back to article CEO told to die in a car crash after firing engineers who had two full-time jobs

A boss lit a small fire under LinkedIn when he posted that his company had sacked two recently hired engineers for continuing to work a full-time job at another company. The COVID-19 pandemic brought a seismic shift to the workplace as office workers were encouraged to perform their roles from home in order to limit the spread …

  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Judge on results, not appearances

    If people can deliver the results required of them (including confidentiality) while also working elsewhere, none of the companies they are working for has any cause for complaint.

    1. Dave K

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      It's a difficult one. Like you say, if someone is doing everything expected of them and in good time, then the company has no cause for complaint IMO. However when it results in people regularly missing important meetings, being slow to react or unavailable when required, it becomes more of an issue as the double-job aspect is harming performance.

      Rather than complaining about stealing or crap like that, this CEO should be talking about performance. If holding down two jobs is negatively affecting performance, by all means fire the engineers. But don't do it "just because" they have a second job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        - Camera off in meetings

        - Slow responses over Slack or email

        - Frequently late or absent from meetings

        Sound like me these days, too damn busy with my 1 job and damn outlook notifies me of a (missed) meeting hours after it happened, if it decides to notify me in the first place.

        Slow slack or emails, sorry, I'm working, I will get to it soon.

        Camera off in meetings, I might be a mess, place might be a mess and teams in linux is shite and doesn't blur backgrounds.

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          No one on my team uses their camera except the new boy and he'll have figured it out by the time we hire a new new boy.

          1. Plest Silver badge

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            I see no issue with having a camera on, it helps you to know if you're co-workers are doing OK. I happen to care about quite a lot of my co-workers, they may not be my friends but they're valued co-workers, human beings and a little compassion for them is the right thing to do.

            Also having a camera on means you at least need to shower, comb your hair and have a shave, that puts you in a bit of more a working mood. I'm someone who wears death metal or coding tech t-shirts most of the time, I have very long hair but I make sure I shower each day, I wash my hair and tie it back to present a professional image while I'm in meetings from home. 9 times out of 10 I will put on my camera so people can see me, make sure I'm alright and see my face while I speak.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              If I'm WFH on a creative streak - then ablutions, dressing, proper meals, and sleep take second place. They get attended to when I come to a "natural break" - and then allow my mind to wander off the tramlines for new insights That's the creative productivity of WFH - albeit not necessarily good for your long term health.

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              Also having a camera on means you at least need to shower, comb your hair and have a shave, that puts you in a bit of more a working mood.

              Perhaps that's what it means to you. I'm in meetings every day where most participants have the camera on (though if someone leaves it off, no one hassles them), and none of us are concerned about shaving and the like beforehand.

              It's a cultural thing, and cultures differ among organizations. Here camera use is casual, and when we have them on, it's generally because we all know one another (even when we've never been in the same place physically) and are collegial. I wouldn't particularly mind getting polished for videoconferences myself, but due to time differences my meetings are often 7AM or earlier local time, and I prefer not to disturb my wife's sleep.

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                >my meetings are often 7AM or earlier local time, and I prefer not to disturb my wife's sleep.

                Going back to circa 2000, I was WFH on a webcam/livestream application, I had left the system running overnight in the kitchen for some latency testing... partner was not amused when they went into the kitchen in the middle of the night to get a glass of water wearing not a lot and after filling her glass turned around and faced the camera...

                So camera off can be face-saving for those not expecting to find you in a meeting...

            3. Not Yb

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              "Also having a camera on means you at least need to shower, comb your hair and have a shave, that puts you in a bit of more a working mood."

              This is ableist, and also incorrect. Insisting that everyone needs to shower, shave (what, no women?), and comb hair? No... you're just assuming people are not "OK" if you can't see them, or if they don't look your definition of presentable. This is not showing "care", it's "control".

              1. Richmond Avenal

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                I have a beard.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          Camera off in meetings, I might be a mess, place might be a mess and teams in linux is shite

          Fixed it for you.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            Teams is shite, yup. MS had no idea what it should be so they just slapped everything on "the feature list"(TM) and no-one cared if it actually works. Actually good chat programs has existed since Irc II, from 1980s(!), but NIH is strong and they failed, badly.

            Also, if you're working from home, you better to have at least 10Mbps upload speed if you even imagine to have camera on during teams/slack/whatever. Naturally corporation doesn't pay for that, but they *still* whine about camera not being on.

