

          This exactly!

          If I hire and pay you to bake me 1 bread, but you are efficient enough to bake 3 breads in the same time, and if I found out, I require you to bake 3 breads with no salary raise, it is me who is being unethical, for wanting 3 times the output for the same money.

          OP owes absolutely NOTHING to both their employers.

    11. Summer*

      What fallout and reputation issues? For apparently doing a great job for both companies? Each company is getting what they need from OP and then some, from the sounds of it. I see nothing wrong with what OP is doing.

      There are plenty of jobs out there where an organized and intelligent person would be able to work both at once. As long as there are no conflicts of interest, what exactly is the problem? The work is getting done, and done well, and both employers are satisfied.

    12. Fun in HR*

      Employers have been abusing workers since time immemorial. What OP is doing is far more ethical than what employers do to workers every single day.

      More power to OP.

    13. Susie*

      I agree. This is just gross, and I don’t understand why a workplace advice site would celebrate scamming two employers.

      1. Despachito*


        How exactly, can you please specify?

        Both are getting the work they are paying for and are satisfied with it.

        Where do you see the scam?

  8. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

    How would this impact your taxes? In the UK, I think you pay a higher rate of teaching in a second job (?). I know you do your own tax returns in the US, and I’m curious about how tax would be calculated for two full time jobs?

    1. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

      Higher rate of TAX, in a second job… no idea where teaching came from, sorry!

      1. OP*

        I calculate the amount that would be taken if I earned the same amount at just 1 job, and have that extra tax amount withdrawn from my paychecks so I don’t have a huge bill at the end of the year!

        1. Ann O'Nemity*

          This is smart. And it probably wouldn’t raise HR eyebrows since there are a number of situations in which people need to have non-standard amounts of taxes withheld, for example married couples adjusting for their overall household income.

      2. This-is-a-name-I-guess*

        If you have more than one job in the US and don’t plan withholding properly, you end up owing taxes, instead of refund. OP can avoid owing taxes in April (when taxes are due) by increasing their withholding at one or both companies. Or, they can pay quarterly taxes to spread it out. It’s very common for this to happen, usually with young folks (who might have several jobs), grad students (who have weird funding), and people who collected Unemployment Insurance (the taxes they withhold at UI aren’t usually sufficient enough), etc.

    2. OneTwoThree*

      In the US, taxes are based on total income. It doesn’t really matter on how you get to that total amount. He would be taxed the same as if he earned $400K at one job, $200K at two jobs, or $200K at one job with $200K from investments.

      1. Red 5*

        I’m not a lawyer, tax law or otherwise, but this seems right. When I was freelancing while working a regular part time job, the IRS only cared for me to claim everything. They really didn’t care where it was from and I don’t they are interested in telling on anybody, considering some of the other things on regular tax forms.

        Whether this is okay to do is another question, but tax wise if they are declaring their income and filing correctly, it’s likely fine.

      2. Becca*

        Some types of income is taxed differently. I’m pretty sure you’re wrong about investment gains, and lottery winnings are taxed at a flat rate, at least in my state.
        2 jobs vs 1 job should be the same though (unless one is self employed in which case the extra social security and medicare taxes would increase them).

        1. Clisby*

          Investment gains are definitely not taxed at the same level as income. I thought maybe the commenter meant $200K in dividend income – I think dividends that are actually paid out are taxed like regular income, but I could be misinterpreting the regs.

        2. Bob-White of the Glen*

          No, long term capital gains are not taxed at the same rate as earned income. But they can sit underneath your other income and push your first (and obviously last dollar) earned dollar into a higher tax bracket. Plus, if you make enough there are additional taxes on investment incomes. But still worth paying a little extra on the last dollars you earn than not to earn it.

      3. BubbleTea*

        This is also the case in the UK. I worked two employed jobs and one self-employed one for a while. The tax office figured out a tax code for me and gave it to my employers so they each withheld the correct amount of taxes for the two salaried jobs. I pay my self-employment taxes at the end of the year.

    3. Taxes are a pain no matter how many jobs*

      You would end up in a higher tax bracket since you have 2 incomes. Any person with 2 jobs has the same thing, director level or a second job in say retail at night. From a tax withholding standpoint, neither job ever knows about the other. There are worksheets you can fill out to determine how much you should pay each paycheck to keep you from owing at the end of the year. TBH, my husband and I have to consider that and put aside extra tax money.

    4. sb51*

      US tax rate is based on total income (that’s an oversimplification but good enough for this discussion imho). Two full time jobs isn’t different for taxes than two part time jobs or a full time job plus nights/weekends part time somewhere else would be (much more common scenarios). And it’s not that different from one job plus non-work income (interest off investments, for example—which isn’t exactly the same but again, oversimplification is enough to get the basics here.)

      At a job, you fill out a form for the employer/government that basically says “withhold this much for taxes” and the defaults when you fill it out basically assume it’s your only job and give you some options based on your circumstances (if you’re supporting fifteen children and a stay-at-home-spouse vs single, for example). If you say you will owe more than the default, your employer doesn’t know why, they just proceed accordingly. It looks the same for two-job Joaquin and trust-fund Wakeen to the employer.

      If your estimate is a little off, you pay or get a refund at tax time. If it’s way off and you owe the government, there may be some penalties to pay. So if the person doing this let each job withhold the default, they may regret it at tax time.

      1. sb51*

        And I was slow enough typing that OP confirmed they’ve set this up exactly correctly, tax-wise.

    5. Yay, I’m a Llama Again!*

      Thanks all, that’s really interesting. My sister had an issue where she had her ‘main’ job for an airline but only over summer, so over winter she worked in a supermarket. So despite them happening at different times of the year, I know she was taxed on the fact in was a ‘second’ job, rather than overall total income. Which we also have different rates of tax for.

      1. LJ*

        I only have the vaguest impression from reading things online before, but is it that employers in the UK participate more in making sure you’re squared up properly for tax purposes? In the US, the employer just takes the employee’s declarations and withholdings whatever amount, but the final accounting is when individuals go to file their taxes. (So one can easily adjust withholdings, or simply make direct quarterly payments to the IRS).

        1. TechWorker*

          Ish – if you give your new employer the right forms they’ll make sure you’re on the right tax code (otherwise I think they sometimes assume ‘the worst’ and you’ll pay more tax in the short term because they don’t know what the code should be). HMRC works it all out at the end of the year though.

          (I actually think I’m a llama is wrong – sorry! – where the income comes from does not affect how much tax you owe; BUT what their sister might have run into is the above – Eg they paid higher tax out of their paycheck and then got it back at the end of the tax year).

        2. londonedit*

          Yeah the majority of UK workers are on what’s called PAYE (Pay As You Earn) which means that your taxes are deducted at source – so you receive your net pay minus tax, National Insurance, any pension contributions, student loan etc. The gross amount and all the deductions are detailed on your pay slip, but the amount you receive each month is net. And that’s it for most people. You only need to do a separate tax return if you have income from other sources, if you’re self-employed or if you’re a company director (in simple terms).

      2. BubbleTea*

        It’s to do with the tax code. Typically if you just have one job, your entire tax-free allowance (the amount you’re allowed to earn before paying tax on the income) is applied to your salary equally across the year. If you start a second job, the tax code applied to that job assumes that your entire tax-free allowance will be used up by the first job, so they tax you on all your second job income.

        If you have two jobs at once, you can get your tax code split across both jobs. If you earn 80% of your income in job A and 20% in job B, your tax codes can be worked so you get 80% of your tax-free allowance on job A and the rest on job B. At the end of the day you still pay the same amount of tax overall – and if you end up paying too much because you quit one of the jobs or something, you get a refund.

    6. Tumbleweed*

      You don’t get inherently taxed more for having a second job in the UK.

      Your overall income tax for the year is based on how much you have earned in the year from all (employment) sources and is the same if the total is from one job or five. BUT you often get put in the wrong tax code for the second job which can mean you initially pay too much tax at it – this should be corrected by HMRC automatically at the end of the tax year (if it isn’t persue it). It also massively confuses student finance if you have more than one job, which is a related issues. You can structure your tax free allowance to be taken all from one job or split between them depending on what suits best.

      But fundamentally an individual earning a total of say £30k from one job will pay the same amount in tax as an individual earning a total of £30k from two jobs (or three or four).

  9. Budgie Buddy*

    I value honesty pretty highly – prob more than most people – so I’d say the companies themselves get the final say on their policy for employees taking on outside. The opinion of friends/family/former companies isn’t relevant. If the two companies are fine with OP working at another place as long as the job requirements are met, then that’s their call. I don’t think OP has told them tho based on the letter.

    So yeah unethical and shady but when it’s working so well for you, it’s tempting to see how long you can keep the arrangement going. Sometimes you’ve got to look out for number one.

    Also I don’t think it’s relevant what OP does with the money earned. It’s theirs, whether they save it, spend it, or donate it. How money gets used is something that exists separately from how it was acquired. Like, I could steal 20 bucks I urgently need to pay a bill and be fine with that. It’s still a violation of my ethics but the consequences of being honest might outweigh the immediate benefit of keeping my lights on.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      The opinions of friends and family on how what you’re doing is great is right up there with the opinions of bartenders/baristas on how what you’re doing is great.

      1. OP*

        Nah I’d disagree – I highly respect opinions of my friends and family because I know them to be good people who live good lives, take care of their families, etc.

        1. Lydia*

          And if your friends are like mine, they will tell you when you might want to rethink things. I’m more likely to listen to one of my friends tell me that when I trust their opinion.

        2. Avril Ludgateaux*

          This is a bad way to approach values. Good people do bad things all the time, and bad people do good things. The behavior or act itself is what should be judged by a moral or ethical or just metric, not who is doing it, the same way the value of an opinion should be inherent to that opinion and not the person holding it.

          I’m neutral, or more precisely I am ambivalent so I am opting for the neutral response, on what you’re doing (assuming it is true – I rarely doubt OPs here, per the rules, but in this case I am dubious) but your justifications are remarkably immature.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            I’m neutral on what you’re doing, but your justifications are remarkably immature.
            You said in a line what took me several paragraphs downthread.

      2. Budgie Buddy*

        This is why that friend or family member who can say “I love you, but right now you’re being a shit” is so valuable even if it’s a rage-inducing thing to hear at the time. :P

      3. Recent Ex-Bartender*

        Not sure why you felt the need to snipe at and condescend to baristas and bartenders here. As someone who recently transitioned from the service industry into a more “traditional” setting, I often overhear my colleagues and other “professionals” using the idea of food, beverage and hospitality roles as a form of demeaning comparison. I hope you’ll rethink that in the future, especially if you’re someone who enjoys the benefits of that type of labor when you drink your latte or happy hour cocktail.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I don’t look down on those roles; I view them as ones where sympathetically listening as the customer confides in you is part of the role. (I’ll add in hairdressers, taxi drivers, etc.) Very few bartenders are going to shoot back “Look buddy, it sounds like you are the common factor in this problem you keep having: Let me tell you how you’re the one who’s out of line.”

          Every election people insist the polls are rigged because every person with whom they discuss their political views completely agrees with them, and that says more about them than it does about the universality of their views. Unless the question is “Do you enjoy breathing oxygen?” 100% buy-in from everyone you ask is likely a sign that your polling is flawed, not that you are so right no one would disagree.

        2. Raboot*

          I really don’t see how they’re demeaning anyone? A barista isn’t going to tell you you’re making bad life choices at your 200k a year job, they want to keep the line moving and maybe get a tip.

    2. This-is-a-name-I-guess*

      I think this is the fundamental disagreement we’re all having. OP has made it clear that there’s no victim for this “ethical crime.”

      So, some people think it’s unethical to lie to your employer. Some people (myself included) think most companies exploit their workers and don’t hold themselves up to the same ethical responsibilities as humans, so why should we be ethical to them?

      Who is OP actually stealing money from here? Not their coworkers. They are theoretically stealing money from the owners or the shareholders, both of whom are already rich and powerful. If OP were working for a nonprofit or for a floundering company where the owners are barely making ends meet, perhaps I’d care more.

      1. Susie*

        But why take up two jobs when there are plenty of people job searching who would love to be able to pay their own rent? Why is OP’s greed ethical?

        1. Avril Ludgateaux*

          This is really the only opposition I have to OP’s choice, because I agree with This-is-a-name-I-guess about the imbalance of ethical expectations, and exploitation, between employee and employer. But all I can think is, OP already makes plenty with one job ($200k/yr is within the top 2% of earnings in the United States; it’s a typical salary for a primary care physician, as a point of reference). There is somebody out there who is qualified, educated, trained for whatever Director role this is, who got passed over and maybe had to settle for less, because OP is effectively hoarding jobs, not because she needs to to survive, but because she simply wants more money. It’s one extra job, one person, and in the grand scheme of things it is a drop in the bucket. But if we assume OP is telling the truth, in a country of 165,000,000 workers, she’s not the only one doing this, and sharing her success at it encourages others to do the same.

          At the same time, if I could pull it off, and I was confident it wouldn’t tank my reputation and future, I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t do it. I know I am underpaid and underutilized in my current role; if I could basically duplicate my job, keep my workload within 40 hours but be a little busier each day, and take home double my salary? It would be stupid not to do it. So long as I was keeping up with my responsibilities at both roles, I would not even feel bad about doing it – although, I think I would be perpetually on edge about being “found out” and labeled as dishonest (because I, too, pride myself on honesty and integrity). Which I feel a little salty about, the potential that my character could be questioned even if nobody ever noticed that I had two jobs because my productivity was as expected. Somebody else in this thread said something like, the company is paying me for my output, not my presence, and I think that is a completely fair take.

          … Suffice it to say, I’m very torn on this, ideologically, as a pro-labor anti-capitalist.

    3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Neither company has a policy forbidding outside employment, so I don’t think they care. If they allowed it, but you had to report it, that would be the policy and LW would have to do that. In the absence of a policy, though, why should she have to report the second job to anyone?

    4. Double A*

      Why have we internalized the idea companies get any say in what we do in our free time? They want to salary us so we can do the job regardless of the amount of hours it takes; why do we all accept that this means a MINIMUM of time for the company rather than just getting the job done? Why do we all accept that we have “unpaid” lunches? That we spend hours of our “free time” each day on tasks so we can be ready for work, when companies are rarely happy to allow us “their” time to do things that make our home lives better? Or even to do things that benefit our health, even though being healthy benefits the company? For instance, I’m a much better worker when I get regular exercise. I can’t do that because between my job and my kids, I don’t have time for regular exercise. If I could take a couple of hours each week to get exercise, I’d get as much done, and yet that would be seen as “stealing.”

      I think we’re fundamentally brainwashed to be clock punchers because it benefits companies for us to have that mindset. I’m all for people who can do good work outside of the rigid ideas most of us have about work. Good for them, even if most of us probably couldn’t do it (and maybe wouldn’t want to try).

      1. Salsa Verde*

        I agree with this, especially “They want to salary us so we can do the job regardless of the amount of hours it takes” – this is what pops into my head when I learn about someone working two full time jobs like this.
        When companies are asked why salaried people don’t earn overtime, they say that they are paying salaried employees to do the job no matter how long it takes. So, OP is following that logic exactly.

        Coming from the service industry, it’s often the case that when someone moves up to a manager level and becomes salaried, the understanding is that they will actually make LESS than they were making as an hourly employee because they will no longer get overtime. If this OP was an hourly employee, it would be an entirely different situation, but if she is salaried, they are paying for her to do the job, and she is. Who cares how many hours it takes her? Who cares what she does with the rest of her time?

      2. JustInPassing*

        Is it free time if the company is paying you for that time, though? If they were hired as full-time and full-time is 40 hours a week, but during 15 of those hours they’re working for someone else, how is that not their business?

        1. Marny*

          If OP gets her job done for each company, then is it any different than if she worked 25 hours and futzed around drinking coffee and gossiping with coworkers the rest of the time?

        2. Disco Janet*

          If OP wrote in saying they have been taking breaks during the day to go for a walk, take longer lunches, etc., and just prioritize themself, but that they were still working 25-30 hours a week and meeting or exceeding expectations because they are very focused and productive when they are working, I bet you (and the posters jere in general) would commend them for it.

          But when people instead use their focus and productivity to make extra money, they get derision. It’s gross. You should rethink the capitalistic gut reaction you’re having here that only benefits CEOs and corporations’ bottom lines.

          1. Eyes Kiwami*

            What could be more capitalistic than booking the same working hours to two companies in order to get more money for yourself?
            Also OP is a director making 200K at each job. She is high-level management at both companies.
            OP’s choice is not a pro-labor underdog victory, nor is disagreeing with her choice a capitalist scumbag reaction.
            All of this is just grabbing what you can from the shrinking communal pool and running away.

      3. Summer*

        Absolutely Double A! I do not understand these people taking the side of the businesses – your business doesn’t care about you! They only care for what you can provide to them.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      Why should companies be the final arbiter of what their employees do with their time? A company, particularly a publicly owned one, is going to chase profit over the best interests of its employees. Of all the arguments against OP’s second job, the company being “wronged” is the one that makes the lease sense to me. People lie to their employers all the time (including by omission) – I’m not looking for another job, this raise is fine, I’m sick today, I’m not available to do this OT, my plate is too full to take on that project for Guacamole Bob. If OP’s doing both jobs to the satisfaction of the employer, I think “honesty” is overrated and certainly not something the employer would give them.

      If a company wants to bar outside employment, they’re welcome to do so – our company handbook requires approval for other jobs because of the nature of our business and the potential for non-obvious conflicts, however, they also approve other employment if there is no business-related issue. OP would be risking termination for violating company policy, not for any ethical reason.

      1. Clisby*

        That’s pretty much where I come down. SO many companies do have restrictions on working other jobs – that’s not some exotic idea that’s hardly ever occurred to an employer. (Likely not too many of them are thinking about the possibility of employees holding 2 full-time jobs, but employees having a separate part-time gig or freelancing on the side are reasonably common.) If this were something that mattered to them, they could have established that policy.

  10. L-squared*

    I will say I found the debate on that fascinating, because so many people seemed to be basing their opinion on how much she was making.

    With the info OP provided in the update, I’m even more on her side here. She isn’t hurting anyone, so she should do her thing

    1. hbc*

      Because there’s a difference between working two jobs to keep afloat and working two jobs to push you higher up into the 1%.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I don’t remember seeing any indication that LW is in the top 1%, certainly not that she would’ve been before taking the second job. Is that just because the jobs are director-level?

        1. hbc*

          And to be fair, this is more like 1% if these are the only two incomes in the home. Still, there aren’t a lot of places where you couldn’t live comfortably on $200K, especially if you’re remote working and not worrying about being close enough to commute.

          1. hbc*

            *2%. This situation irritates me so much I’m losing accuracy. I’ve been impacted so many times by people who are confidant that they’re working so much harder and better than everybody else and are really good at getting others to buy into the image.

