I thought the Mail was wrong to write an article recently condemning some police employees for having second jobs. It is quite common for people working shifts to have second jobs that they fit around the demands of their main occupation. Many in the fire brigade, or working for airlines do just the same. Those enterprising police who do something else supplement their family incomes. They pay more tax, making a larger contribution to society. They share their second skill or enthusiaism with the public, or they carry out tasks that need doing that do not prevent them being alert and good officers for the day job. If your main job is only 40 hours out of a 168 hour week you should have options for the remaining 128 hours.
Employees who do second jobs have made a decision about how they wish to spend their time that can best be understood if we use yesterday’s distinction between paid for work and unpaid for work. If a policeman wants to earn more so he has more help at home with the DIY or better holidays , who is to say he is wrong?
I assume those who disagree think that the second job takes up too much energy of the individual, limiting their ability to do their main job. This is something which the employer can best judge by looking at results. Employers should not control how employees use their time away from their work contract, other than to avoid conflicts of interest. Let us consider four different employees turning up for their day jobs to their private sector employer. (I am not now talking about the police).
Ruth has a second job. She has set up her own dog grooming and dog walking business. She takes on animals for care and treatment at week-ends and in the evenings to earn extra money and because she loves animals. She always arrives at her main employer’s premises on time at 9 am. She also leaves promptly at 5pm to get back to her home and her other life. She feels she needs to offer good value for money and hard work when she is at her employer’s, and has a good record as an employee. She is saving for a bigger house,, and has delayed having a family until she has the property she wants.
Christine is a single mother. She is also a good worker, but she often finds she has to ring in and say she cannot make it on time because the school run has delayed her, or because her young son needs to be taken to the doctors as he is sick. She finds juggling the demands of being a good mum and an employee are difficult. She always tries to make up any time lost for the employer, who is understanding.
Geoff is a single 55 year old who is no longer in the best of health. He finds it difficult to sleep at nights. He often stays up watching football or late night movies. He likes to drink beer to keep him company when watching the tv. The next morning he is often below his best when he gets up. He is regularly late in to work, though tends to stay on late for a bit of company. His employer is not happy with his work rate or achievement, but is concerned about unfair dismissal legislation so has not done anything.
George is an energetic 35 year old who can be a bit slapdash at work. He only does the job for the money, and is always talking and thinking about what he will do the minute he can get out of the workplace. He is busily building his own extension to his home. He rushes out at lunchtime to buy the materials he needs for the next week-end build. He also is a keen cyclist who likes to go off for long road runs. Sometimes when they are sponsored for charity he persuades the employer to let him go in firm’s time. He calls in sick some Mondays or Fridays, as he says he is giving himself a bad back from the building work he is doing.
The question I have today is who is the best and the worst employee? There are many excellent male employees, but in these examples I was more criticial of the men than the women in common with the modern style. Are second jobs always a bad idea, or can they be the sign of someone who is energetic and determined to do well? Is someone who spends a lot of his time on lesiure activities like watching sport and drinking necessarily going to be in better shape to tackle the challenges of the working day? Have you got some more types to introduce to liven up the discussion? (No named real people please)