            1. DJV Silver badge

              Buffering.....

              Of course, if there is a "camera on" policy and you really don't want to show your face/house or be involved at all, then there are always ways and means to achieve this without it appearing to be your "fault"!

              https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-purposely-slow-down-the-Internet-connection-for-everyone-in-my-house-discreetly

            2. aks

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              images don't need to be 24 fps etc, slow scan every 2 seconds will use very little bandwidth. otherwise, reduce the resolution as youtube does.

              1. Glenn Amspaugh

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                We need a router on the moon so there can be a 2-1/2 second delay in meetings.

            3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              Thanks for that, it'll be my excuse if they ever whine about the camera not being on. I'm not boosting my connection unless they want to pay for it, and I'm not working from the office over a camera. I'll quit first, as my bandwidth is sufficient to do the job and there's no reason they need to see my face as long as my numbers are being met.

            4. David Pearce

              International traffic

              A Teams meeting for me that includes people outside my office, but still in Malaysia, is usually hosted by a server in Japan or the USA. This leads to horrible packet loss and latency

          2. parlei

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            Well, I would say teams is even *more* shite in linux.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          I've never turned on my camera in Teams, I didn't start with Covid, and I still don't. I have no idea what having the laptop nosecam on has to do with productivity. This is just a simple case of adjusting their expectations.

        4. Rattus

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          I could not agree more.

          - Camera off in meetings

          (a) It is normal for me to turn off (and ask others) to turn off their cameras because the company has insufficient bandwidth to handle the video traffic. It barley manages to handle the audio as well....

          (b) turning the camera off (and Mic) does mean that I can get on with the tasks that I was allocated in the last meeting and will be asked for progress on in the next meeting...

          - Slow responses over Slack or email

          (a) email is like snail mail - I poll it perhaps once a day. If you want me more urgently than that that is what the phone is for.

          (b) I agree with you, if you have time to be browsing email and slack then you probably have enough time to hold down another job as well :-)

          - Frequently late or absent from meetings

          (a) Absent - yes. I have stopped attending meetings without an agenda.

          I pick and choose the discussions and seminars based on if my presence will make a difference.

          I will not attend an unminuted meeting

          (b) late for meetings no.

          If I have accepted a meeting invite I turn up on time and prepared for the meeting.

          It really pisses me off when attendees haven't done their homework and attend a meeting 'blind', and you spend the entire meeting discussing the pros and cons of something that we were supposed to decide there and then.

          I once had an MD who had a timer that ticked with average salary of and multiplied by the number of people in the room. it had 2 displays, 1 total spend (starting at start time of meeting) so we knew how much being late cost, as well as the total cost of the meeting. It also recorded the cost of each item in the agenda.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            -- that is what the phone is for. --

            This seems to indicate the presence of heresy! Phones being used to achieve voice communication will not be tolerated in this day. Use it to:

            1. send an email

            2. update facebook

            3. watch a movie

            but never make a phone call.

            1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              The great thing about far fewer people using phones as phones is a huge reduction of the 'I'm on the train' calls.

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              never make a phone call

              What, and starve? Around here, that's the only way to order takeaway, if you want it to be ready in a decent amount of time after you arrive to pick it up.

              (Some area restaurants have some ancient website built by one of those "we create websites for restaurants!" companies that features the menu in a barely-readable form, a phone number for the restaurant, and information about open hours which probably wasn't correct even when the site was created 15 years ago. I don't believe any of them have online ordering, and I wouldn't trust it if they did.)

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                never make a phone call

                I don't "do" "Text". I can exchange all the information needed in a >5min phone call with one of my clients. I can also be doing other things while I talk to them such as looking up information that might be relevant. Texting the same interaction takes a half hour and I can't be doing anything else. I also don't like that very short written statements can often be taken the wrong way depending on moods. Comms for me are voice or email. I check my email throughout the day and if somebody calls to tell me they've emailed me something I need to look at, I'll look at it straight away. Virtual meetings with video would just eat my bandwidth and, fortunately, they aren't useful in my line of work.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            "If I have accepted a meeting invite I turn up on time and prepared for the meeting."

            If I have accepted issued a meeting invite I turn up on time and prepared for the meeting.

            FTFY

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Reframing

        This whole thing is being spun hard.