      2. L-squared*

        I mean, I guess I see it as you may understand it more. But if we are talking about ethics, it really makes no difference. Its either right or wrong (however you choose to see it), but it doesn’t magically become wrong once someone crosses a certain income threshold

        1. HA2HA2*

          I think for a lot of people, the it DOES make a big difference. “I’m doing this because otherwise I starve and can’t go see a doctor” is going to be very different, ethically, from “I’m doing this because I’d really like my second yacht to have a diamond-studded swimming pool”.

          1. L-squared*

            But even with those 2 extreme ridiculous examples, the ethics of it doesn’t change. Stealing is still stealing whether or not you are doing it for fun or to feed your family. You may be much more sympathetic to someone stealing for the latter reason, but ethically, its still wrong.

            1. socks*

              That’s far from universally agreed upon. The ethical weight of rules vs intent vs consequences vs a million other things has been under debate for literal millenia.

              1. L-squared*

                No, its not universally agreed upon, like many things. But I don’t think most people are ever going to say stealing is morally right, though they may understand what led someone to do it and have sympathy.

                I just don’t think it really matters. If we take OP at their word that they aren’t inconveniencing their coworkers, then either working 2 full time jobs and not telling the company is ok at any income level, or its wrong at any income level. Your feelings about “well, if its under 75k total I’m ok with it, but at 76k i’m not”, just don’t really make sense.

                1. socks*

                  I actually think a lot of people would say there are circumstances where stealing, or lying, or whatever else are perfectly fine.

                  Personally, I think OP is morally in the clear regardless of how much money they’re making, but factoring context into your moral system isn’t inherently nonsense.

                2. elena*

                  agree with socks here, that regardless of my personal view, i know lots of people who feel that stealing from unethical giant corporations is perfectly fine, if not outright morally correct. you dont have to agree, but lots of people DONT agree that stealing is inherently wrong

            2. biobotb*

              By *your* ethical standards, those scenarios are the same. Other people have different ethical frameworks.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          The 1% are not working for their money. They’re letting it flow in from the passive income on all that inherited wealth.

          1. Avril Ludgateaux*

            You may be thinking of the top 0.1%, or 0.01%, but the top 1% are still squarely in ‘work for money’ territory. An internist and a surgeon or anesthesiologist married to each other are likely in the top 1%. A corporate lawyer and a software engineer or senior developer. A CPA and a certified nurse anesthetist in NYC as well. Hell, in the NYC metro area, an experienced CPA alone can be in the 1%.

        2. Anon all day*

          Something that was super eye-opening for me was the visual line graph of the average income at each percent, and how at like a percentage of a percent, it just skyrocketed off of the “page”. Any six figure salary is nothing burgers to the people at the tippy top.

          1. DyneinWalking*


            These days, the distribution of income largely resembles an exponential curve… so being in the top few percent in terms of income doesn’t indicate nearly as much wealth as you’d think. The billions are wned by a percent of a percent.

            Me and my boyfriend – as well as most of our acquaintances – are in the top 5% income-wise (in Germany), easily, and individually. But we aren’t rolling in money. We have solid savings and money left over to put into personal retirement funds, we own our modest homes, we can afford to go on nicer vacations. In other words – we are living what would’ve been a regular middle-class life style a few decades ago.
            I always knew we were privileged and that such things as owning you home are less common these days, so would have guessed us to be not in the top 60-40%, but rather in the top 30% or something like that… I was absolutely gobsmacked when I realized we are in the upper single-digit percent!

            And weirdly… I feel less guilty about my privilege now than when I’d have guessed us in the top 30%. Because it made me realize that the income distribution really has come to resemble an exponential curve – the money we have is still infinitely less than that of the top percent of a percent. We aren’t the money hoggers, we didn’t in fact profit off the economic growth – we are the sliver of the population that remained miraculously unaffected by social change and was able to simply maintain their middle-class life style…

            Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I just felt it necessary to underline just how out of whack today’s wealth distribution is, and what amount of “riches” and “luxuries” a high income really provides… It certainly was a shocking revelation to me.

        3. Clisby*

          You don’t need to make anywhere close to billions to be in the top 1% of income earners in the US. It takes less than $600,000 (overall – if you’re looking at the state level, it takes way less to be in the top 1% in WV v. in CT.)

  11. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    I still can’t help but feel that both employers have no idea how to staff the position(s) that you are in, because otherwise they’d realize that you’re costing them a 40 hours/week salary for at best 25 hours/week of work.

    1. Lydia*

      You shouldn’t be working at capacity for any job. It’s not good for you or the projects you’re working on and it doesn’t allow you to take up emergencies.

      1. DrSalty*

        Time to deal with emergencies should not even be remotely close to enough time to work an entire second job

        1. Lydia*

          That wasn’t the point I was making…? There is research that exists showing how much time people actually work at a 40 hour a week job. That research has been linked on this here website. I think y’all are forgetting that a good chunk of time spent at work isn’t actually that productive.

    2. Raboot*

      It’s not “40 hours/week salary”, it’s just “salary”. The whole point of salary is “getting the work done” instead of counting hours. Funny how that’s only an ethical problems when that time is under 40 hours a week. Companies are free to make all positions hourly instead. I’m sure they’re eager to pay overtime to the people working 100 hour weeks.

      1. Pennyworth*

        I was thinking that too – OP is employed to do the work, and presumably would be expected to work more than 40 hours if required. An inefficient person doing either of her jobs might well need to work 40 hours or more, but as OP is highly efficient and organized, she can get the work done in 25-30 hours. Being able to simultaneously hold down a second job seems a reasonable use of her skills.

      2. RoseMai*

        Just want to quickly point out that you can be salary/non-exempt (OT eligible) or salary/exempt (not OT eligible). In the US, whether a job is non-exempt is based on a series of questions that determines the job level, as well as income made. So someone at a Director level and 200k+ at 40 hours a week could not be classified as non-exempt and get OT. But the company could make that role part-time and adjust the income, or re-scope the job description to actually need 40 hours/week of work.

    3. Chickaletta*

      Are you arguing that OP’s salaries should be cut in half for the work they’re doing right now? Because they are not just doing their job, they’re also taking on extra projects and getting excellent feedback, yet you seem to still think they’re not worth their pay because it’s the hours that matter more than the work.

      Here’s the thing: different people take different amounts of time to do the same work. I get my work done in <40 hours most weeks, but my predecessor regularly came in on weekends to catch up. Between the two of us, the job averages 40/hrs week. Many job positions are like this (especially salaried office jobs), and I think it's wrong to penalize efficient workers with less pay.

  12. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    I’m glad that you are doing well, LW, but I have to wonder about the jobs themselves, that you can still manage both of them with relative ease – makes me think they don’t need to be full time. Again, get what you can while you can, but I’m guessing much of your hesitation in telling either of your employers is that, if they knew you were doing this, they would take a look at the position to see if it actually needed to be a full-time position, and that would adversely affect your nice little set-up!

    I think many people feel strongly b/c we do not have the option to do this for various reasons – and maybe we’d like to! Your letter is one I very much did not relate to, as it absolutely comes from a place of privilege and that’s not my experience. It can be very disheartening for those of us not in such a privileged position to read something like this, knowing that there’s no way our circumstances would allow us to collect 2 (probably very nice!) salaries with this sort of ease, and it can be hard not to be resentful of the fact that our 1 job requires so much of us without the monetary rewards.

    I just wanted to add that perspective. It’s certainly not your fault you have such privilege, but it can look very out of touch for the majority of American workers, and I’d guess that’s where the strong opinions come from.

    1. OP*

      Really good perspective and I appreciate your comments! I absolutely recognize my place of privilege. Now, I did have to work my a$$ off to get where I am, and my position comes after paying off a boat-ton of student loans and living paycheck to paycheck in my younger years. That’s not at all to say that everyone can get there just like me – everyone has different situations and backgrounds, and with the way our society is set up, just don’t have the ability to get where I am. So again, appreciate your feedback and some of my privilege (time and money) to goes to addressing these gaps.

    2. Ellen Ripley*

      Ah yeah, it was in the original letter that they are getting $200k for each job…

      And honestly to the OP I think it’s great that you “worked your ass off” and “lived paycheck to paycheck” but so have millions of other people and they aren’t being rewarded with such large sums of money. That’s what grosses me out about this letter.

      1. Disco Janet*

        It strikes me as extremely unfair to say this “grosses you out.” So because some people have to live paycheck to paycheck forever…what? No one else should ever manage to get themself out of that situation? That’s very much a ‘crabs pulling eachother back into the pot’ kind of mentality.

        1. Ellen Ripley*

          Income inequality does gross me out! Why is the time of someone who works a physically demanding job or a position that deals with difficult customers or any other challenging job 40 hours per week worth only 1/8th of this person in their cushy home office working 25 hours a week? I know this isn’t OP’s problem to solve. But do you think OP’s time is worth 10x more than someone cleaning hotel rooms or working retail? That disparity in the perceived value of people’s time is gross.

          1. Ellen Ripley*

            To clarify further, the expectations of someone who makes six figures are often far less than the expectations of someone who makes a fraction of their salary. That is what is made very obvious by this letter, and that is what I find to be gross.

            1. U*

              I hear you. It’s not OP’s fault that it works that way and yet it feels icky to see someone gaming the system and “winning” capitalism when it’s only her privilege that lets her do so. And as someone who lives in Silicon Valley but doesn’t work in tech, that she’s bringing in 400k while I’m over here never going to be able to buy a house with my social services salary bites a little bit. Again, not her fault that it works that way, but feelings aren’t rational. And so I honestly think the question isn’t “is this unethical” but “will this feel unethical to my employers and cost me one or both jobs”-and there we know the answer. Whether it’s fair or not, if one or both of her companies finds out, they’re going to feel like they’ve been lied to and those meets expectations won’t mean much.

            2. BubbleTea*

              Would you feel better about it if LW was only being paid one salary for one job, but still getting far more than someone doing harder manual work? I’m not sure how that’s really related to whether or not it’s ethical to work two jobs.

    3. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      Absolutely. Thanks for phrasing that so well. I work in a role that requires I meet with people. There is no way I could work a 2nd full time job – it’s hard enough for me to find time to go to the doctor!

  13. Taxes are a pain no matter how many jobs*

    You would end up in a higher tax bracket since you have 2 incomes. Any person with 2 jobs has the same thing, director level or a second job in say retail at night. From a tax withholding standpoint, neither job ever knows about the other. There are worksheets you can fill out to determine how much you should pay each paycheck to keep you from owing at the end of the year. TBH, my husband and I have to consider that and put aside extra tax money.

    1. Taxes are a pain no matter how many jobs*

      This was in reply to an earlier post. My phone got silly. :/

  14. anonagaintoday*

    Just curious – what happens when a future company does a background check? Even on my credit report, it shows companies I have been employed at.

    1. BPT*

      This is a good question – you can leave jobs off resumes without issue, but a background check asking for a comprehensive list of all jobs you’ve worked is a different issue.

    2. Anonym*

      OP may want to save copies of each company’s employment policy just in case, to prove that neither forbid or required disclosure of the situation at the time it was occurring. Plus maybe the performance reviews. Of course, anything can be edited so it may not alleviate their concerns, but it could provide a bit of backup.

    3. Velociraptor Attack*

      This is the big red flag to me. Okay, let’s say OP gets away with it (and I absolutely do think they’re getting away with something here if the question is on ethics), what happens when they apply for their next job? The longer they stay at both of these jobs the more there’s going to be a question about how there are two jobs with significant overlap, especially if they are applying with only one of them on their resume.

    4. J*

      I keep thinking the same. My husband had to produce pay stubs from previous employers when the background check couldn’t find info due to a name change. They tried to correct his dates of hire for one employer because his first paycheck didn’t come for a month. They knew that level of detail on his employment and this isn’t a place with some sort of security clearance, though clearly a very thorough background check.

    5. peopleperson*

      Yup. Our background checks would uncover this, lying about it would be an instant withdrawal of the offer. Doing it at all would seem sketchy.

  15. Person from the Resume*

    Thanks for the update, LW.

    I am extremely disappointed to hear it’s going great. I do still think it’s unethical to simultaniously work two FT jobs when both expect you to put in a “normal” ~8 hour for them. I am not excited that there’s this example out there on the interwebs where people can point to and say it’s going great.

    Maybe this is the one unicorn person / jobs this works for. As a few other commenters have noted, when they hear director they expect someone to have a rather large number of employees working for them and that’s not the case with these jobs. If the LW is correct in her assessment of her performance then I think she’s an outlier and also someone with a lot of energy just to be performing well at two full time jobs and having more energy than I do after my work day.

    I’m not going to go back and read all the updates to the original letter. I just don’t feel adversarial with my employer. I’m not trying to take them for everything I can get. They do pay me well and have good benefits so I’m not in a desperate situation though.

    1. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      I think a lot of people are glomming on to the hours aspect but if you really look at your work day are you toiling for 8 hours, heads down work? Sometimes we all are when big deadlines are here and we don’t get paid overtime or have comp days off as salaried employees. So as long as neither company’s policy explicitly forbids it, this is not an hours issue. It’s not an issue, unless one of the companies decide that it is and if its not violating policies it’s not their business. What if a corporate professional also ran an Etsy store on the side and put in 40 hours a week for their Etsy store completing orders and shipping them out during the workday lulls in their “day job”? That would be simultaneous working of two jobs regardless of hours… which is none of anyone’s business unless there is a policy violation. At present, we take OP at their word with the additional details revealed and not question those details (no indication they are being adversarial with their employer).

      I certainly did not work more than 2 hours today in total, but I will be working a lot more tomorrow based on my calendar. Nobody is questioning or demanding that I put in 8 hours of heads down work, and my stellar reputation stands (salaried employees need only successful management and completion of their work whether it takes 15 minutes or 15 hours above and beyond the so-called 40 hour work week). I’m also a director with a small team and yes, there are directors with no direct reports, or performing niche skills that are individual comtributor. The 8 hour day/40 hour work week is becoming an old adage (like butts in seats are more valuable) and old societal norms are pivoting away from old school thinking surely but slowly with the pandemic being a catalyst for many changes in ways of thinking about work, life, getting what you want and need out of a job, etc.

    2. Disco Janet*

      There is literally an entire subreddit devoted to this with many people doing it successfully. The acting as if OP is this disappointing example others will now aspire to is a bit much. There are already of plenty of people out there doing this. (And Op, you would probably enjoy that subreddit. Honestly, I think you’re seeing a lot of jealousy here. Heck – I’m a little jealous! But in a ‘good for you – I would do that if I could’ kind of way.)

    3. Teagan*

      “If the LW is correct in her assessment of her performance”? It’s not the LW’s assessment of her own performance – she’s getting formal performance reviews! The twisting some people in this comments section are doing to try to find fault with this letter writer, who is hurting no one and from the sound of it adding value to both organizations, is astonishing.

    4. FedVet*

      I am extremely disappointed in this response.

      Employees are not slaves. Companies do not have an ethical or moral right to make it so. LW is working two jobs to the satisfaction of their employers, and that’s all that matters.

      Trying to tell LW they are a bad person for not buying into the wage slavery / fealty to a single employer idea is really, really obnoxious and horrible.

  16. GreenEyedMonster*

    If this person is able to execute two director-level jobs at the same time without breaking a sweat then they should be aiming far higher in the positions they interview for.

    1. Anonym*

      Why? I mean, sounds like they could if that sort of role exists in their career path, but you’re not obligated to work at your highest possible level. That’s energy that can be directed to other parts of life.

      Plus, it sounds like they aren’t managing people – in many tracks, the more senior roles involve that, and we all know it’s a different skillset. Skilled subject matter expert x 2 =/= skilled manager.

    2. Important Moi*

      They may not “want” to.

      Higher positions often result in having to interact with MORE people. No need to raise visibility, if it’s not necessary.

    3. learnedthehardway*

      That might not be a possibility, based on the OP’s experience level, and on the fact that both their roles are individual contributor positions at director levels of decision making. I mean, to get a VP level position, they’d have to be managing a team, most likely. And they would likely need to have additional experience to qualify them for that level. .

      It’s something to think about, though – ie. there’s likely to come a time when the OP will have gotten the experience and growth they can get from the positions and will want to think about their future career progression. At that point, it will probably be necessary for the OP to quit one or both of the roles for something more senior and more demanding.

      1. OP*

        I definitely like where I am now…I don’t have the desire to manage people right now. Honestly I make more working 2 jobs than I would at the next level (VP) and either job, and would have more responsibility and people reporting to me. At some point I might want to promote but would agree – could only do one job at that point. And I’m aiming to retire in a few years.

        1. Anonym*

          This all makes even more sense as the slide into home plate. Risk is lower if this is your last career phase, just keep chugging until you can sail off into the sunset. Congrats, OP!

    4. Ann Ominous*

      Why would she do that? They’re making 400k a year working 50-60 hours a week, have good work/life balance, getting excellent performance reviews, and looking to retire in a few years. Why would she change anything?

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      Why? Not everyone wants what’s at the next level up.

      I have a director-level position. The next rung up is C-suite, which is far too political, visible, time-intensive, and people-y for my taste. I have no desire to be a chief of any sort. But my director-level position doesn’t make me break a sweat a lot of days and pays me perfectly well.

      It’s no different than individual contributors not wanting to move into management. It’s not the same job, and not everyone wants that other job.

  17. Lifelong student*

    I could have done this when I was working. My position was based on my skills and credentials. I have had two jobs- in sequence not at the same time. Neither job consumed my whole day- in fact in each job I could have done the actual requirements for half a day. However, employers at that time did not recognize that expertise did not require butts in seats- and expected that. I was worth my salary at both places. If there had been a way to measure my work product instead of time- I could have done either job in half the time I was in the office and been paid for the value I gave both employers. Plus, I wouldn’t have been bored for half the day.

  18. ecnaseener*

    Thanks for the update & clarifications! In particular I remember a lot of debate over your statement about people who dotted-line-report to you, it’s good to hear that you’re not pushing your work onto them.

    I don’t know where I land on the ethics, but it’s definitely impressive that you’re performing well in both jobs well after the learning-curve period is over.

    1. OP*

      Thanks! I took that point to heart in particular – the concern at pushing my work off on others, so I’m very cautious to never do that.

      1. Valancy Snaith*

        So how does that square with having dotted line reports to “accomplish day-to-day activities?”

        1. OP*

          They do their jobs (what they are paid and what’s in their job descriptions to do, and they do them well) and I do mine.

          1. Mouse*

            How would you feel if you found out one of them, who meets the baseline expectations of the role but for the sake of the hypothetical does not excel, does so in ~25 hours per week and spends the rest of her time on another job?

            (not meant to be snarky, I’m genuinely curious)

            1. OP*

              All power to them! As mentioned by a lot of people- companies are paying for output. Meet expectations, I don’t care how long it takes you or what you do in your free time.

            2. Important Moi*

              Why would OP have to “have” to have feelings about it? They’ve already said work is not pushed onto other people.

              What if OP has no feelings? I’m not being snarky either.

              The philosophical discussion has been interesting, but I don’t think anyone changed their mind.