        In truth, the people that this CEO started a shitstorm over were flagged for slacking at their jobs bad enough to be fired, regardless of side work. The HR sphere latched onto this idea and sold it to management as one of the Boogey men of remote work. Predatory management has been using this as at tool to control their workforce and hold down payroll, often keeping a trapped workforce below the poverty line.

        Don't get distracted. Yes, if someone clocks in and mentally checks out, they may be fired with cause. Doing that to multiple companies at once is not magically different, other then potentially adding a second count of fraud to the docket. There is one crime, not doing the job you are being paid for.

        If circumstance compels you to make the terrible sacrifice of working two jobs at once, that's your business in most cases. You will probably get burned out, and might take years off your life. But in most cases that should be your choice alone. Issues like working for the competitor of another business or other conflicts of interest are a separate concern, but this is being trotted around as blanket justification in many companies to either ban outside work or demand workers give up their rights and agree to exclusive employment, or get permission from the employer(blanket denials as standard policy, unless you are kissing the right backsides).

        Exclusive employment where their primary employer isn't necessarily paying a living wage is exactly why most people aren't telling their bosses that they are are working multiple jobs. Because they know they are more likely to get their pay or benefits cut, miss out on promotions, or be summarily fired for even discussing it. Also while this specific case was about two full time jobs, the same predatory policies are being applied to even part time work, and work outside the business areas of the primary employer.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: Reframing

          I agree with the majority of your argument but downvoted for

          -- below the poverty line. --

          and

          -- isn't necessarily paying a living wage --

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Justthefacts Silver badge

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      This is BS for a simple reason, unpacking that “if”.

      In *most* jobs, that “if” is flatly impossible. Try teaching two classes of children at the same time, working on two construction sites at the same time or being a barrister in two courts at the same time.

      So this isn’t about those jobs, it’s rather specifically about software-type jobs, where productivity is both difficult to assess and varies staggeringly widely. We’ve all heard about the 10x productivity engineer, and there aren’t many of them. But the reality of the job, without making any moral judgement is that there are a lot of 0.3x productivity engineers. That’s very much within normal statistical bounds, and still employable. Try being a 0.3x productivity teacher and see how long you last.

      Sorry to disillusion you, salaries aren’t set by“fair days work for a fair days pay”, it’s roughly “total output of company minus profit, divided by staff”. So when you see a “market rate for the job” of £50k, that’s not for a 1x engineer. That’s *mostly* paying the 3x engineers, with the 0.3x guys along for the ride. Theres just no way a UK company could afford to pay current market rate if all they had was 1x engineers.

      That approach *does work* in theory, and is in operation today. It’s how the software job market in India works. There’s lots of 0.3x guys, and a few 3x guys, but there it’s considered perfectly normal for the 3x guys to work 3 jobs. Nothing wrong with it. And the local market rate exactly matches that culture. Indian engineer “market rate” is half ours mostly because of that one fact. That’s what makes the numbers add up.

      So, if you want a culture of being allowed to work two jobs, be careful of what you wish for. All you are voting for is a jobs market where the salary in each job is half what it is today. And further caution - you *think* you’re the 2x guy. But most people who think that are wrong, for exactly the same reason management can’t really tell who is productive your own estimate is wildly inaccurate. Most people voting for two-jobs culture are actually voting for large total wage *cuts* for themselves, they just don’t realise it.

      Another example: how often have you heard the trope from the USA “single mom worked hard to raise me, had three jobs”. I’m not beating on that single mom,it’s just the reality of life in some parts. But what do you think those jobs *are*? Do you think she has a high standard of living, working three jobs and probably 90hours+ per week. No. Go figure out why.

      1. disgruntled yank

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "Try being a 0.3x productivity teacher and see how long you last."

        Until the retirement party, in some cases. I can think of one elementary school teacher who might have been an 0.11x productivity teacher at most, i.e. conveying about a month's worth of material in the course of a nine-month school year.

        The USA is probably a bit of an outlier here, but the line "Oh, I shouldn't try to teach them anything yet. Just keep them quiet." is from Evelyn Waugh's first novel.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          The teaching landscape in the US is all about getting the students to pass the standardized tests- no more, no less.

          I have a rant around here somewhere, or at least my (retired) mother does- she used to teach kindergarten until the shenanigans with the school administration forced her out on disability.