          2. WhatAMaroon*

            I feel like that’s the point where it could become challenging; if you have dotted line coworkers who start just not doing their job well it’s a decent amount of time to get that escalated and fixed and even if it’s not your fault, if it affects the work you need to get done likely there are expectations around getting it fixed. I’m still conflicted about where I land on all of this because I can see both sides of the argument. I think there’s a bit of luck here that your coworkers are good and doing what they need to do; if that changes I suspect these roles get much harder.

  19. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP — You’ve addressed your tax withholding already, but what are you doing about your other benefits? Medical insurance, for example.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      In the US, you would just say you’re getting medical/dental etc through your spouse–you aren’t required to take those benefits. If there are 401K limits, you just don’t take advantage of that perk at one of the jobs.

    2. Lydia*

      Most places you don’t have to opt in to the insurance if you don’t want to. You can indicate you have other insurance coverage and won’t need the coverage provided by your employer.

  20. Kimmy Schmidt*

    Thanks for the update! I’m so curious what your day to day looks like. How many hours do you normally work, and how do you split that time between the two gigs? Have there been any simultaneous fires at both organizations? Have there been any days where you really thought “this ain’t worth it”? Have you ever accidentally let slip anything about the other job – called a coworker the wrong name or used the wrong acronym or anything?

    1. OP*

      No slips like that! I work 50-60hrs in a normal week. I have 2 distinct desk setups in my office so when I’m at one job, I’m in that mindset. And the industries are so different that it’s easy to keep what I’m doing and who I’m talking to straight. Yes, “this ain’t worth it” has crossed my mind when there are fires going on at both – but once I’ve navigated the issues, it’s ok. That’s only been a couple times. Most fires are never as bad as you originally think they’re going to be!

      1. Nopetopus*

        I understand if you can’t comment for anonymity’s sake, but I’m so curious how someone ends up at the Director level in two different industries? Are they both related to your degree in different capacities? More power to you!!

        1. OP*

          Yes, they are related to my degrees and prior work experiences and are similar roles, just in 2 different industries.

      2. Wes*

        Thank you for your update, I am pleased for you (and jealous of you!) that it’s working out.

        How, on a day-to-day basis, do you do your work? Is it like 7am-1pm you focus on job A, and 1pm-7pm you focus on job B? Do you alternate between job A and job B tasks every hour? What happens if both jobs schedule a meeting at the same time?

        1. OP*

          No, I don’t block time specific to one job or the other. I work which one needs my focus or makes sense to do at any given time. Most of my meetings are ones I own so I can control for that, but if I have a conflict I’ll just decline the one that isn’t as urgent. Has anyone else noticed that maybe 75% of meetings could be replaced by a 1:1 phone call? Or maybe that’s just the nature of my position. I’ll check in with the meeting owner for ones I have to decline and so far it hasn’t been a problem.

          1. Product Person*

            “If I have a conflict I’ll just decline the one that isn’t as urgent.”

            Ah! But that’s where an ethical problem exists for me. See, OP, I was in your shoes, but I got green light from both companies first — and accepted a slightly lower salary in both as a result.

            Why? Declining any meeting inconvenience others. One of the expectations of full time compensation where I work is that you will be available for meetings unless there is a valid reason, like a dentist’s appointment, or the need to concentrate on finishing important work, or a family emergency.

            But now on top of those valid reasons, you may need to decline other meetings because of your other job? Even if the topic is not urgent, the person now will have to find another slot and that may affect their availability, so there is impact on others. That has an impact on others, even if in your case it’s not very frequent.

            I’d never feel morally comfortable doing that behind my employers’ back. I hope all goes well for you, but if I were your boss in one of the jobs and learned about the second job by accident, I’d not be very understanding.

  21. Doctors Whom*

    In my line of work we are required as a condition of employment to disclose any outside professional engagements, and conflict of interest provisions explicitly include a discussion of conflict of time. There are well laid out examples that make clear that what OP is doing would be in violation of our policies.

    So with that said, I find it just curious that the OP has gone out of their way to bounce the ethics off of friends and family, who make no decisions and set no policies, but has not mentioned reviewing the conflict of interest policies at either workplace. The OP also deleted their LinkedIn account, which means they are actively hiding this situation from both employers. Those two things together make me surmise that the OP knows that the arrangement would be frowned upon and barred by at least one of the employers. If you have time to ask every friend in your life if they think you’re being shady…. then you have time to read the policies at your workplace.

  22. hbc*

    OP, how do you reconcile this: “I am not pushing any of my responsibilities onto any coworkers…”
    with this from your previous letter: “I don’t have any direct reports, but have awesome teammates who dotted-line report to me and who I can rely on to accomplish day-to-day activities”?

    Are those day-to-day activities really outside the scope of your work and not just stuff those coworkers have had to pick up because they’re used to goldbrickers in the role and don’t know what an actual ~40hr/week employee can do? Is this really sustainable or did you luck into two managers who were on their way out so weren’t really looking at details?

    I truly think the only reason people in your life are declaring this as ethical is that we have a tendency to worship Hard Workers putting in More Hours in America, and they see you putting in 60 hours for two paychecks as more honorable than someone putting in 30 hours for one.

    1. ADidgeridooForYou*

      This. The rules say to take the OP at their word, so I will, but I have a REALLY hard time believing that nothing gets pushed onto their other coworkers. If not, it must be a pretty undemanding job lol (not that that’s a bad thing).

    2. Hlao-roo*

      I think the OP clarified this statement in the comments on the original post:

      My meaning here was relying on others for the things they do in the course of their job, like data they crunch and provide so that I can make decisions based on that. Not pawning my work off on them.

      The sentence probably would have read better if she had written “I don’t have any direct reports, but have awesome teammates who dotted-line report to me and who I can rely on to accomplish their day-to-day activities.”

      1. OP*

        Thanks for helping to clarify, Hlao-roo. Yes, that’s correct. The things my co-workers do are definitely in the realm of their responsibility – not just historically, but by what their roles are supposed to do.

      2. Yorick*

        What’s clear from the original letter is that the two jobs scheme wouldn’t work if the dotted-line reports weren’t doing the work so well. Whether that’s because they’re perfectly handling work that OP would normally be helping with or not, it means that OP is relying very heavily on junior colleagues in order to collect another six figure salary. Those (presumably lower-paid) people should be the ones to be able to take a break now and then, but instead they aren’t getting full support from OP because OP’s only working 25 hours a week.

    3. Big Bank*

      I’m still just stuck on meetings/calls attendance. I might be able to fit another job’s worth of independent work into my schedule, but what happens when you have two priority calls at 11 am, one at each job? How are you explaining your inability to prioritize the meeting to the company whose call you skip out on? If you have to say it’s for another important call, you may quickly be bold faced lying when you’re asked “with who” or “about what”.

      Maybe it’s just because I come from a call/meeting heavy employer, but I can’t get past this one.

      1. Anon all day*

        It’s definitely because of your background. I can’t think of the last time I had a priority call that had to be scheduled at a certain time without any flexibility. I’m not sure if it’s honestly ever happened.

    4. LJ*

      > they see you putting in 60 hours for two paychecks as more honorable than someone putting in 30 hours for one.

      Do they? Would you look down on someone if they said they completed all their job responsibilities (well) within 30 hours a week instead of 40?

  23. Three Flowers*

    What kind of industry is so full of full-time jobs that don’t take even close to full-time to do that one person can have *two* *high-level* ones and no one notices?

    From either industry I’ve worked in (with master’s degrees!), getting paid full-time salary to work so few hours sounds… entitled? Wildly privileged? I’m not even sure what, and I can’t get past it to have an opinion on the ethics. But I will say lots of us put in more hours at one job than you do at two, OP, and you’ll lose some credibility as a person, if not a professional, if you make a habit of telling people this.

    1. Annony*

      Not OP and don’t know the specifics however, I have a “friend” who has a flexible, WFH job. They will tell family members that they are on calls to foreign countries at all hours of the day or night, but admit to me they are lying and the job is super easy. They too have multiple higher education degrees. I assume they have a similar job to OP and like OP it has taken years to get to this level of seniority and pay.
      Said friend told me once that the more you know, the less you do. Maybe it was the higher up you go, the less you do. It was along those lines.

    2. Lydia*

      Only because our system is so tied to what you produce and your loyalty to the company as being indicative of your morality that we can’t see how this could possibly work. OP says they’ve received raises and high ratings at reviews. Clearly they’re doing all right. I really think the distaste everyone is experiencing comes a lot from the OP making an unjust system work for her. She’s figured out how to exploit a loophole when, normally, we’re the victims of loopholes, not the benefactors.

    3. Tea*

      I mean, the fact is that some people are just wildly good and efficient at their jobs. OP may very well be the sort of person who gets double done in the same amount of time as you or I or the average office worker. Is that a privilege partially borne of genetics, personal disposition, and upbringing? Probably, but I can’t see why it would cause a person to lose credibility if they’re able to perform at a very high level.

      1. Anon4This*

        This. If I am totally honest, I just can’t figure out why it takes some of the people I work with so long to do things and why others have never bothered to learn some basic Excel or other tech skills to expedite what they do. I have also been criticized for doing things “too quickly” and making other people who are working at “normal speed” look bad. I do a lot of side projects for my boss to keep myself occupied, and I get paid more because I produce more in the same amount of time.

        I spend a lot of time hiding and downplaying my skills from peers because being very efficient is criticized as “entitled” and “wildly privileged” by people who can’t do it. I make a habit of NOT telling people when I actually finished something exactly to avoid the I-work-so-many-more-hours chest beating.

        1. BubbleTea*

          I have the same role as one other person. The part of our job that involves phone calls takes however long it takes (the calls can vary from 5 minutes to 3 hours) but I am definitely significantly faster at the writing up part. If I had a job that was almost entirely writing-focused I’d be extremely efficient and productive in it. It is a bit frustrating because my reward for being efficient is that I spend a lot of time sitting round waiting for the phone to ring.

    4. top five???*

      I’m not a big fan of this person taking two jobs, but I’ll just say that most companies probably surveil the lowest-level employees the most conscientiously, and it sounds like the OP is doing 50-60 hours most week, so I would like it if fewer people would put more hours into one job because that’s a lot.

    5. hodie-hi*

      FWIW, I’ve been an individual contributor on a team of peers, all working on very similar parts of a whole. One person on our team complained often that he felt his load was almost unbearable. But when compared to everyone else’s load, he had the lightest in reality. One other person and myself each had double his load. It became clear that he was very inefficient and took the longest possible route to accomplishing each task. I don’t know if that was deliberate or out of ignorance, but it was really grating. If I’d claimed that I had no capacity to take on more deliverables, I could have sustained a workload like his with part time hours and nobody would have known (working from home). Everyone on our team, including our manager, knew he was full of crap and this team mate lost credibility as a result.

      1. Nom*

        I think this is an important point. Plenty of people get away with putting in less than their peers, and OP may be in that situation. Op states they have gotten praise but we also know from reading this blog that many managers are oblivious. Are coworkers picking up OP’s slack?

    6. Suz*

      A former manager at my current job spent 90% of her day wandering around the office chatting with people. I can totally see her replacement being able to get the job done in 20 hours a week.

  24. itsame*

    Personally, my reaction to someone working two jobs with the intent of doing as little as possible at each and bailing from one or both once the lack of work catches up with them is very different from someone working two jobs with the intent of doing both competently enough to continue working at them in perpetuity. There’s no real way to tell which one a person is intending to do from the outside, so if someone came to me and said “I’m planning on working two full time jobs secretly” I’d say it’s a bad idea and wouldn’t personally hire them for my own business. But of the two options, one is a scammy short term way to make more money that causes problems for their coworkers and the other is functionally very similar to someone who takes long lunch breaks/works unconventional hours but still gets their work done effectively. If someone is constantly rescheduling meetings/missing work/not getting things done on time then it doesn’t really matter to me if the reason is they have a second job or they’re prioritizing a hobby over work or they’re watching tv during work hours or what have you. And similarly, if someone is being given tasks and goals and is accomplishing them effectively and in a timely manner, then I don’t care if they’re doing it in 20 hours a week and using the rest of their 40 hour work week to watch tv or take a cooking class or work a second full time job.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I think this is vaguely where I land as well. I haven’t fully parsed my feelings on this phenomenon but I think it falls largely under “do no harm”. Which this LW seems to be accomplishing, but I don’t expect that success to be widely replicable.

  25. ADidgeridooForYou*

    I would personally feel unethical doing this (or maybe not unethical, just constant anxiety at getting caught that would take all the fun out of the extra income), but I suppose if you truly have been able to keep up with the demand for both jobs without pushing anything onto your coworkers, then you keep doing you. That being said, I have to wonder what kinds of jobs these are that you can work two full-time high-level positions and still have time left over. Please point me their direction, because that kind of workload sounds pretty nice! I consider myself very organized, but all of the senior-level positions I’ve worked have demanded the full amount of my working time.

    1. Glou*

      Yeah, I wonder if the Friday work related thread would be a good place to ask this question. It sounds like other commenters also have experience with well-paying fields that feature workloads under 40 hours per week. Like you, I’m dying of curiosity!

  26. Observer*

    have been able to use the money to not only save for my future, but to help people I’m close to and to donate to causes I care about.

    Moral licensing at its best. But a lot of people don’t actually think that Robin Hood is a good role model.

    My point is that the ethics of this situation are not improved by the fact that you are making nice donations. Either this is ethical sans donations or not.

    1. Lydia*

      There are no ethical considerations here. The OP has found a loophole that works and instead of it being in favor of the exploiter, it’s in favor of the exploited. OP has done well enough at both jobs to get good reviews and raises. They are holding up their end of the employment bargain.

      1. BlueDijon*

        Is it in favor of the exploited? Just because it’s an action taken by someone who is a worker doesn’t mean that it isn’t an exploitative action as well.

        I get that OP worked hard to get where she is but working two jobs with $200k salaries for personal gain rather than for survival is about accumulation and capitalism, fundamentally. So it really comes down to the ethics of capitalism. Respectfully to OP, this is the same logic that corporations use to block others from access to resources – that it’s better served in their hands than others. Everyone has to make their own choices, but there is a wider context to ethical considerations than just who is gaining from an action – the corporation or the worker. If you think capitalism is ethical then yes, OP is doing an ethically fine thing. If you do not think capitalism is ethical, then OP is operating under the exact same unethical principles, regardless of the fact that she is also a worker.

        1. Lydia*

          When we talk about doing away with the rich, we aren’t really talking about the people making $400,000 a year. No, the OP working two jobs in a system that demands money to access resources hoarded by the rich is not the same as what the corporations she works for are doing. The OP does not have more power than her employers, and, as so many people have pointed out, she is risking damage to her reputation and employability if she’s found out. The power dynamic is still in favor of the corporation, so no, that isn’t the same thing at all.

          1. BlueDijon*

            I agree that OP is still within the worker group, but the risks to her reputation and employability are due to her desire for greater accumulation rather than survival, and I do think it’s really important to point that out when we live in a society where most people working two jobs for survival and running those same risks are in scenarios where they cannot meet their and their family’s basic needs. This is not that.

            It’s her life, her choices, and the power will always be with the corporation, but I’m not talking about ethics with respect to the company I’m talking about ethics in general to fellow workers. That’s how I see it as unethical – screw the company (pardon my french), who cares if she’s lying to them, honestly that’s not the unethical part. The unethical part is that she is taking resources that are intended for others because we know that a separate person would have been hired if she hadn’t lied so she could have both. I just can’t see it as ethical when someone who doesn’t need to take additional resources (because someone making $200k a year is not strapped for cash, pretty much anywhere) still takes them just because they can. That is capitalism and it is upholding and a sibling of the exact same logic as companies employ under capitalism.

            1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

              “That’s how I see it as unethical – screw the company (pardon my french), who cares if she’s lying to them, honestly that’s not the unethical part. The unethical part is that she is taking resources that are intended for others because we know that a separate person would have been hired if she hadn’t lied so she could have both.”

              This is where I land. Taking two high paying jobs means someone else isn’t able to raise their standard of living by r

              1. Lyda*

                If you’re not also making the same argument about people who are working two, lesser paid jobs, and how that’s taking away from the unemployed, you are being disingenuous.

      2. Observer*

        There are no ethical considerations here.

        I think that a lot of people would disagree.

        But even if you are right, it’s utterly irrelevant whether the OP is donating to good causes. If there are no ethical considerations, then they don’t need to prove that by talking about the money they are donating.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          If there are no ethical considerations, then they don’t need to prove that.
          That’s where I land.

        2. Lyda*

          A lot of people are disagreeing; that doesn’t change the fact that it’s irrelevant. I think you’re focusing on the OP mentioning that as proof that it’s unethical when instead she’s was probably mentioning it as something she gets to do with the money, not to mention the number of people who are trying so hard to prove how unethical it is to her. Because if she hadn’t, someone on this thread would have accused her of greed and shallowness.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I agree with this. I think doing it is unethical, but not at a genocide level–it’s on the smaller scale.

      What I most have a problem with is the justification from last time–that because OP was underpaid by previous employers, these completely different employers who are not underpaying and are treating her well should be the stand-ins on whom the revenge for past low pay is wrought.

      Kind of like it being the cover-up that does you in–all the machinations about how it’s okay if someone else underpaid you in the past, okay if you donate to charity now, okay if your friends tell you you’re a great person, etc, make it far worse to me than just deciding you’re going to try and pull this off for three years while saving money.

    3. iceberry*

      So this OP is basically me, except my second job is unpaid. I work f/t but also am the President of a non-profit with no staff. I am essentially the operational staff. I do both “jobs” simultaneously throughout the day, including meetings, writing and analysis, etc. Are the ethics different because the second “job” does not come with a pay check?

      1. Vivian*

        Absolutely they are! A job is not a job without a paycheck. If there is no paycheck, you are either a volunteer or an exploited laborer. It sounds like you are the former.

        I’m not necessarily against what OP is doing, but f/t work is not p/t work is not unpaid labor.

        1. BubbleTea*

          But if the volunteering work is being done during the paid work hours, how is that different? Is the fact that the recompense comes in monetary form rather than warm fuzzies or a feeling of satisfaction really the only thing that makes it “unethical” to work two jobs? Because if so, I don’t think that’s a good argument at all.

          “We are paying you to work but you’re doing things that aren’t work during that time, and we don’t like it” is an attitude that this site has taken issue with many times – we are all human beings who need breaks and can’t work like robots for precisely X number of minutes every day. Why does it suddenly become unethical if it’s “you’re doing things that someone else is paying you for”?

      2. Janet Pinkerton*

        For me, at my employer, they would not be different. You’re doing another job during work, paid or not. My employer also wouldn’t like if I sat and knitted or watched tv all day either. (Joke’s on them, I knit during calls so I can focus.)

    4. MissElizaTudor*

      The ethics are very much improved by the fact that she’s helping people and donating to good causes. Not being transparent with two employers and maybe sometimes inconveniencing people by rescheduling meetings is barely a blip on the ethical radar (if that) compared to actually helping people and supporting those making the world a better place.

      Deontological ethical reasoning isn’t the only valid kind of perspective. From a consequentialist perspective, this is perfectly ethical given the information we have.

    5. Starbuck*

      Moral licensing, for what crime? Omitting information to an employer who’s otherwise happy with your performance?

  27. Pam Adams*

    My feeling on the ethics side is not that the OP is unethical to their company, but that they are taking up more than their share of a scarce resource- a director-level job with the commensurate pay and benefits.

    1. Humble Schoolmarm*

      Thank you for this comment! I’ve been mulling over why this still feels a little dodgy to me, because I don’t believe that an employee has a duty to disclose something that doesn’t seem to be harming either company. It’s tough to untangle this from some general “must be nice” sort of resentment (trying to do a second full time job while teaching would absolutely be unethical), but I think your point is a big part of my discomfort.

    2. NervousNellie*

      This is exactly where I am. When there are people desperate to move up and get experience, and so many people in the job market, the ethics are more about whose mouth isn’t getting enough food, IMO.

    3. Kiitemso*

      This, this, this. It’s not the companies I feel bad for, but somebody who could use a 200k job with the position, prestige and experience that OP is now gaining. This isn’t a dime a dozen job low paid job, this sounds like something that many would be clamoring for.

  28. Tea*

    Frick yeah, OP! I’m glad to hear it’s going well and aspire to one day be as organized and efficient as you.

    1. Mary*

      I agree, they seem super efficient. I am guessing they just get the job done, no faffing around, no water cooler stuff. Most workers don’t realise how inefficient they are on a day to day basis. The actual doing of their work may only take 60% of their time.

      I admire the OP for their organisation and effectiveness in doing both jobs. They sound like the type of person whose first draft of a report is their final draft, complete, logical, well expressed and professional.

  29. AnotherOne*

    I have a friend who has done this- and hopes to do it soon. Not do as little as necessary but work 2 full-time jobs.

    The approach he took- with some nudging- was that he told Job 1 about Job 2 (he didn’t tell Job 2 about Job 1 but that wasn’t the concern). In his case, he was looking at the second job as a temporary thing. Something to help him financially for a year to 2- to help pay off debt.

    And cuz he really he really likes Job 1- and wants to stay there- he was open with his manager. Told them about his plan. They were fine with it, as long as he got his work done.

    Job 2 didn’t end up lasting as long as expected- it was a contract and the company lost the contract. (A benefit to it being a second job and not a primary job. That would have been a huge issue if it was his only job.) But I expect he’ll pick up a new second job in the next few months.

  30. Chicken Situation*

    I still think that if you’re doing something like this and feel you can’t tell your employer, you’re doing something wrong. This would make me seriously question an employee’s judgment.

    One thing I wonder: When you’re ready to move on, what will you list on your resume?

    1. Tea*

      Do you also expect people to tell their employees when they’re job seeking or interviewing too? I certainly don’t, and don’t really see the difference here.

    2. Lydia*

      The relationship you have with your employer is not the kind where you have to share anything you don’t want to with them. You’re not cheating on your employer if you have a second job. You didn’t take vows to remain faithful. Why on this earth should OP feel compelled to confess a second job to either of their employers?

    3. Delphine*

      That’s not a reasonable measure. Employers are not judges of morality, they are evaluating how much they can get out of human capital. There are a lot of things you can’t tell your employer.

    4. Double A*

      I do a LOT of things in my time outside work that I would not tell my employer, some of which might even affect my work performance (for instance, staying up too late watching TV so I’m tired the next day, or, in my younger years, partying too much), and I don’t see how that’s unethical.

      Some jobs it WOULD be unethical because of safety concerns (if I were a surgeon or something) but I work in a job where I can be groggy occasionally.

      1. PotsPansTeapots*

        Yep, we see people on AAM ask for advice on how to avoid getting fired/shamed for consensual sex with their partner and religious choices they make.

        Many employers won’t hesitate to fire you over something not their business, so I don’t get why people think the reverse side of the coin is ethically wrong.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      The list of things that I would never tell my employer is long, varied, and absolutely none of their business. Their concern is whether I get my job done in line with the standards of my job description, do not violate company policies, and without dumping on my coworkers.

      I have to say, I am just agog at how pro-employer the comments section is all of a sudden.

    6. Chicken Situation*

      Wow, y’all are super literal. I meant doing something that directly affects your job performance and is completely optional.

  31. Jupiter*

    I personally find it a little rich how many people are wringing their hands over the welfare of corporations. Or suggesting that corporations should be able to dictate whether or not you can work a second job–not even in the same industry, or with a competitor, but at all!

    The worst thing this person is really guilty of is “time theft.” Not working full time hours, but delivering full time results, is just working smarter, not harder. If this person was writing in saying that they completed their work in half the time it was supposed to take them, sure, some people would be saying they should ask for more work… but many others would be saying that that’s a perk of being efficient!

    I personally am stealing time right now, as I write this comment on the clock. Am I morally wrong?

    I do think there’s jealousy here, from all the people who would love to do this but can’t. I know I’m jealous!

    I also, to be extremely clear, think that corporations are predatory. I think that corporations would absolutely take advantage of each and every one of us if they could, and do–even at the level of lobbying governments to ensure that labor laws in the USA don’t catch up to those of most of Europe, for example. If this person is turning in well-received work, getting merit raises, and acing performance reviews then the company is getting value for money, period.

    I hope OP is socking away extra cash for if this does bite them in the butt, and I also hope we all take advantage of a corporation today.

      1. Teagan*

        You’re not alone! Though it seems like there’s a lot more corporate brainwashing here than I would have expected. I suppose that was naive.

    1. different seudonym*

      yeah on jealousy….maybe also displaced anxiety (at the prospect of getting caught) and fear triggered by the just-world fallacy being undermined

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        That’s definitely part of it for me. Imagining myself in this situation is so anxiety inducing I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around it and being objective. But of course OP and I are different people and she seems to not have that issue.

    2. Minimal Pear*

      Right! If people are commenting on this website on the clock (I sure am right now!) I don’t think they have much room to call this letter writer unethical.

    3. Just Another Zebra*

      I was also surprised by the general vibe. There are many things I don’t ask my employers permission to do. Would people feel the same if OP worked, say, data entry, and was using her two incomes to pay down student loans, or buy a house, or pay for childcare? Would they feel the same if it was someone struggling to make ends meet?

      In the early days of the pandemic, many parents were working 2 full-time jobs – career, and parent. It was just how things had to be. This, IMO, isn’t much different.

    4. Moira Rose's Closet*

      Yeah, the comments on these posts have been a bit depressing. Folks, no matter what SCOTUS says, corporations aren’t people. They exist to exchange/exploit labor for money. They don’t get to control every aspect of your life. You can’t make them sad or disappointed with your actions. They don’t need to know if you have a side gig on OnlyFans (or exercise veto power over that).

    5. nom de plume*

      Jupiter, I don’t see anyone worrying about the welfare of corporations here. Like I said below, questioning the ethics of the situation does NOT equal heart-eyes-for-corporations-for-ever — that totally misrepresents the arguments people are making (again, about the ethical dimension).

      I also don’t see support for corporations dictating whether you can work for others (although companies do do that). Again, for myself, I quibble with OP’s argument that she’s satisfied with and fully vetted the ethics of it. To extrapolate from that that I think we should all be serfs to corporate profit is… totally unfounded.

      1. Jupiter*

        Sure, my broad summary lacked nuance! I absolutely don’t argue with you there!

        Rather than go over previous arguments, though, I open the floor to you. What specifically do you see as ethically wrong here? Like, the specific immoral action?

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        Many of the anti-OP arguments that people are making directly cite being dishonest to the employer, that if you have to lie to an employer you’re doing something wrong, and that OP is cheating the employer out of 40 hours of work.

        There are a couple that mention the ethics of taking a second good job from another qualified candidate or concerns about effects on coworkers, but nearly all the handwriting is surprisingly duty-to-employer related.

        Clearly, the employers are okay with OP’s performance and think they are getting their money’s worth via performance ratings and a raise, so who are we to tell them they’re being “cheated”?

        1. Humble Schoolmarm*

          I think part of the problem is “ethics” is an easy word for a really complex area of thought and study that has been debated for millennia. It’s hard to distinguish the people who are arguing for loyalty to the businesses from the people who just follow more rule based ethical philosophies.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            That’s fair – the term “ethics” is being misapplied pretty liberally here. A lot of moralizing, but not a lot of ethical analysis.

    6. Delphine*

      I agree. Considering the way our capitalist society functions, whether this is ethical or not is entirely irrelevant beyond a thought experiment. On its face, what she’s doing is not hurting anyone and it is providing two companies with the performance and work product they desire.

    7. itsame*

      This is exactly my feelings. I simply don’t care if the employer would prefer this person not be working a second job. It gets murkier for me if she’s making life worse for her coworkers or people she manages in the process, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  32. Worldwalker*

    Have you discussed it with YOUR EMPLOYERS?

    Because if there’s nothing wrong with it, they won’t have a problem with what you’re doing; if they do, well, now you know. And in the end, their opinions, not your BFF’s or your mother’s or some bartender’s, are the ones that count.

    1. Lydia*

      Why would the OP talk to her employer about this? As far as I know, nobody stands up in front of a group of people and takes a vow of faith to a company. Do you go confess everything to your employer? Do you admit you’re thinking of leaving or you’ve applied to other jobs?

      1. Lydia*

        Right? There are some really weird takes about this that make me think folk have unhealthy relationships with their employers.

        1. GingerNP*

          I’m definitely of the mind that this person is getting paid to perform the duties of each of these (salaried, exempt) jobs – and they are getting all of their work done at or above the expected level. If the work they are doing is worth the salary they are getting paid, why on earth does it matter that they are working for two different non-competing businesses? I do wish I could do this! The nature of my chosen career is such that it will likely never be an option for me – but I don’t think it’s wrong. The OP is fulfilling the agreed job duties for both jobs and should be paid for the work.

          There was a comment above somewhere about OP potentially taking a limited resource – a director level job with commensurate salary and benefits – from someone else, and I think that would be more of an ethical dilemma for me than the notion of pulling one over on one or both of my jobs.

        2. Anon all day*

          Honestly, the more pearl-clutching comments I read, asking OP to think about her poor, poor companies, the more I support OP.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      There’s a lot of things my employers would have a problem with me doing that I simply don’t tell them. Job hunting comes to mind.

    3. Moira Rose's Closet*

      I wouldn’t tell my employer I had an OnlyFans side gig that took up 20 hours of my time, or an Etsy business on the side. And I wouldn’t give a whit about their opinion about those.

    4. Tea*

      Things I also don’t discuss with my employers that they’d likely have a problem with me doing:
      – trying to get pregnant
      – job searching
      – moving
      – going to grad school
      – buying a car that won’t make them ‘look good’ when I travel to off-site locations
      – doing roller derby despite the high chance of getting injured and having to be out of the office
      – discussing with social workers the ramifications of becoming a full time caregiver for an ill family member

      Perhaps you feel an obligation to report all going-ons to your corporate employer overlords, but I think that is uncommon and not something you can or should expect from others.

      1. Moira Rose's Closet*

        – doing sex work on the side
        – reducing my hours to part time
        – quitting my job entirely when my wife makes partner

        …the list goes on. The idea that you have to vet everything that takes up substantial time/energy with your employers, especially if you get paid for it, is odd to me.

        1. PotsPansTeapots*

          Thank you. I would have been frogmarched out of several office gigs if they knew I earned money from boobies pics. So I committed the apparent ethical violation of not telling them I did that.

      2. ABK*

        – approved to adopt children. at some point I’ll get a call from a social worker that a kid is available and I’m going to pick up the kid and go on FMLA leave. Don’t know when (now, in a year, in a few years?) so I haven’t told my employer since there’s not really anything they or I can plan for.

    5. Ann Ominous*

      Why would their opinions matter in this case? She’s not violating a non-compete policy or a requirement not to have other employment.

  33. Paris Geller*

    I still don’t know how I feel about this, but I think when it comes down to it I’m more upset that companies are paying people 200k for jobs that can apparently be done in less than 40 hours a week while so many people in our society struggle to put food on the table and buy clothes for their kids working 40+, 60+ hour a week minimum wage job(s). And if companies want to pay people 200K for work that’s fine and it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that either necessarily, just that there’s such a big gap between what the OP can do and how we treat those who society considers “unskilled” labor even though they’re most often doing back-breaking work.

    1. Tumbleweed*

      I think it is a societal problem that jobs exist that pay so many times minimum wage and average wages tbh – big inequality in incomes is the issue relative to each other rather than how big the numbers actually sound. Particularly when a lot of coverage jobs that by nature require a set amount of hours are those paid the least, like you say. How can we have anything approaching an equal society when jobs that pay 10x the amount of another need to exist in the same places that multiple needs to come down in some way. (Or not even ‘equal’ society just one where everyone has access to things they need at prices they can afford)

      I don’t have a solution under the current system as companies can just pay whatever they like. (Raise minimum wage yes, but does that just mean a move at the top too which maintains the ratio?)

  34. not me*

    So if the OP is perfectly fine with it, has no qualms etc have they told each employer so that they can make an informed decision on whether this is ok with them? If OP is so sure it is working perfectly then both employers should be fine with it – but I think they have the right to know.

    1. Clisby*

      Why? If the OP is doing a poor job for either employer, they can fire her. If they want employees not to have second or third jobs, they can set that policy. If they’re happy with her work to the point that she gets good evaluations and raises, that’s the beginning and end of what’s their business here.

  35. Risha*

    I’m glad it’s working out for you OP. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad if these 2 jobs push you up to the top 1% (if that is true). I would say that 99.9% of people would do the same if they were able to balance the 2 jobs. We work for money so why not do what you gotta do to get up to that income level. Just make sure you evaluate yourself every now and then to make sure you’re not giving too much or starting to burn out, even if you think the jobs aren’t very stressful. And no matter what, never tell them about each other. They will find a way to make it an issue, even if it’s not COI. Jobs can screw us over constantly but god forbid we do something that benefits us.

    I commented about this before on another thread….I’ve also been working 2 jobs since the beginning of the covid pandemic. Both jobs are remote and neither is a conflict of interest. I’m dedicated to both fully and give each job my all, despite them being the same hours. One is as an RN doing case management for auto accident/claims and the other is a contact tracer for my state (contact tracing is still going on where I’m at). They are both M-F 9-5 jobs, low stress and good money. Definitely not pushing me up to the top 1% but it pays the bills and allows us to buy most of our “wants” as well. When my young kids are a bit older and after my husband finishes his goal of climbing the corporate ladder a bit, I hope to be able to work 2 high level jobs at the same time. Just like you OP.

    1. OP*

      Hi! Yes, I remember reading your comment in another thread and that sparked me to send in an update. Appreciate your insight!

  36. Delta Delta*

    I… really don’t have a problem with this. If all the work can get done for both jobs, I don’t see how this is a problem. OP may find herself in a spot that she’s got to pick one or the other at some point, and if that’s the case, then that’s the case. I think there are some jobs that are structured such that they permit what OP is doing, time-wise, and some people who can do it. The Venn diagram overlap is probably very, very small.

    1. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

      That’s sort of how I feel.
      If OP can do the work efficiently without pushing that to underlings and it only takes them 25 hours to do do the work at both jobs… Ok.

      I guess you milk those cows for as long as you can.

      I find it hard to believe such jobs exist, but ok.

  37. Sick of Workplace Bullshit (she/her)*

    I know a lot has changed for employees, and rightly so, but this to me is just bullshit. It’s a huge ethical lapse, in my opinion.

    I re-read your original letter, and was stuck by your “that’s just where the chips landed” comment, as if this situation just happened to you, instead of being one you actively created.

    Buy the most telling thing is you’ve discussed your situation with everyone BUT the two companies involved. You know it’s sketchy, and you know they wouldn’t like it, so you don’t want them to find out.

    Like I said, bullshit.

    1. Lydia*

      It’s kind of bullshit to think the OP should talk about anything with two corporations that are exploiting her. Y’all are weirdly loyal to two companies you have no relationship with and it makes me wonder how you are with your own employer.

      1. Bee*

        I don’t think anyone cares about the employer. I think most people here care about the extra work that this is inevitably creating for OP’s coworkers, despite OP’s frantic attempts to assure is that their actions aren’t causing a single instance of additional work or inconvenience to those they work with.

        1. Anon all day*

          No, it’s not at all inevitable. I probably work less than 30 hours a week on average in an industry where 50-60+ hour weeks are the norm. I just super efficient and fast, and I get all of my work done without creating any extra work for anyone. (The way our workload is setup is that I’m 100% responsible for certain areas, so if I wasn’t getting stuff done, it would be obvious.)

          1. Bee*

            Why do so many people jump to the conclusion that they are so efficient/fast/special and everyone else who works in their function is just sub par, rather than the much more obvious conclusion that if everyone else in your industry/job is taking X amount of hours to do a task and you’re taking half that amount of time, there’s probably something you’re missing or not doing to the correct standard that allows you to finish faster?

            1. Anon all day*

              Because I am that efficient and special? :) I don’t think everyone else is just sub par, I just know for a fact that I am hella good at my job. (I have my issues, but few of them are professional work life-related.) I’ve been doing my job for 5+ years, including taking on additional work of people who left, and I’m still performing better than my colleagues. If I was making mistakes or lagging, it would be entirely evident that I was.

            2. Tea*

              To you, the obvious conclusion is that OP actually sucks at both jobs and is missing big gaps and/or not doing things to the correct standard… and getting meets/exceed expectations on all their work? Because their bosses have no concept of what their work entails? Not a single coworker has raised any flags about the “obvious” mistakes OP is supposedly making? I don’t think that’s a very logical conclusion at all.

              It’s just a fact of life that some people have skills that make them much more efficient and operate at a higher level than the average other person. And some of these skills are ones companies will pay big bucks for. Some of it is nature or nurture, some of it is years of hard earned experience and knowledge and the ability to retain it at a high level. It isn’t fair, in the way that some people being born without limbs isn’t fair, but it is a fact.

            3. Anon4This*

              Oh, I can answer this one – because I’m also the one who gets called in to do cleanup work on other people’s work once I’ve finished mine, and being slow does not necessarily make you more accurate. That and well over a decade of outstanding performance evaluations and regular promotions, but I will suggest to my boss that they QC my work more closely in the future. :P

              I also *wrote* the standards, so I’m pretty sure I’m following them to the letter. (Downside of finishing your work in half the time – you get to do the documentation as well.)

              Honestly, I don’t think that I’m special. It did take me years to realize that it simply did not take me as long as others to learn new things, streamline the process, and knock out the work. I was quite paranoid for a long time that I was missing something, but, the longer I’ve been in the workforce, the more confident I am about what I do and don’t know.