          1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            Standardized testing isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it's how the Japanese do things. Students must pass a standardized test to move on, and that was the idea behind America going in that direction. Unfortunately, America didn't do the rest of it, ie foster a pro-education, competitive mindset to go along with it. US schools are dominated by sports competition, not education competition. And, the teacher's unions did not like the idea of being held accountable for actually teaching which is why the teachers are given the test at the start of the school year. Instead, the students should be told that they will be expected to pass the test if they want to stay in school and not be relegated to manual labor all their lives (with a course in manual labor so they know what it entails) and the teachers should be given the textbook for their class, and told this is what the test covers. The Japanese make it work, the US should be able to. Parents ahould receive biweekly reports from the teaxher saying what the student is weak on so the pare ts can deal with it immediately. Sports programs should be eliminated completely, replaced with physical training only. If the parents want their kids in a competitive sports program, they can fund it outside of school.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              "Instead, the students should be told that they will be expected to pass the test if they want to stay in school and not be relegated to manual labor all their lives"

              With the abolition of holding children back a grade in the US if they don't meet expectations, the school system lost their only stick. They can't simply boot the kids out until they are a certain age. They might be able to shunt them to St Brutus' School for Incurably Criminal Boys for being naughty more than stupid (or both). Being in school wasn't the highlight of my life and if I weren't there, I'd see all my friends when they got out since they all lived close by. Being held back a year would have been something I'd work very hard to not have happen. Being sent to "that other school" on the short bus would have been really bad.

              I agree that teachers should be given a standard the children should be at before the tests are given but not the test itself. It's too tempting to teach for the test rather than the subject.

        2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          Or better still watch Ghostbuster Afterlife and watch the summer school teacher.

      2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        it’s rather specifically about software-type jobs, where productivity is both difficult to assess and varies staggeringly widely

        While the article is about software jobs, that isn't where productivity is hardest to assess.

        For example, I did time in business development, and also in marketing - both in highly technical companies, as a highly technical engineer myself. In both cases, no one else could really tell if I was doing a good job or not.

        I am confident I was doing a good job - and everyone seemed appreciative. But they really had no way to know.

        I saw some very tough sales managers - they micro-managed their sales people, wanting to know where they were all the time and if it was more than 25% in the office or less than 75% with a customer (or more than 0% pretty much anywhere else!) they would get a roasting. Even the ones who exceeded quota were closely managed (and got a higher quota next year!). But I, as bus-dev and some sales-support, didn't work for the sales manager and didn't need to be in front of customers all the time. As long as my sales colleagues made it clear they found me useful no one really knew what I was doing. Sometimes I was with customers, some times I was researching trends of customer needs, some times I was writing proposals, some times I was writing pieces for analysts or marketing, etc.

        Even more true when I was in marketing. As long as I produced the things they "expected" from marketing (decent slides, a few great one-liners of benefits, some things to belittle our competitors, a stream of white papers, articles, analyst reports, videos, etc for them to send to their customers) they had no idea. I didn't even have to produce leads (we were a highly technical company in a small market - our sales people knew all our customers well and knew what opportunities were arising)!

        I could probably have done two jobs in both of those roles without anyone knowing. But why bother?

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          Sound like I do some similar stuff to you, and it's the same thing it's hard to get a hard metric, but generally I am considered useful even if there is no way to really put a number to it for meetings.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            I've always had a side hustle. I write books and tuition courses and I do this evenings and weekends.

            In the daytime I poke keys on a keyboard in response to what I see on a screen.

        2. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          I agree with that….particularly business development is seriously hard to quantify, and effectiveness probably even more wildly variable. I think the same principle applies. I can’t see any business surviving very long, where the people driving the forward income are only working half as hard as they can, because it’s “sufficient”, while paying full market salaries. Doesn’t mean everyone has to work to burnout.

      3. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "In *most* jobs, that “if” is flatly impossible. Try teaching two classes of children at the same time, working on two construction sites at the same time or being a barrister in two courts at the same time."

        That's only true if you're assuming both jobs *must* run concurrently. OTOH, it could be entirely feasible for a teacher to be in the classroom every day, whilst also being present in some other classroom (physical or virtual) in the evening/overnight teaching local night classes or doing remote daytime classes for pupils in another timezone.

        Similarly, your construction worker could be putting in a day shift on one site before wandering across town for an evening shift on another site. Night courts are also a thing in some parts of the world, so your barrister may also be able to flit between day and night jobs...