              Also, I’m good at particular types of tasks, which happens to be what I do professionally. There is a list 100x as long of things that I am completely incapable of doing, quickly or slowly – you’d never want me to design you a bridge, manage your email server, or do anything with your electrical or plumbing systems. I’m not some sort of wunderkind (Wonder Kid?), I just know what I’m good at and do that for a living.

              1. Just Another Zebra*

                This is me. You absolutely don’t want me to add short columns of small numbers, but if you need someone to find a particular faucet / shower valve / water heater, I’m your zebra. I can assess and prioritize tickets that come over in such a way that my 10 tickets get done in half the time of my coworker’s 10 tickets. Not everyone is good at everything, and some people are just average. But the flip side of that is that some people truly are exceptional at specific tasks. It’s baffling that some people in these comments find that impossible.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          I think it is completely possible (a tad unlikely–but not impossible) that OP is doing a decent job at both directorships, without transferring work to others who have to stay late to get it all done.

          The thing is, I believe that everyone who ever tried this was convinced that they had it HANDLED and it was all effortless and seamless and no one at either job had ever noticed the little subterfuges they employed. While oft’ times when this comes up, the coworkers had in fact noticed like heck. So it’s just something where I’m skeptical of any self assessment.

      2. Risha*

        I agree with you. Employers don’t care about us workers. They will fire you for bullshit, lay you off for bullshit, treat you like shit, violate boundaries (look at all the boundary crossing letters here). Work life balance is a joke at most places and they will squeeze every bit of work out of you then expect you to push your family, your health, your life aside to give them even more.

        Why should anyone care about these companies? These jobs will fire you for bullshit/lies/favoritism in a heartbeat and not care if you have a sick spouse, or are a single parent, or whatever. They only care about their interests, which is fine, but why can’t us workers care about our interests too? These are jobs, not human partners where having 2 without them knowing about each other would be wrong.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Obviously, work-life balance is not a joke at these two employers. And they pay fairly too.

      3. Doctors Whom*

        Oh dear God no one is exploiting the OP. She’s making 200K a year at each of two jobs she does not do full time.

        1. Bee*

          OMG right?? the bootlicking in this thread is out of control. Eat the rich, until the rich are doing what I secretly wish I could pull off.

          1. Anon all day*

            It’s pretty ironic you’re bringing up bootlicking when you’re defending two random corporations.

            1. Bee*

              No, I’m defending OP’s coworkers. Maybe this really is a magical scenario where OP is an absolute rockstar who can be 100% available when needed without inconveniencing or burdening their coworkers or delegating off work that they should be doing themselves while ALSO working another director level job doing the exact same thing. But I think that probably isn’t actually the case and OP is high enough up and isolated enough that they can delegate work they should be doing to others so they have time to do both roles and get away with it. I could care less about the companies–if the work gets done the work gets done. But I think the odds that the work in this scenario is getting done entirely by OP is extremely slim.

        2. Lydia*

          Sorry, Doc, but if OP can lose both her jobs and it damages her employability, and if losing those jobs can impact her housing, healthcare, or ability to exist, she is, in fact, being exploited. While making that much does shield her from taking the full brunt of the damage, it does not make her immune.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            You’re exploited if anything you’re doing at work might damage your future employability?

          2. nom de plume*

            … No, she’s not. To be exploited by a corporation / employer is to be taken advantage of, e.g., not remunerated to the value of labor provided, for instance by paying low wages or screwing people out of benefits (see: Amazon warehouse workers, UPS drivers, Walmart retail employees, etc etc). How does that apply to OP? Here, in both her jobs, her labor is being fairly remunerated.

            If you mean that capitalism is inherently exploitative, which is the only way this applies, then that’s a different issue — and since capitalism IS, indeed, inherently iniquitous and exploitative, then that de facto would have answered the question the OP posed originally. So if you want to talk about the OP being exploited in her particular situation, which strains credulity, then that exploitation is mutually beneficial to the employer and to OP. And no, that’s not to argue FOR corporations and against a recognition of systemic inequality. It’s to say that those are not the terms of the question here.

      4. nom de plume*

        Lydia, they are clearly not exploiting her in this scenario! Seriously, a lot of the reactions questioning the ethics of what the OP is doing are bring represented as “people in this thread LOVE corporations and think we should all be serfs to them and care about maximizing their profits!”

        Respectfully, that’s incredibly reductive — you can despise corporate exploitation AND disagree with the ethics of what OP is doing in this particular case. Just because people are pointing out the ways in which this is sketchy does not equal shilling for corporations. It’s much more nuanced than that.

        1. Lydia*

          Nobody here has given a cohesive argument on why it’s unethical. People are saying she is off-loading work on her coworkers, but she isn’t. They say she’s being paid for 40 hours but only does (insert whatever number you want), except she’s being praised and giving good performance reviews and completing her projects. So what, exactly, is the issue? It isn’t actually that nuanced. There’s no reflection going on about why people are so upset about it and the reasons aren’t standing up to scrutiny.

          1. Moira Rose's Closet*

            +1. Some commenters seem to be equating “the employers wouldn’t like it” with “unethical.” They aren’t the same thing.

          2. Nom*

            It’s worth noting that there are plenty of ineffective workers out there that get good performance reviews because their bosses are clueless.

            1. Middle of HR*

              That’s a bad boss problem, how can a worker know they’re not doing well if they’re being told the opposite??

              1. Nom*

                My point is just that OP may indeed be doing a bad job and pushing work onto their coworkers without them or their bosses realizing it. Good performance reviews aren’t always evidence of good performance.

          3. Eyes Kiwami*

            Assuming the OP is correct in her understanding that she isn’t inconveniencing anyone, is actually doing great work, etc. Then the reason that remains for me is frustration that OP couldn’t be satisfied with one extremely high-paying job and had to take two. That job could have gone to someone else who would then be making 200K for little work, instead of OP who is now making 400K and doing one job’s worth of work total.

            It feels like seeing a rich and wealthy person taking extra samples of a food platter. If they were poor, maybe they needed the food; that doesn’t make it morally right but their reasons are understandable. But in this case OP doesn’t need it. Why not use that extra time to volunteer or contribute in the community or something else and let the limited resource of high-paying low-effort jobs go to someone who doesn’t already have one of those?

      5. Sick of Workplace Bullshit (she/her)*

        I’m not loyal to the corporations involved, I object to the unethical and shitty situation the OP created.

        As for my own employer, nothing to worry about there. I put myself first, but also don’t dick over my company.

        How are you with yours?

        1. Pennyworth*

          How is OP dicking over her companies? She is doing the work she is paid to do by both of them, to a high standard.

  38. SongbirdT*

    A comment on the comments…

    It’s fascinating to me that the arguments pro and con all boil down to the question of what the company is actually paying for with LW’s salary.

    If you believe that the company is paying for 40 hrs / wk – which is traditionally how labor has been viewed in the US and based on the norms that unions set in the industrial revolution when more people punched time cards – then the idea of having two full time jobs like this tends to rankle.

    If you believe that the company is paying for knowledge and expertise rather than time on the clock – which is a more modern take on white collar / knowledge labor – then you’re less likely to take issue with LW’s approach.

    It’s a really interesting to see the two schools of thought wrestle with one another in this scenario. As someone who was raised with a blue-collar work ethic, but now works about 20 actual hours in any given week at my full time job pulling a salary my parents only ever dreamt of, I relate to both sides.

    It seems like we’re all in the midst of a fairly sizable shift in how knowledge labor is viewed, and we’re watching it unfold in real time. Kinda neat.

    1. Beans*


      Surprised it took so long to get this analysis.

      My salaried WFH job is paying me to monitor Slack/email for 40 hours a week and complete the projects assigned to me. It is NOT paying me for 40 hours of active work each week. More like ~15 hours of work each week and my availability the other 35.

      That’s the reality in a lot of corporate jobs. WFH just means we don’t have to perform actively working during the downtime.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      I agree, the comments here and on the original post are fascinating. On the original post, there was a subthread or two of commenters who said they would not have a problem in the OP was working two jobs for $30,000 each, but do have a problem because she’s working two jobs that each pay $200,000. And emotionally, I understand that one feels more “fair” than the other, but logically I think working two jobs either should or should not be an ethical problem, regardless of the salary of those jobs.

      1. BlueDijon*

        For me the difference comes down to the fact that in one scenario someone is trying to survive in system where they are not being paid a living wage, and the other is someone trying to accumulate as much as possible. Tell me a reason someone needs two $200k jobs at the same time other than they just want to make as much money as possible. Which yeah, great, that’s a valid personal choice but that doesn’t make it ethical.

        And the fact that there are these two scenarios is sort of the point – income inequality is atrocious in the US right now, and to take this a-contextually as a theoretical debate of how people’s time should be valued when there are 11.4% of Americans living in poverty, and the median household income in the USA is $67,521. OP is making 2.9 times as much as the median household in the US with one job alone, and that matters when we’re talking about resource allocation.

        1. Executive Realness*

          Also, it’s interesting that the OP has managed to get several director level positions with part-time workloads. I doubt that many of the employees with lower level positions can get their work done in 20 hours a week. I find the idea of having a director in my company having time to take on a second job while I am being crushed under an unmanageable workload terrible. But I guess that’s capitalism.

        2. Hlao-roo*

          Thanks for your response, BlueDijon. I agree that income inequality is a big problem in our society (and I also agree that $200k is plenty to live a comfortable life–no need to earn $400k), so using that framework, working two jobs just to earn more money is unethical. And by the same token, working any job that pays more than [$200K? $300?] is also unethical. Not sure where to draw the line there, but I can theoretically role with the idea that there ethically should be a line somewhere.

          My statement that “working two jobs either should or should not be an ethical problem, regardless of the salary of those jobs” was more in response to the “OP is pushing her work onto her coworkers” arguments. Leaving aside that OP isn’t actually pushing her work onto coworkers, it doesn’t seem logical to me that offloading work onto coworkers in order to have a second job is reprehensible when the salary or each job is $200k but fine and dandy when the salary of each job is $30k.

          1. Eyes Kiwami*

            I don’t think anyone would argue that pushing work onto your coworkers so you can go work your second job is morally OK, under any circumstances. But if you NEED to have a second job to make ends meet, then it’s a little more understandable. But if you don’t NEED a second job, you just WANT one, that understanding disappears.

    3. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yep that’s a good characterization of what’s happening. I have a similar experience to yours and when I really think about it I *could* be doing two full time jobs if I was willing to bend on some other parts of my life/find roles where general availability is less crucial. But I’m really not passing value judgements at this point – I’m trying to, I want to have an opinion, but I see it so clearly from both sides. In the end I’m just interested to see how this all plays out in the market.

    4. turquoisecow*

      yeah, I think the unethical feeling comes from the idea that we traditionally think of jobs as timed. Each job is, right or wrong, expecting to get about 40 hours/week from OP. Neither job is. A lot of us do other things while “on the clock” (like commenting on AAM) but we’re not getting paid for them, while we’re being paid for our jobs.

      I mean, probably OP is getting paid for a set number of hours – that’s usually how paychecks are calculated. Even if you’re salaried, the calculation is usually $ amount x hours = weekly or biweekly (or monthly or whatever) paycheck. Maybe it’s not *exactly* 40 hours a week or whatever your work week is calculated at (I’ve had some that were 37.5 hours a week) but the theory from your employer is that you’re averaging close enough to that amount that a half hour here or there checking FB or chatting with a friend or using the bathroom isn’t a big deal – companies trust that the employees are doing close enough to that 40 (or whatever) that they’re paying you for 40 (or whatever) and not making you stop the clock because you want to refill your coffee cup.

      And in that time you’re chatting or filling your coffee or using the bathroom, you’re not being paid for doing it. It’s different from me taking ten minutes of my workday to type this comment. It’s like if I was telling my employer “I’m working right now” while slacking off BUT also getting PAID to slack off. Now there’s an ethical issue, as far as I’m concerned.

      If people really are paid for their output, then none of this matters. If I still bang out 8,000 widgets for Company A and also produce 8,000 gadgets for Company B in the same time period, then whatever. But most people, even salaried people, don’t get paid that way.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      If a person working 1 full-time job got everything done in 25 hrs/week, I would be completely fine if they didn’t tell their bosses and used the time for personal pursuits–that is, things that could flex down to much less time in the occasional 40 hour week. That to me fits the “paying for knowledge” model.

      And it extends to side gigs precisely because they are side gigs–you take on an evening/weekend thing with a band because you know your full-time job doesn’t need you those hours. Band knows that you account by day, and accounting firm knows that you play jazz at night. (And so long as you are sincere and correct about the no competition aspect, I’m fine with not mentioning to main job that there exists part-time side hustle.)

      I could come up with a scenario where someone with a full-time job had to take on the equivalent of a second full-time job as caregiving–there I’d be sympathetic to them trying to make things work while a loved one was dying, while acknowledging that this sort of thing probably isn’t sustainable for years on end. Moreso if the full-time-for-money job can actually be done in 25 hrs/week, but it’s still rough.

      Lots of people consult, and the businesses that hire them know that they are not getting the consultant’s undivided attention.

      I think letting two different employers believe that they are getting full-time work from you is unethical, but mildly. There’s an aspect of giving you that salary for your time and attention on work matters as needed. There was a letter from someone whose interviewee wanted the new job to be a secret, presumably because they intended to keep on doing the old job and the news that they had taken on other, full-time work would be a problem there. Plus if you have to lie about what you’re doing, I think that always gets a side-eye.

      The various justifications (other people underpaid OP in the past; OP gives to charity) get a far stronger side-eye from me. If you want to do this and decide the companies deserve what they get, then just do it. Don’t contort yourself for reasons that make it okay.

    6. Littorally*

      If they’re both exempt jobs, which it sounds like they are, then the companies are not paying for 40 hours/week of labor.

      The companies are paying for knowledge, for work performed, for expertise, and for availability — in other words, being present for everything the OP is needed for. The availability is a squishy notion and I think this is where the ethical issue, if one exists, would fall in my book — is the OP really available for everything each company needs her to be available for? But maybe these two jobs are unicorns and the OP really is managing to fully satisfy them both.

      1. JustInPassing*

        I disagree, if a job is advertised as “full time” there’s an understanding of how many hours, on average, the person in that role should be available and/or working. Exempt should mean that an ebb and flow of work means an ebb and flow of hours to match (the fact that it often doesn’t is a separate issue), but the classification of full-time sets the average expectation.

    7. Humble Schoolmarm*

      Good point! OP seems to have 2 jobs with discreet tasks and no/little need for spontaneous collaboration, so I can see the argument that she is providing both employers exactly what they are paying for. I think it’s important to keep in mind, though, that there are many jobs where, culture shift or not, this isn’t going to be possible. You wouldn’t want a pilot, a life guard or your therapist trying to do a second white collar job simultaneously, knowledge economy or not. It reminds me a bit about debates around work from home. People in jobs where remote work is possible can get very…vehement… about issues springing from that and it can be frustrating to watch when you’re in a (usually lower paying, essential) sort of job where it’s not even an option.

  39. ABK*

    I think the sweet spot here would to become a consultant/contractor. OP could do her current job with both clients, charge a premium rate and it would all be above board.

  40. Bee*

    I have such a hard time believing that OP isn’t inconveniencing or overburdening anyone they work with while doing this. OP, I would assume if you have all this extra time, that your coworkers have lax schedules and great work-life balance too. If not, you should consider stepping up and taking things off their plate so they can enjoy the same perks you have too.

    1. Anon all day*

      First, OP says she has taken on extra duties/tasks.

      Second, why? If I’m hired to do a certain job for XX amount salary, and I can do it 40% faster than expected, why should I take on additional work?

      1. Bee*

        But I think if you read between the lines, the reason OP is able to do it “40% faster” is because they’re offloading work onto their coworkers. They said so plainly in the original letter and backpedaled hard when people clocked it. If you’re working one job, completing all your duties, and maybe making yourself available to pick up other work when needed if you want to be a nice coworker, than by all means, head out early every day. But I just have SUCH a hard time believing that the OP is in two jobs making a ton of money with, assumedly, a ton of responsibility to go along with it, and can responsibly juggle both without any encroachment on their coworkers.

        1. Lydia*

          You’re making a lot of assumptions. Additionally, if OP is receiving good performance reviews and she’s actually sticking coworkers with things, then it really is up to the coworkers to say something. As it stands, we’ll take OP’s word for it that she’s able to handle her work and not take advantage of coworkers.

          It sounds like OP is an individual contributor. It’s hard to offload tasks to other people when that’s the case.

          1. Anon all day*

            Yup. One of the reasons why I’m so efficient is because I rely on my coworkers to do their jobs. I have one coworker who takes on work that isn’t their responsible, and it definitely affects their productivity/speed. Generally speaking, I’m not going to regularly do work that’s in the job description of someone else. (If someone’s off or there are circumstances, I’m definitely willing to help out when needed.)

        2. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

          I think you’re misinterpreting what OP said in the original letter about the co-workers’ roles. It was discussed & clarified further up this page.

    2. J*

      As someone whose coworker did this setup and lost her job when it was discovered, Step 1 was pushing work off onto coworkers. She’d immediately slow every project by asking for all the moving parts to be 100% addressed by others before she started. Things like “Can you do x and y before I draft a letter to Vendor” when there was no reason we couldn’t go straight to drafting a letter (and later we were advised x and y were the wrong way to start a relationship with Vendor). That way she could binge project after hours when no one else would be online and make everyone else do steps she either made up or used to stall. Among other things, we were all commenting on how she never took on projects if she could get someone else to do it. She did just enough work to give updates but never work at the level her coworkers were expected. I’m just glad we caught it early when I’d only had 2 months of extra work dumped on me.

    3. HA2HA2*

      Giving perks to coworkers, and making sure they have an appropriate amount of work, seems like it should be up to those coworkers managers, though. If the coworkers are being overburdened with tasks, then they should talk to their manager – who would either decide that those tasks don’t need to be done, or assign them to somebody else, or hire somebody else to do them.

      Like, imagine one of those coworkers writing in to Ask A Manager, and saying “I’ve got all these tasks that I would really like my coworker to do, but they’re not doing them! I also suspect they’re not working long hours like I am.” And the response would not be “scrutinize whether your coworker should be working longer hours”, it would be “stop worrying about what your coworker is doing; that’s not up to you. Focus on your own workload, communicate what you can and can’t get done to your manager, and let them tell you what to prioritize. Let your coworkers’ manager decide whether your coworker is doing too little or not.”

      1. Bee*

        But if your coworker is a director and more senior to you, and perhaps even more senior to your manager, you do understand how that would be intimidating to raise, right? I think the power imbalance within OP’s org is a huge factor. If OP was middle management or an analyst, I wouldn’t be so harsh because there is a lot of oversight to ensure that OP was truly getting all their work done. But at OP’s level, it would be extremely, extremely easy for them to just delegate all their work to lower level colleagues without anyone catching on, which is exactly what I think is happening here and OP backpedaled once people clocked it.

    4. L-squared*

      I don’t get this logic.

      If her coworkers jobs are just more time sensitive than OPs, and they have less free time, its not on her to volunteer for more, that is on them to discuss with the person allocating their work

      1. Nom*

        I’m actually super curious about this – is this not an expectation at everyone’s job? I’d get screamed at for not helping others.

        1. L-squared*

          It really just depends on the job. Some jobs are just very independent, while others the goals are more team oriented.

          Even if it is more team oriented, I also can’t be upset about a situation where work is evenly distributed, and someone just being faster at it NOT asking for more work, if they aren’t getting more pay to go along with it. Why should you do 10% more work than others? Like, sure, if you are in the office together, it may look bad for you to start watching a movie because you are done. But if you finish and just look busy, and others are still working, well I don’t see the problem there.

    5. Nom*

      I wonder if everyone in these comments has had the experience, as I have, of working with a director whose work day is completely mysterious. I have no idea what they do all day but it definitely isn’t working.

      And the people above them don’t see it so they give them good performance reviews, but the people below them are carrying all the weight.

  41. Anne Wentworth*

    No comment on what OP is doing, but jeez the _audacity_ to say “I know I’m not an asshole because my friends say I’m not.” Whew.

    1. socks*

      I mean, lots of people in this thread also don’t agree with the “ethical issues” raised. I’d say the thread’s pretty evenly split between people who think this is capital-W Wrong, people who think it’s a minor ethical issue but not a big deal, and people who think it’s totally fine. OP’s not doubling down in the face of overwhelming criticism. They just disagree with you.

  42. Nom*

    I think the real “ethical” issue here is the impact to your coworkers. According to your last letter you were working about 25 hours/week at each job. Most people, if they have extra time in the week, are expected to help their coworkers and remove some of the burden from them. I’m sure there are people at your company making less than half you do (so less than 100k) who work 50 hours a week at just their job. You’re doing a disservice to the company and creating double standards since you don’t have to help your coworkers when they need it.

    I’m not sure of your gender but this is the type of dynamic we also see where women are expected to be collaborative and are called standoffiish when they are not, but men don’t have the same expectation.

    That said, if you were working 40 hours a week at each job (or even closer to 35), I don’t have an issue with this from an ethical standpoint, although if i were in HR i’d likely call it a conflict of interest.

      1. Nom*

        I actually assumed she was a woman. I only said that it reminded me of something I see men do in the workplace. I clearly started I didn’t know her gender.

    1. Russian in Texas*

      I don’t make nearly as much as the OP does at her one job (less than half, really). I get some super slow times, and no, I will not volunteer myself to help my colleagues, unless it’s something easy, and I like that colleague. My helping will do zero for any raise or career advancement in my company, and in fact, I would not volunteer the fact I got nothing to do. Nothing good will come out of it. I would rather watch TV instead.
      I am, just like the OP, is a woman.

      1. Nom*

        That’s not been my experience as a woman in the workplace. I’ve been expected to work late into the night to hold male colleagues hands and been denied promotions for not giving up my boundaries in favor of male colleagues. But everyone’s experience is different.

  43. CheesePlease*

    Do you ever consider that an employee from Company A might transition to Company B and find out your situation? You say the fields are unrelated, yet you work in both – so it doesn’t seem totally impossible?

    Personally, I would have so much anxiety about slipping up (ex: emailing the wrong Steve regarding a report update) or being found out and exposed. But I guess…everyone is different?

  44. NeedRain47*

    If someone brought this up to me I’d take it as assumed that they knew it wasn’t ethical and didn’t care.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      Reminds me of the joke where the punchline is the priest accusing the parishioner of bragging under the guise of confession.

  45. Caterpillar*

    My first thought is that it does feel very sketchy that you’ve not discussed your situation with the companies. My second thought is that even if you’re doing the best job ever for either company, they might very well fire you if they find out solely because they expect all your brain hours to belong to them.

    So I guess I think it’s probably not unethical, as long as your work for either job isn’t suffering because of the other job and you aren’t breaking any rules laid out in your contracts. Though I have to say, I do not understand how you are apparently doing them to the best of your ability.

    Personally, my one full-time job that probably does not pay nearly as much as a single ‘director’ position is exhausting. I love it because I do not have to talk to people or work outside of work hours, but I barely have the energy to relax properly after work most days, much less DO something. My brain about melts at the thought of 2 jobs, plus everything else you claim to do. Not to mention the additional stress of “what if they find out”.

    I do also hope you’re prepared if this backfires. It may be morally ethical, but that doesn’t mean either company will like it if they ever find out, nor does it mean other potential employers will want to hire you if they somehow learn about this in the hiring process (I believe someone above mentioned it possibly being outed in a background check, which I know nothing about, but it certainly sounds plausible.)

    1. Clisby*

      The OP has said she’s nearing retirement, so I doubt she needs to take much of a long view on what might happen with other hypothetical employers.

  46. Falling Diphthong*

    OP, this is a sincere question: Why ask Alison (and by extension the commenters) at all?

    You believe that what you’re doing is ethical and totally fine and justified by other people underpaying you in the past.

    The friends, family, and former coworkers in whom you have confided–people whose ethics and moral code you have observed over the years–all assure you that it’s totally great.

    Why ask for more input from strangers? As with anonymous notes, it’s easy to write off any disagreements as coming from people whose judgment you wouldn’t value. Cui bono?

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      “Truthfully when I wrote in, I was on the fence about whether or not I should continue the roles and I pondered all points of view”

      I believe this.

      1. OP*

        I asked Alison/ wrote to this blog specifically because she and commenters always give such thoughtful responses. Though I didn’t choose the path some thought I should have, the comments gave me really great advice and things to think about.

  47. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    I have worked at home on deadline based work for several decades, way before COVID. I always believed that working at home took significantly fewer hours than in an office because of the lack of distractions, socializing, etc. It’s the same reason that homeschoolers school fewer hours than brick and mortar schools. Their is so much wasted time in a schoolday. That’s always the hardest adjustment when they switch. My daughter switched to public school for high school and there is so much wasted time. She finds it frustrating.

  48. RCS*

    I have 1 FT (40 hours/week salary) and 2 PT (paid hourly at 20 hours per week each) jobs currently. I have it all organized where I do all 3 during regular business hours, 8-6pm M-F.

    I used to feel guilty but now am riding it as long as it lasts.

  49. Tiffany In Houston*

    The hate in the comments is UNREAL. Folks got big brass balls being bothered what the OP is doing when we have all lived to see ENTIRE industries get government bail-outs subsidized by our tax dollars, CEOs get paid millions of dollars as exit packages, and inflation is kicking our ass right about now and ya’ll are mad at OP??? For real? Are ya’ll serious??

    OP – Keep doing what you’re doing, as long as you can do it. I’ll take you at your word that you aren’t unduly burdening your co-workers. At the end of the day, your loyalty is to yourself and your community, not some corporation.

    1. NeedRain47*

      Two wrongs don’t make a right, ever hear of that? Just b/c companies are unethical doesn’t mean it’s ethical for you to what they did.
      I’m not mad about it, basically b/c of all the reasons you said, but I’m not pretending it’s ethical to work 25-30 hours when your employer believes you are working 40 hours and you’re being paid for 40 hours.

      1. Anon all day*

        Why? I’m salaried, and I get paid XX amount to do YY amount of work. If I can do it in 30 hours, why is that unethical? I’m doing the work they want, and similar work to my colleagues. They’re not gonna pay me more if I do more.

      2. Anon4This*

        I only have one job, my employer thinks I’m working 40 hours a week, and here I am in the AAM comments. I do my job, I do parts of other people’s jobs, I am highly available, and I do maybe 20 hours worth of actual work per week.

        I am consistently rated as one of the highest performers in the entire organization and my specialty is weird, shitty projects that no one else can get done – please tell me exactly how I am wronging my employer, just because it takes less than 40 hours to do my job. I can assure you, as a salaried employee, that, if my job took more than 40 hours, they would certainly expect more hours from me.

        1. JustInPassing*

          Are you available for the full 40 hours that the company pays you to be or are you also being paid by a second company to be available during 20 of them? That makes the ethical difference, to my mind.

          1. Anon4This*

            My job is not coverage/availability-based. My job description does not state that I work or be available to work minimum/maximum number of hours or set range of hours, mostly because I’m not paid hourly or paid OT. I get paid to accomplish things.

            I do a number of things during the work day that are not work-related because I get my work done well, on time, and without incident. I don’t know why it matters if I’m taking my kid to the doctor, watching a not-child-friendly show with my spouse, or working on a spreadsheet for someone else. It’s actually easier to reach me and for me to hop onto a work thing during the latter two, both of which I’d imagine would be considered more “unethical” than taking my kid to the doctor.

    2. Clever Girl*

      YES. Everyone coming out in defense of corporations is mind-boggling to me. The capitalist brainwashing is strong.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      As a rule, the smaller the ethical problem presented, the longer and more outraged the comment thread.

    4. Lana Kane*

      I’m with you. From the same comments section that decries the butts in seats mentality. The only change here is that the butt is getting paid to be in a different seat (as opposed to, I dunno, running errands?). As long as both employers are happy with the work the OP is giving them, why would any of us care? Those employers can let OP go at any time, which can also happen if OP doesn’t have a second gig because we all know most of this country is at-will. Ans we’re going to wring our hands about those poor companies who hold all the power?

  50. idioalacrity*

    There’s been a couple of comments along the lines of ‘if you truly thought this was okay/ethical, why haven’t you told your employers?’ and I don’t get what the point of that is. Clearly OP is not telling her employers because her employers wouldn’t like it and would probably fire her for it. But all that shows is that… her employers wouldn’t like it! Not that what OP is doing is unethical. (Which is a different debate.)

    Just because something is ethically fine doesn’t mean your employer will be fine with you doing it, and you don’t always know what they’ll be fine with so why the hell would you ever tell them anything you don’t HAVE to? Whistleblowers get retaliated against all the time, and that’s like the gold star standard of ethical actions!

    But since whistle blowing can be controversial, let’s try a different example: a call center worker, whose time worked only counts when they’re on the phones. Is it ethically ok to come back from your lunch break and clock in at 12:30pm even though it takes two minutes for the computer to relaunch all your programs and you can’t actually get back on the phones until it’s done? Pretty sure most people would say yes, but in the US there are definitely companies that would 100% write you up for not recording start at 12:32pm.

    That OP hasn’t told her employers says nothing about the ethics of the situation.

    1. Moira Rose's Closet*

      “Clearly OP is not telling her employers because her employers wouldn’t like it and would probably fire her for it. But all that shows is that… her employers wouldn’t like it! Not that what OP is doing is unethical.”

      Yes, exactly this. I keep seeing comments equating “employer disliking this situation” with “unethical,” and I just can’t buy that.

      1. George*

        No, the employer wouldn’t like it because if she says she is not available during work hours and suggests another time (which she says she does due to the other job), the employer would justifiably object to that.

  51. Cube Farmer*

    I mean…more power to this person.

    The only problem could be if someone gets wind of that. “Oh, my colleague Fergus.” “No, no, you mean MY colleague Fergus.” “Wait, a minute, what the devil? Could he possible be both our colleagues at the same time?”

    1. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

      At some point it will likely come out and perhaps blow up, or eventually OP will be unable to sustain. But until that time, more power to the OP.
      Ethics? Unless it’s explicitly stated you can’t moonlight, and your not pushing off your work to underlings, I don’t see a problem. Both companies seem to be happy with the product for now.

  52. NervousNellie*

    I remember this, and I still think it’s unethical, just not towards the companies. Good jobs are scarce. Hoarding two of them is no more ethical to me than being a billionaire.

    1. Tea*

      Good jobs are not a resource to be doled out to the “most deserving.” Also, this opens up the question: if OP “hoard” two “bad jobs” it would be okay? And at what point would the ethicality scales of good vs. bad job tip?

      – If they were a workaholic who actually was doing 80-100 hours a week of work?
      – If they were working two 25k jobs? Two 50k jobs? One 100k job and one 25k job? Two 100k jobs?
      – If both jobs were tremendously physically and emotionally draining, extremely conducive to burnout or mental strain?
      – If everything about their job, hours, pay was exactly the same, but one or both of OP’s bosses were hugely and horribly abusive and had driven off the last three people in that role?

      If their jobs sucked, THEN it would be okay for OP to be “hoarding” (working) both of them? Because it’s not depriving another person of a good job opportunity?

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I think it feels unethical because of the scarcity issue. There are a lot of crappy jobs – there are very few jobs that pay six figures and have a light enough lift to do in 25-30 hours a day. It’s not about them being doled out to the most deserving, it’s about the availability and competition.

        1. Tea*

          So my question remains: would OP’s actions be “ethical” if the job was six figures, a light 25 hour lift… and the bosses screamed obscenities and harassed them every day and nobody else wanted to take on the role?

          In addition, these jobs aren’t paying six figures with relative light workloads for fun and giggles. At that rate, I’d assume there aren’t many qualified people with the working knowledge needed to do the role well. There’s also a pretty good chance that it would be a 40 hour/week role for someone who works less efficiently, or had less experience or knowledge of the subject matter.

          1. Eldritch Office Worker*

            In truth those lines are drawn somewhere and it’s often somewhat arbitrary. I don’t necessarily think what OP is doing is unethical but I can also see why it would get under some people’s skin.

            1. Tea*

              My personal opinion is that the lines being drawn are wholly arbitrary and based on (frankly) envy, as well as the weird USA capitalistic idea that workers owe so much to their employer and should be grateful for the opportunity to have a job. And like… I get the envy. To be honest, I’m envious of OP’s situation too, as someone who doesn’t make a quarter of what she’s making and works 50+ hour weeks. And yes, income inequality sucks but that’s just not on her.

        2. philmar*

          There’s also a scarcity of people who are capable of OP’s job, and those people who are qualified for it are most likely not starving from lengthy unemployment. The majority of candidates for OP’s second job would just be changing from one director position to another.

  53. Delphine*

    Beyond the discussion of whether this is “ethical” or not (which I’ve said in another spot is a nice thought experiment, but not much more useful than that), it boggles the mind that there are people here who are trying to frame this as an a**hole move on the OP’s part. That’s incredible. We’re going to decide that the OP is *morally* wrong for working two jobs well. Capitalist labor is inherently exploitative and we’re so enmeshed in the way things are that we’ll argue that a person should belong entirely to a single employer for a set number of work hours. If they find a way to get around that without hurting other employees AND without harming their employers’ bottom line, we will STILL decide they’re an a**hole! No wonder it’s taken this long for us to see a slight resurgence in the labor movement. We don’t care about workers.

    I can’t even begin to discuss the folks who are suggesting that if OP can work these two jobs comfortably, she should be aiming for a single more difficult job or she should be doing even more work in just one job. “Please be a good cog in the capitalist machine by working even more for half the money you make now!”

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      The more I think of it the more I fall into “don’t hate the player hate the game” territory. Which I wouldn’t be saying if we were talking about….oil monopolies or something? There’s a point of extrapolation where the players are very much operating in bad faith. But that just doesn’t seem to be what OP is doing.

      I think this is a nuanced issue in which context matters and moralists tend to hate those. It matters she’s doing both of these jobs well. It matters she’s taking on more work and getting outstanding feedback. It matters that she understands the risks and from what I can see would accept the consequences should they arise. It matters that she’s developed a skill set that’s in-demand enough even to allow this possibility. It matters that she acknowledges she’s incredibly privileged.

      Sometimes through a matter of luck and circumstance and hard work opportunities come up that, frankly, most people would take. Those may not always be black and white ethically, but as you say that’s at best a thought experiment. Most of us will never be in the position to make that choice and that makes casting judgment on OP a little hard to defend, in my opinion.

    1. Clever Girl*

      No. No one is “taking a job” from someone else. You don’t go into someone’s house at night and steal their job from them. Women working good jobs used to be (and in many more conservative places, still are) told that they were “taking a job away from a man” who needed to support a family, and that was wrong. This is BS.

      1. LMW*

        Well that’s just a false equivalence. If OP is upfront and honest about working two jobs IN THE SAME HOURS and their employers are happy with that, no problem. But of course this is not that situation. Of course jobs shouldn’t be doled out to the most deserving – but just because you think you can do multiple jobs – I repeat – in the same hours – doesn’t make it right.
        I guarantee each employment contract says the working hours are from x until y – so the OP is acting in a knowingly legally fraudulent way.

          1. LMW*

            You would have a written offer of employment that outlines the terms and conditions of your employment though wouldn’t you?
            But hey, if they don’t mention hours, then knock yourself out, OP!

            1. Tea*

              Not really, in my (admittedly limited) experience. There’s the acceptance of the role you sign off on (confirming pay, benefits, etc.) There might be… an employee handbook describing things To Do And Not To Do (so it’s possible that hours and conditions may be listed there, but not always.) But other than that – no contracts, no terms and conditions. I think that would uh, get in the way of employers wanting to be able to hire and fire with impunity.

    2. Tea*

      You could say that about literally any job in any situation, and especially for anyone working more than one job. Taking a break from a lucrative and stressful career doing a job as a cashier bagging groceries? Don’t you know that Donna has four kids to raise and could have used the hours? Got a promotion and a pay bump? For shame. Bob has a family to raise and needs it more than your single self. Driving an Uber after your full time job? Taking away opportunities from people who do rideshares full time.

      Jobs are not doled out to the person who “needs it” the most.

    3. philmar*

      I sincerely doubt that the person who would take OP’s second job isn’t someone who already has gainful employment, probably at the director level.

  54. Jupiter*

    I had a longer post above, but I can’t stay away, haha.

    I think a lot of comments are centering around “why can’t you be honest about it/if your employers find out, something bad will happen!”

    And I suggest in response that unfair consequences exist. The fact that something bad will happen doesn’t mean that someone did something wrong, just that they’re being punished for that action. A company could fire someone for getting pregnant, but that doesn’t mean it was wrong to have a child. A company could punish someone for job searching, which doesn’t make it wrong to job search… though it would benefit the company if you think it is wrong to job search, or take parental leave!

    It just feels like people are reasoning backwards, extrapolating “you are not being ethical” from “companies will not like that you are doing this.” Those two are not actually linked.

    1. Lana Kane*

      This blog is chock-full of unfair consequences. So much so that “then why aren’t you disclosing” shouldn’t even be a question.

  55. Won't somebody think of the corporations!!!*

    Wow, the amount of people on here who have come out in defense of the companies/employers/corporations is insane to me. This is some capitalistic brainwashing at its finest.

    Just because you have a full-time job does not mean a company OWNS you or your time for 8 hours a day. They pay you to do work for them and if you are getting it done, they are getting what they paid for. The way we treat salaried positions in this country is ridiculous, IMO. You are expected to work 40 hours a week, no less. But if you need to work more than that to get everything done, you don’t get paid over time because it’s SaLArY! But if you work LESS than that, you get in trouble, because…? Because bosses and companies think a full time employment contact means they own you for 8 hours a day. It’s gross.

    There is nothing unethical about working 2 jobs if you are getting all the work done for both of them. Even the people saying “well you are basically lying to your company and making them thing the job needs to be full time when it apparently doesn’t!” are wrong. For all you know, every other person in that position would require 40 hours a week to get the work done. Just because OP is better/faster/more efficient does not mean they deserve to be punished for it by being expected to do MORE work for the same pay. I work full time and rarely put in 40 hours in a week. However, I get my work done quickly, I’m really good at what i do, and I know they could not replace me for the salary I’m getting with anyone who is as good as I am. Coworkers are spending significantly longer on similar tasks and not doing them as well as I am (I am frequently asked to fix other people’s work). I stay at this job because I enjoy the flexibility of taking half a day “off” when I finish my work early. I could easily take on a second full time job if I weren’t averse to working 60 hour weeks, but I have no desire to do that.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      I ready your user name in full-on Helen Lovejoy and cannot stop snickering out loud.

      Also, cosigned on the salaried positions. And kind of funny hypocrisy from all the posts where people finish their stuff and want to leave an hour early, and there is also sorts of howling about how people shouldn’t be punished for doing things more efficiently and given more work to fill that hour – but here’s someone who is managing there time and getting things done efficiently for both and all of a sudden it’s the corporate overlords who are being treated unfairly.

  56. rgkj*

    This whole thing just reminds me of David Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs from 2018. I think it rubs people (including me!) the wrong way to see someone collect a lot of salary for two jobs they admit don’t take that much mental energy. Obviously Graeber has a particularly, uh, strong ideological stance on the issue as an anarchist, but the book truly did make me think about how I value work and how I wanted my values reflected in my work. Just some food for thought for OP and other commenters.

    1. BlueDijon*

      “How I want my values reflected in my work” is such a wonderful way of phrasing the crux of the matter for me, and reading the comments for others too.

      1. DrSalty*

        Yeah. Work is just work – it’s not even close to the most important thing in my life – but I don’t think I could get up every morning and feel comfortable lying to all my coworkers every single day. But maybe I’m just a idiot slave to capitalism.

        1. Tea*

          Do you really think that much lying is involved though? I mean, take a freelancer with two 25 hour/week NDA contracts, I don’t think they would have to do a lot of lying (of omission or otherwise) to navigate any conflicts between the contracts and it sounds like about the same amount of work as what OP is taking on.

          I say this also as someone who could also never do this because it would make me nervous and worry about the risk of getting caught out, but a lot of people are more comfortable than risk than me.

          1. DrSalty*

            To me, the situation of being a freelancer is the exact opposite here. When you hire a freelancer, you KNOW they are working for other people and you’re not their only client. It’s all upfront and above board. Everyone understands the situation and agrees on it, especially assuming you’re signed a contract or SOW before beginning the work. I do think lying is involved here because undoubtedly all OP’s coworkers are assuming this is her only job. It just doesn’t sit well with me.

            1. Tea*

              I guess I just don’t see it as being any of OP’s employer or coworkers’ business if it doesn’t have a direct impact on their work (and if we’re taking OP at their word, it isn’t.) It isn’t a lie of omission to me any more than not telling my coworkers I’m job hunting, or trying to get pregnant, or planning a cross-country move. In fact, all of those things could impact their work in a big way, but it’s still none of their business to know.

              If I work FT as a waitress, and take on another FT role as a night guard… is it any of my coworkers’ business where my second job is? If someone works FT and runs and Etsy shop, should their coworkers be in the loop about their Etsy business? FT as an editor and then start picking up blog post writing on the side? In my opinion… No.

              1. DrSalty*

                To me, the difference is OP is in high roles at these companies which makes the baseline assumptions of what your role as a contributor are a bit different than in the example jobs you listed above, especially if she’s involved in strategy or other kinds of future planning.

                1. DrSalty*

                  But then, I work in a field where confidentially and conflicts of interest are really important, so maybe that’s coloring my perspective.

                2. Tea*

                  Funny enough, the fact that she’s in those higher-level roles is what makes me feel like she’s able to do those jobs at the level she’s describing. Being tasked to oversee initiative, strategies, and projects probably takes up less time (though more institutional knowledge) than being a frontline boots-on-the-ground contributor. If the two jobs are in very different and non-conflicting fields, I still don’t think that the potential for conflict or lying would come up very often. That said, I’m sure there are plenty of fields (and roles) where having two jobs just wouldn’t work for compliance and security issues.

        2. L-squared*

          I mean, is it a lie of omission? Possibly. But its not that different from interviewing for other jobs during the day when you are technically being paid to work from home.

          I just find it fascinating what information people feel you are and aren’t obligated to your employer. I have to work in an office a few times a week, but I have coworkers who are fully remote. Outside of a few meetings we all have to be at, I have 0 clue what they spend their hours doing. Granted, my job is pretty independent, but I just can’t really see caring if someone is playing video games all day, or working another job, or gardening, as long as I’m not affected.

          1. DrSalty*

            It feels like a bigger scale lie to me than your example because OP intends to do it forever (ok, for an indeterminate long-term period) at these jobs. Obviously you don’t owe your coworkers or employer info about your job search, or your impending pregnancy, or etc etc etc. But we’re talking about the very condition of employment here, not OP’s plan to get out. For me, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that level of deception. I probably wouldn’t care either if OP was my coworker and it didn’t affect my workload. But I myself wouldn’t feel right doing it.

  57. Won't Get Fooled Again. Maybe.*

    Regardless of how one feels about this issue, you can be sure that hiring managers everywhere will likely prohibit dual jobs going forward.

    1. Wisteria*

      Aside from the obvious lack of hassle of owning your own business and hustling to find clients, there is health insurance, 401k matching, somebody else paying your SS taxes, … lots of benefits to working for a company that don’t go away when you work for two companies. Plus, two salaries instead of one.

    2. T. Boone Pickens*

      Why pick up the burden of quarterly taxes and SE tax when you can get someone else to foot the bill?

    3. Casper Lives*

      Because they want the employee benefits of being a full time employee, not the hassle of being a contractor. I’m not even sure how I feel about this ethically. But both sides are being a bit hyperbolic in the comments section. Which is normal :)

  58. Sparkles McFadden*

    Thanks for writing in. I was interested in how this was going to go.

    I really liked the question as it gave me a lot to think about. The main thoughts I had were:

    – Would it be sustainable, workload-wise, or would it be too exhausting?

    – Would the logistics be overwhelming? This might say more about me because the idea of onboarding in two separate places, learning the workplace cultures and such, is something that I would not want to deal with. I found myself wondering how one would decide which benefits package to take and if there would be issues around requesting time off at two different workplaces.

    – As for morality, my knee-jerk reaction was “No, you can’t do that” but, after pondering your question for awhile, I found I did not actually have an issue with someone holding two full-time jobs simultaneously. I did have discomfort around potentials for lies of omission. I know you said that the businesses were unrelated, but odd connections to people have a way of turning up. I found myself wondering what your LinkedIn profile would have listed or how you’d answer the usually innocuous question of “So where do you work?” I’d rather not have to think so hard about such things…but, again, that’s more about me than you.

    Thanks for the update and I hope things continue to work out for you.

  59. Choggy*

    What if one job or the other caught wind of what you were doing? Do you only list one of your jobs on your LinkedIn profile, if you have one, or just keep it vague? These questions may have been asked already but I did not go through all the comments.

  60. Come On Eileen*

    I’ve followed the “overemployed” subreddit for months now, and it’s fascinating. OP you are not alone in what you are doing, there are TONS of people successfully and quietly working two jobs. Heck, some people are working three or four at a time. Keep being a good employee at each job for as long as you can and props to you.

  61. CLC*

    It seems one ethical problem with this is just normalizing this type of thing. If this became common practice everyone would have to start doing it to make ends meet. Most people are already overworked and over brain capacity with one full time job. I also really don’t understand how this person claims to still have plenty of time for family responsibilities, relaxation, etc. And how is it that these are “director level” jobs? For one thing, who are they directing if they don’t have any reports?

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      It’s like Project Managers (many of whom do not manage people), but at a higher level. We have directors in my office who manage tons of people, we have some that manage a handful, we have some that oversee large portfolios of projects/programs. It’s just a job title with no universal definition.

    2. Shrug*

      Underrated comment. I don’t think there’s an ethical issue here, I just think it’s weird that so many people are reacting to this by saying “wow, what a boss!” or “stick it to the man!” and not “boy it’s pretty greedy to look at your 200k pa salary and think, hey, what I need is another 200k pa.” It really shows the shift in our social priorities. It’s not somehow anti capitalist to be hustling hard to get rich – it’s leaning into capitalism in a big way, just trying to change what role you occupy in a capitalist system.

      OP, you and I have different values and want to live our lives differently. That’s OK. Do what you’re comfortable with. But know what your emphasizing and what you’re minimizing, and be comfortable with your role in the wider culture.

  62. L-squared*

    I find it very interesting how passionate people are getting about this. These are 2 companies that no one knows about, but they are getting pretty nasty in the comments to OP and others who don’t agree. Its hard to not see it as resentment that this situation is causing such a visceral reaction when it involves a total stranger

    1. Anon all day*

      I’m still not over the fact that people who are defending the corporations are calling people defending OP “bootlickers”! Nuts!

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I think it underscores how small the ethical question is. Like academic debates about the correct use of semicolons.

  63. George*

    If it’s ethical, you should have no trouble telling your two employers what you’re doing.

    1. Tea*

      It’s ethical to want to get pregnant and have children*, but strangely enough, people often have trouble telling their employers about this!

      *Replace with: job hunt, move states, apply to college or grad school, want to work remote, contact the EEOC

      1. George*

        But in each of the situations you cite, an employer would not be justified in firing the employee on that news. In the double job situation, it would be.

        1. Tea*

          Do you… think that employers don’t let go of people for those exact situations all of the time, every dang day?

          I mean, in TYOOL 2022 they probably come up with less transparent reasons for it, like “wasn’t a team player” or “doesn’t fit with company culture” instead of “can’t believe she had the gall to get pregnant then ask to work remotely.” But employers in most of the US don’t need ANY justification to stop employing a person, let alone a good one. The “beauty” of at will hiring.

  64. RaisedEyebrow*

    I still believe this is unethical, though not because I think you’re wronging the company owners/shareholders. Everyone whose work you depend on to then do yours – unless those roles can all also be done in 25 hours/week, you’re living off of others’ labour. “That’s how the roles were set up when I joined” isn’t really an excuse. You’re a director, you’re party to at least some company decisions, and you’re happy with a system where lower-level roles have to work harder. Imagine if you thought your boss was really busy, adjusted your work to fit around their schedule, maybe spent some extra time figuring stuff out on your own that you would have liked to run by them, and generally tried your best not to take up too much of their time…and then it turns they have a whole other job!? I’d, uh, not be happy.

    1. Pro Two Jobs*

      Except there’s no indication here that she’s shafting work onto other people in order to make this work. Absolutely, if she were unavailable when she desperately needed to be or was forcing others to pick up the slack, then that would be a huge problem. But she’s stated that that’s not the case. Plus, she doesn’t have any direct reports.

      1. Yorick*

        The original letter says this, in the context of why OP is able to make this work: “I don’t have any direct reports, but have awesome teammates who dotted-line report to me and who I can rely on to accomplish day-to-day activities.”

        These people are directly impacted – OP is working on average 25 hours a week for each job (the original letter says they are able to do work for both jobs in about 50 hours a week), so these junior coworkers are likely picking up a lot of slack and don’t have the power to push back.

        How would you feel if you were overworked and then you learned your senior coworker was adding to your plate because they were secretly working a second job??

  65. Falling Diphthong*

    I think I’ve put my finger on the disconnect for me here:

    • Corporation A did you wrong in the past, so it’s okay to screw over Corporation W now as payback.
    • Nonprofit B did you wrong in the past, so it’s okay to screw over Nonprofit X now as payback.
    • A redheaded Subaru driver did you wrong in the past, so it’s okay to screw over a completely different redheaded Subaru driver now as payback.

    The ethics of working two full-time jobs are minor to me. I wouldn’t do it; it’s on the small squishy edges of moral questions; I don’t really care. But justifying your actions against a person/group/entity, because in the past a completely different person/group/entity hurt you and the first one is now standing in as a symbol? I think that’s deeply wrong. It underlies some of the ugliest social and political wrongs.

    The same for the idea that work is justified if you would spend some of the money helping out friends and family and donating to charity: literal assassins can make this justification. The CEO you most hate can make this justification. People who tried to sign onto a Nigerian email scam can make this justification: they’ll do so many good things for their family when the millions stolen from the Nigerian people start rolling in.

    The ostensible ethical question here isn’t one I much care about, but the ethical arguments being pulled out to justify it hit at some of my deeply held principles.

    1. itsame*

      Are you saying the LW/people who think what she’s doing is wrong are prejudiced against corporations? Because the problem people have with corporations isn’t that some of them exploit workers, it’s that the system they operate in is set up to exploit workers. If a company operates within the US and is a for-profit entity then they are intrinsically involved in an exploitative system. There aren’t a few rotten apples, there’s a rotten system they are all a part of.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        An executive earning a healthy 6 figure salary and then earning another healthy 6 figure salary is a weird way to stick it to the corporations.

        If her bosses found out and said “We’re cares, Pete Campbell?” would you then have to reverse your position because no corporation was being harmed, and so this was no longer ethical?

        “It’s only ethical if harm is being done” is a weird moral line I personally wouldn’t adopt.

          1. itsame*

            I said none of that. What I said is that this isn’t a matter of some corporations are exploitative and others are innocent beings, and somehow LW is punishing one of those innocent corporations for another’s actions. When weighing the ethical considerations of what you do and do not owe a corporation, the question isn’t just “has this specific organization done me wrong”, it’s “does this corporation operate within an exploitative system of power?” and the answer is yes, inherently.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              “The system is exploitative” arguments always seem to come down to justifying the speaker’s decision to sit and do nothing while pouting, or actively hurt someone else while saying “But we’re both part of a corrupt system, man.” I don’t admire it.

              As I said above: The actual action is mild, but the justifications pulled out for it are not impressive. I’ll add to my two examples “we’re both part of an exploitative system” and “if a good person does something, then that act is okay.”

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Also, the whole “Sears treated me badly when I worked there, so today I’m knocking over a floor display in 7-11–viva la revolution!!!!!” schtick is not the finest in moral reasoning. It’s just making a mess for someone else to clean up. Probably someone working longer hours for less money than yourself.

    2. MBAir*

      Thank you for articulating this! I also think it’s telling that OP is telling everyone BUT either employer about this arrangement and using it as justification. I mean, do you really think that your friends and family will all band together to tell you it’s a bad idea? They probably know there’s no point in changing your mind, don’t want the gravy train to derail, just don’t care, etc. When a family member tells me they’re doing something dumb/not cool and I know they won’t listen to me anyway, I would also just be like “oh okay, sounds great, sure!”

      Let’s be real, the first letter and this update especially were just a chance for the LW to brag about how they’re getting six-figure salaries from TWO companies and no one has figured it out, mwhahah hahah! Like, yay for you, I guess. You’re really sticking it to the Man, somehow.

  66. Katie A.*

    Stop telling people. Loose lips sink ships – and you don’t want your money boats to sink.

  67. novimi*

    I’m intrigued by this because I know one org that pays full-time (75-90k) for 32 hour workweeks (4 days a week with Fridays off) and I’m currently making 100k + really good benefits at an org that’s having us aim for 30-35 hours a week. I’m also a director with similar dynamics around no direct reports but having a team whose work completion impacts my work too.

    The intention behind the workweek however is this idea that it’s more sustainable in the long run – we’re not burnt out week after week and will be able to bring our best work to the org (and be happy in our personal lives) by being fully funded to work fewer hours.

    Some of us do take on outside consulting that take up additional time, with full knowledge of our org. What I noticed over time is that I’ve reduced my freelancing quite a bit because I’m noticing I’m not bringing my best work to the org or feeling balanced in my life. Now, if my day job was smoother/all strategy and I really only needed 20-25 hours, I could see myself accelerating my outside gigs AND still not getting burnt out or negatively impacting the work. Part of this is because the way I work has shifted after a decade of working 75-90 hours a week for 30k a year at a startup. Compared to that, 45-55 hours doesn’t seem that draining. Plus, the reality is with 400k, I’d be outsourcing so much life labor – could have a cleaning service, meal delivery, landscaping, personal assistant, use rideshares more, etc. and gain back time by paying others for that labor.

  68. Leenie*

    Putting aside the ethical questions (which really are not grave), I’d probably wind up having to fire the LW if she reported to me and this came out. We aren’t paying for time, but we also aren’t paying solely for work product. We’re paying for availability and priority during normal business hours. And that’s what makes another job different from the other things that one could be spending time on during work hours. Most things (personal paperwork, hobbies, entertainment) could be put aside at any time. Other things (doctors or other personal appointments, picking up the kids) happen in discrete windows of time. A second job in the same hours is an ongoing, competing priority. Maybe that’s ok some places. And if it is, that’s great for the LW. I’m not hoping for a bad outcome for her. But it would not fly where I am, and I’m also comfortable with that.

    And frankly, if this happened to me, I probably wouldn’t be inclined to go to bat for the LW when I had to start dealing with the hassles that this might bring for me (Do I need to defend that this really is a full time position for most employees? Do I get sent for additional management training because I missed something so significant?). When upper management inevitably tells me they think we should fire the person who intentionally misled me over an extended period of time, I wouldn’t be all that motivated to take the other side of that argument.

    1. Sure*

      We’re paying for availability and priority during normal business hours.

      I do hope you include this in your employment contracts, then.

      1. Leenie*

        You know that people don’t normally have contracts in the US. Offer letters contain basic hours and duties. No one should have a second job within those basic hours. And if they do, which would be really unusual for highly paid professionals, they shouldn’t be shocked to be fired.

      2. Leenie*

        Also, do places that have contracts really specify that you can’t be paid for other work during normal work hours? It seems odd that would be anticipated and specified, especially for jobs that were typically in person and may have only become remote or hybrid more recently.

      3. FedVet*

        It’s quite clear that a lot of folks don’t understand what a salaried position means. A lot of them are conflating “salary exempt” and “salary non-exempt” as well.

        Yes, there are salaried positions where hours matter. Those are salary non-exempt positions. But LW appears to be talking about salary exempt, where all that matters IS the work product.

        It’s not LW’s fault that companies misclassify salaried employees and apply the wrong expectations to them later on.

        1. Leenie*

          Your understanding of this is so incorrect that it’s inverted. I can’t link without it going into moderation, but here’s the opening paragraph from a Society for Human Resources Management article:

          ​It’s a common misconception that employers can’t require exempt employees to work a specific schedule or at least 40 hours a week. An employer may, in fact, do so and remain in compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The key is to pay exempt employees their weekly salary without any reduction for quality or quantity of work.

          1. FedVet*

            Oh they absolutely *can*, but they *shouldn’t*.

            The whole idea behind salary non-exempt vs. salary exempt IS the differentiation between “work product” and “butts in seats.” Just because SHRM says “the law allows this” doesn’t mean that’s the *purpose*, just that it’s not *prohibited*.

            My understanding is fine; it’s just not the interpretation that bootlickers want to hear when they’re trying to demonize labor.

            1. FedVet*

              I mean by that illogic of “SHRM says!” you end up having to take the stance that any company not required to, say, accommodate ADA requests (fewer than 15 employees) can reasonably dictate that it is “unethical” for an employee to ask for a health accommodation.

              What is required or allowed by the law is FAR from the only arbiter of morality or ethics. And in the case of exempt/non-exempt for salary, just because the law says you *can* dictate certain things (hours, schedule) doesn’t mean it’s correct, ethical, or just to do so.

            2. Leenie*

              You were definitionally wrong, and now you’re moving the goal posts. And people who are accurate are bootlickers who hate labor. This conversation has taken a turn for the silly.

        2. Yorick*

          Salary exempt doesn’t mean the work product is all that matters. Your availability is still important in most jobs, even if you’re salary exempt.

          1. NotAnotherManager!*

            The importance of availability varies by job. It is not important to all jobs, and OP’s apparently not raised any availability-related concerns if they are meeting or exceeding their boss’s performance expectations.

            Post-pandemic, my organization significantly relaxed availability standards for jobs that were deadline-based instead of availability-based to provide more flexibility based on the actual requirements of the job. It’s been great for recruiting for some hard-to-fill positions.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          To hopefully put this to rest: This is actually incorrect. Many exempt jobs (categorized correctly) are ones where hours matter. From a legal standpoint, “exempt” is not about work product vs. hours. It literally only means that you are exempt from the law requiring overtime pay, based on the type of work you do. That’s it.

          1. FedVet*

            You of all people know the difference between “law allows” and “purpose of existence.”

            Ah, well. Out of respect, I’ll stop commenting on this matter.

  69. Chickaletta*

    As an EA to a part-time VP (works 32 hours per week), I 100% believe that someone earning this salary, working those hours, can be that productive. I see it happen with my own boss.

    Also, I find it interesting that people are so defensive of the companies and saying things like “if your company knew”… um, just FYI folks, the c-suite takes personal time/flex time during the work week constantly. Sure, most of them are putting in 60+ hours (with the exception of my VP who is officially part-time), but if you think they’re available/working/butts in chairs 8-5 M-F, they’re not. Stop fighting amongst yourselves about whether you or OP need to be.

    1. Middle of HR*

      This! Many execs work shorter hours openly. When a job is more “we need you for decision making and your network” than task execution, folks tend to make money that seems like “a lot” to us down the chart while working shorter, concentrated hours.
      This is the reality of our corporations.

    2. Yorick*

      Ok but the C-suite is still working 60 hours. OP is working 2 jobs during the normal workday, so presumably 20 hours a week for each job.

      1. Chickaletta*

        OP said they were working a cumulative 50 hours per week. And in my first paragraph, I note that it’s quite possible for someone to be highly productive in under 40 hours and still worth the money they’re being paid. My point is basically that it’s not about the time or hours worked, it’s the output.

  70. Heather*

    Not sure if you’re still reading comments OP, but if so I’m curious about how the travel aspects worked out. You’d said both jobs were about 25% travel, did that turn out to be accurate? If so, how do you manage? If you’re out of town for a week for company A, don’t you have giant blocks of time unavailable on company B’s calendar?

    1. OP*

      Hi! Actually it turned out to be less- I traveled more at the beginning when I was going around meeting people and touring offices in person. One job now is really no travel; the other is once a month or so, and I fly outside of “normal” work hours. I don’t block out my entire travel time on both calendars- just times I have scheduled meetings or plans.

  71. Tussy*

    Scott Morrison? Is this you?

    (The big news story in Australia right now is that the Prime Minister before our current one secretly appointed himself as a co-minister to a bunch of portfolios, so it’s very amusing to me that this update rant today)

  72. Butt Seriously*

    I wonder if OP really thinks this is ethical why they mention being open with friends family and former coworkers but not current employers.

    1. Chickaletta*

      Because an employer might not see it as being right. Let’s take another hot controversial topic from the headlines: it’s the same reason why a person might discuss having an abortion in Colorado but not Oklahoma. It’s not because they are hypocritical about their ethics on abortion, it’s because of how one group might react versus another.

  73. philmar*

    Comments today are fascinating. I’m surprised OP has managed to keep it up and I still think it’s not going to last, although I feel a little mean saying that knowing she is reading these comments and has been extremely level-headed amongst a lot of nonsense. I think it will come out and she will get fired… but clearly that’s something she’s willing to risk.

    But people are saying the wildest things. “She’s pawning things off on coworkers!” Well, she says they have maintained their historical level of responsibilities, and aren’t we supposed to take OP at their word?
    “She’s underperforming/her bosses don’t know they aren’t getting her best work!” She says she’s getting good reviews, and aren’t we supposed to take OP at their word? Are we assuming her bosses are too stupid to properly evaluate her work?
    “She’s taking jobs away from people who need/deserve them!” I would bet 99% of people who would be candidates for her job are already employed in director-level positions.
    “It’s wage theft!” The whole point of salaried work is that the hours worked don’t define the pay. Also who cares? You’re not the shareholders of her companies.
    “This is going to trash her reputation if it comes out.” I agree, but clearly she has weighed the possibility of that and decided it’s worth it.

    1. L-squared*

      What I’ve noticed about “take people at their word” is that people are very selective when they apply that. Basically , if a reader finds the letter writer sympathetic and is defending their actions, then they will take them at their word. If they disagree, then all of a sudden its “I know we are supposed to take them at their word, but I just don’t believe x, y,z”

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I take people at their word on the vibe. When people claim that of course NO ONE has noticed thing-job-wouldn’t-want-them-to-be-doing I am more skeptical–whether that’s covering up your second job or an addiction or an affair or being a totally different person than the one hired or something else–just because historically people have been poor self-judges of whether this was affecting anyone else, visible to anyone else, etc.

        Of course, people who successfully carry it off do not become legends.

    2. Yorick*

      But in the original letter, OP said they were pawning things off on coworkers. Which word are we supposed to take them at?

  74. Tyler Rowe Price*

    Anyone ever hear the idea that people at certain higher level corporate jobs don’t do any actual work? *cough**cough*

  75. Pro Two Jobs*

    Honestly as a manager, I absolutely do not want to know if any of my direct reports are working a second full-time job – because while I absolutely would not care providing I’m getting the level of work required from my employees, I know my company would – not because there’s anything actually wrong with it, but because they’d have a knee-jerk reaction of ‘this is terrible we can’t allow this’ (like many of the commenters here have), without stopping to consider if it’s actually impacting that.

  76. Sacred Ground*

    Do either of your employers know that you’re doing this? You’ve discussed this with friends, family, and former coworkers, but you keep the people for whom this info is actually relevant in the dark. You know they wouldn’t like it and would likely fire you over it otherwise you would tell them. You know this is wrong and so you keep it a secret.

    Rationalize it to yourself however you want but if you’re actually giving both companies the time and effort they both expect from a full time employee (director-level management at that), there’s no way that you’d still have time for friends and family after your 80-100 hour work week. And if you’re not working those kinds of hours then you are not doing two full-time jobs, you’re doing two part-time jobs for full-time pay and without your bosses’ knowledge.

    That your job performance is allegedly good enough for them doesn’t change that it would be a lot better if you were actually devoting your full time to it. You aren’t. They think you are. And you know this and you don’t tell them.

    But these days, who gives a crap? The way employees have been treated for so long, often working 2-3 positions at the same company but paid (badly) for one, it’s kind of cool to see someone doing the same thing in reverse. That it’s a director-level manager doing this kind of dims the glow a bit for me. Once again, a boss (that’s you) is gaming the system for their own personal benefit.

    I’d like to see your subordinates do this and get away with it. I wonder how you’d react to this as an employer? If one of your subordinates was working another full time job and didn’t disclose this to you, how would you respond?

    1. Clever Girl*

      Lots of employers would fire women for getting pregnant if they weren’t legally prohibited from doing so (and some of them still manage to do it even though it is illegal), so “your employer would fire you over this” isn’t really a good standard to measure whether something is okay/ethical or not.

      1. Patty Mayonnaise*

        But the fact that there are laws protecting pregnant people from getting fired points to the societal belief that it’s not ethical to fire pregnant people. The fact that OP could get fired for working two jobs at once and have no legal recourse (and I think most people here would agree it would be within the company’s rights to fire her) at least points to it being ethically neutral if not unethical.

  77. Yorick*

    OP, your original letter explicitly said that you were able to do this because you had people who “dotted line” report to you who you could give some of your tasks to. This is what makes it unethical for me. You’re giving work that you should be doing to people who are junior to you (even if they’re not your direct reports) so that you can get paid twice for the same time.

    In the comments section and now in this update, you’re claiming this isn’t the case. But then why did you say it was in the original later, and only change that part of the story when people said it was bad?

    1. OP*

      Thanks for pointing that out! I’m afraid I wasn’t really clear in that first letter. I don’t have direct reports/ability to hire and fire people/do performance reviews, etc. Like many jobs, I rely on people to do their job well, pass along that work product they’re responsible for, and run from there. In any role I’d be conscientious about not pawning off MY responsibilities onto others, but now I’m hyper-aware of NOT doing that. And if I were doing that, I’d fully expect that these behaviors would be reported by the “pawn-ees” and I’d be taken to task for that.

  78. FedVet*

    Congratulations, LW. Ignore everyone here who want you to be considered a slave and have to report your every waking moment to a singular employer who is “obviously” entitled to know everything about you, your life, your free time, your family and social interactions, future plans, past history, and everything else – you are doing NOTHING WRONG, you are 100% ethically and morally correct, and as long as you keep producing in accordance with the expectations of both of your employers, more power to you!

    Well done!

  79. Pounce de Lion*

    I can never wrap my head around the idea of midlevel office work being the same as working on an assembly line. “As long as you get your work done.” Sure there are obvious projects and deadlines, but a lot of my workday is thinking and planning and contributing ideas. There’s a whole section of the annual evaluation dedicated to taking initiative.

    I’m guessing LW’s manager(s) hired them for their knowledge and ideas in addition to cranking out widgets in the factory.

    1. Yorick*

      Exactly! And even if I’m not working 8 hours a day, I’m available 8 hours a day for other people to contact me with questions or requests, set meetings to discuss things, etc. If you’re working 2 full time jobs with similar hours, you’re no longer as available. Coworkers will give you the benefit of the doubt, but they’d feel very differently if they knew they couldn’t get help from you because you were busy with your other job.

    2. OP*

      Right – it’s a “knowledge job” – I’m not personally making anything. It’s kind of a niche position at both where I’m hired based on my experience and knowledge and ability to resolve problems and come up with new ideas. Again, recognize the privilege here.

      1. GB*

        “… resolve problems and come up with new ideas.”

        This is my concern right here.

        Were I an executive with Company A and your situation came to light, my concerns would very much involve our ownership of intellectual property that you had generated while on our payroll… though it would depend very much on the types of new ideas. Given that you’re employed by each company, each has a claim on ALL the IP you generate… and I imagine each would insist on a very broad definition of what constitutes IP.

        And while I appreciate that you have taken steps to physically separate the work you do for each company, I’m not sure those are sufficient. Even if having two jobs simultaneously isn’t addressed in the employee handbook or in policy, I’d be very confident in speculating that IP is addressed. You might even have signed forms for each company acknowledging and agreeing to abide by their IP policies.

        Is that something you’ve addressed?

        1. GB*

          ps I apologize if this is something you’ve addressed elsewhere here or in the original posting. Just point me there!

          1. OP*

            Thanks for your comment and question! Yes, have signed IP statements. It hasn’t arisen that anything I’ve created at one company would be directly applicable to the other, but I can see how unconsciously similar ideas at one place could apply to the other. Maybe it helps these are different industries and non-competitors? I’m not sure. Some food for thought for me though – thanks!

  80. OP*

    Curious to hear your take on this: both of my employers will match my donations to charities. I haven’t yet requested the match, but hypothetically: I donate $500 to the Humane Society (again, hypothetcial amount and organization – I don’t want to get into amounts or the type of nonprofits specifically). Then both Company A and Company B will match that donation, so the Humane Society is getting $1500 total. Are both, neither, or only one of those matches “ethical”? Particularly given the amount I have the ability to donate is enhanced by working 2 jobs.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      I want to tell you to submit for both, but my concern is more practical – occasionally, the organizations I donate to (mix of local and national) send auditing surveys or thank yous to my employer for matching donations, and I could totally see them sending a confirmation for the wrong amount ($1000 rather than $500) or mentioning the parallel generosity. It would suck to get found out due to good-intentioned bureaucratic snafu.

      One thing this discussion has made clear, though, is that no one remembers Mr. McAllister’s lecture on morals v. ethics in Election. :)

  81. EmpathyBadger*

    I’ve always suspected the higher ups aren’t doing much work and getting paid much more than the rest of us. Now you are taking two of these positions so someone else can’t get your easy ride. I find it hard to believe you are prioritizing the needs of either company or your employees because it could add too much time to your day. Sigh…

  82. Platypus*

    ethics aside, I’m confused at all the comments about how OP isn’t actually sticking it to the man, because she’s taking away a job away from someone else who could use it- but if she’s in a director level position that pays 200k, the only people who would be considered for that job are likely people at her same rank who are also making bank and are financially well off- it’s not a job that would ever go to a person struggling by with 30k, or someone living semi decently off of 60k

    1. catsoverpeople*

      …or, someone else in each company is working 40+ hours a week, maybe making $60k, maybe making less, in order to free up OP’s workload and make her situation even possible, and that person is trying desperately to prove themselves ready for the promotion to OP’s director level, if only that position was open again. We can make up these scenarios all we want, without knowing which one is true. Going from $60k to $200k is a significant quality of life difference for many people, even if the $60k isn’t poverty level in the first place.

      I do think the expectations of hours worked is either misleading by the OP, or not well communicated by the top bosses so the OP doesn’t think it’s a big deal. If Company A says “we expect you available from 8am-5pm, M-F” and Company B says “we don’t care what hours you work, as long as the work gets done” then there is likely no conflict. If both companies communicate they expect the 8am-5pm, M-F availability, and you’re literally not available for meetings because of the other job, then it sounds dishonest to me.

      If no one cares that other people (not corporations, but people) are affected by OP’s choices, possibly negatively whether she knows it or not, then great! As others have posted, I see the hoarding of two $200k/year + benefits or perks (such as WFH, we should all be so lucky) jobs as greedy, and if greed is good, then great! Go for it! But I draw the line at calling this ethical.

  83. Midwest is Best*

    I worked two jobs for YEARS and they didn’t always know about each other. Granted, the hours were a bit more “set” – I work in the performing arts and so being present at rehearsals and performances was part of my job, but honestly to me, this is no different. No one cared if I did a bit of work for the other during downtime or at rehearsals when active work wasn’t required. I would notify my employers IF scheduling situations arose that would impact one or the other, but since most stuff was in the evenings, my day job didn’t need to/care to know.

    As sad as it is, many, many, many people work two jobs in the hospitality, food, retail industries and no one bats an eye. It’s so common, it’s nearly expected. This is no less ethical than folks who do that.

    1. Don't Forget to Mute The Zoom*

      Did you ever work those two jobs on the same day at the same time? No one is suggesting you can’t have two jobs.

  84. Semi-similar to OP*

    This truly is fascinating and while I can understand people’s hesitations, I suppose I’m actually semi-doing this too. I have a FT corporate job with all of the benefits that’s fully remote but I’m also a majority owner with my husband in a local retail establishment. He runs the day-to-day operations that you have to be on site for but I do all of the back-end work and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sometime bleed into my day job when there is an urgent payroll, vendor, or banking issue that has to happen during business hours. So far, it hasn’t been an issue (coming up on 18 months in business). At first, my FT job had no idea about the business but now I’m pretty open about it, I just don’t think they understand how many hours I put in at my company. But I am waiting for the day when the alphabet agencies decide for a visit and then that’s going to be interesting as I am probably the only person who can handle that (or would be legally required to be involved).

    Questions for the OP — I am curious about the benefits though — are you on both health insurance plans? How to you manage maxing out on SS or 401k contributions? How do you manage your tax withholdings as it’s likely to put you into a different tax bracket?

    1. OP*

      I’m on neither insurance plan – am on my spouse’s. I get back excess SS at tax time, only contribute to one 401k, and have extra federal tax income withheld from both paychecks to avoid owing a lot in April.

  85. Emdash*

    I am surprised that neither employer or position has something in the fine print about side jobs or incomes or the like. Recently I have been interviewing for well-paying jobs at different organizations and nearly all asked me about other work contracts, revenue streams and obligations in certain fields. (I’m paraphrasing the wording here.) I guess I am just surprised at that pay level and that position that there is no stipulation about disclosing any type of information because corporations often have different ideas of “competitors” than employees.

    1. Emdash*

      “Conflict of interest” is the phrase I meant to use. I have been interviewing in Silicon Valley and I got asked lots of those questions—and the jobs are not at the 200k salary level.

  86. MCMonkeyBean*

    This is truly fascinating and I really appreciate the OP coming back with an update and interacting in the comments on an issue where some people are so strongly opposed!

    I honestly am not sure how I feel about it, personally. I think I still feel a little weird but I acknowledge that may not be reasonable. I guess the main bar is the performance reviews–as we’ve seen some letters from the other side where people attempted this and were very clearly not successful. I was pretty skeptical that anyone could really pull it off well but if both of your companies are satisfied with your work then I guess that’s really the ultimate deciding factor.

    I definitely think there is still some amount of risk as far as being “found out” (especially since it sounds like you are not really actively keeping it secret if you’ve told former coworkers) and I do think it’s likely to come up if you apply to other jobs in the future through background checks so you may find issues there–but I assume you are aware of all those risks and did your analysis and decided it was worth it to you anyway.

    Thanks again for sharing, OP, and good luck!

  87. Puzzled2219*

    There are really efficient people out there. They shouldn’t be required to only do one job because they get things done in half the time. I’m certainly not one of these people, but I have a ton of respect for the fact that we’re all different and this sort of upends corporate culture.

  88. maggie q*

    Both of my parents worked two jobs and they weren’t remote either, so I don’t see what the big whoop is about the LW’s situation. As long as they’re hitting targets, it’s none of the company’s business how LW makes ends meet (or more).

    1. catsoverpeople*

      Were your parents each clocked in at two jobs at the same time? Remote work is likely the only reason this is even possible.

  89. Amy*

    I’m curious what type of field you work in where you would be able to do this. I work in publishing, and while it’s a large industry it’s also one where everyone knows each other. Do you have to travel for your jobs, and if so what happens if you see people at a meeting/conference who you know through the job you’re not there representing?

    Also, because you’re a Director is your name listed on the company websites?

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