        There may well be legal restrictions on how much time someone is *supposed* to be spending at work each day (though if you're desperate enough to want/need to work two jobs, then what's a bit of rule-bending between friends, eh), and obviously there's a hard limit on how many hours any of us can work each day, but there aren't really all that many jobs where the nature of the job means it's genuinely impossible to someone to at least attempt to hold down two such jobs at the same time.

        And of course, there's also the option of taking a second job which has nothing to do with your first one, if that's what's required to avoid any completely unavoidable time/location clashes between the two jobs - the discussion here isn't about whether or not someone could hold down two *identical* jobs, just whether working two jobs should be something either employer needs to stick their noses into if their performance in either role isn't suffering (and assuming other issues such as anti-compete clauses, work/rest time legislation etc. which may impose restrictions on a worker regardless of how well/badly the job might be getting done, don't also need to be taken into account by either employer).

        So whilst it might not be possible for *everyone* to try to hold down two full time jobs, it's really not BS to suggest it's a more widely available option than merely to those people employed in roles where they might have a fighting chance of performing the same role for two different employers at the same time.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          Good point about concurrent jobs, one after the other is not uncommon. However, I don't think this topic is really about someone who does a day job and an evening job, more that someone is doing two full time jobs concurrently.

          I also think a lot of the issue is around semantics and a lot of the rest is the hours.

          If a job is a "full time job" then it really shouldn't be possible to do two of them. Because if it's a full time job therefore it should take up all of your time. If, on the other hand, your job has so much down time in the allotted period then why not fill it with something productive? But this does require flexibility as noted elsewhere, they'd need to be there for meetings and calls and not unresponsive for many hours at a time - that's not doing their job as expected.

          Doing two full time jobs one after the hour is, in theory, possible, but there are only 24 hours in a day and doing two 8 hour jobs one after another leaves no time for anything other than 8 hours sleep as well. That's doable for a short period but not continually.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            Some jobs are task/results oriented.

            job 1) "I need you to write this software and deliver it in 12 months"

            job 2) "I need you to manage this project and deliver it in 12 months"

            The expectation is each of those will take 12 months, but maybe management is incompetant at labour estimation and in fact they'd each only require 9 months of 40 hour weeks. Someone with limited social life (/em raises hand) could complete both tasks working 60 hour weeks. Hell, a 60 hour week isn't even that big of a week, and I'd certainly do it for the odd-year for a suitable amount of money, which being paid in full for 2 different jobs qualifies as.

            If I have a delivery date of X, but I complete it in 1/2 the time, as a non-profit-sharing employee, I'm not going to tell the boss it's done. I'll park it until the due date then present the completed task on that due date.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              The problem is, most of us have integrity.

              1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                The problem is that requirements change every few weeks, so the work is never completed.

              2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                Whether an employee would be significantly rewarded for having 2X productivity over the company norm or not depends on the company. If the company's management had "integrity", that employee would be significantly rewarded. My guess is most companies don't do that.

              3. eldakka Silver badge

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                > The problem is, most of us have integrity.

                If I'm given a chunk of work to get done in time X, how is completing it in time X lacking integrity?

                I am following the requirements given.

            2. Snowy Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              Contract it out somewhere cheap with delivery in 6 months, check the code in the other 6 months (you could also contract this out too)

              1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                And half way through that project you find that you haven't started yet but have only 6 months to deliver.

                What's your next move, Einstein?

              2. Cederic Silver badge

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                You mean like Bob?

                https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/16/software-developer-outsources-own-job

            3. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              But if you are being paid by each company to work for them from 8-5 and you are performing tasks for both then that is unethical at the very least.

              All companies have stipulations that any software developed by you, the employee, during working hours belongs to them. So, you are being paid by company 2 for 8 hours work, while you are developing software for company 1, company 2 could say it has, and most likely does have, rights to the software you are creating? Do you see the delema?

              I don't think any company cares nowadays if you have a side job. As long as your not actively performing that job during your paid work hours. (Yes, we've all done it and if it's not interfering then I really don't think anyone will care).

              In your example, Job 1 should really have been a contract gig. Then the "conflict of interest" no longer applies.

              We once had lady who was employed as an office manager at one of our construction sites. She was also at the time running her own business. She was spending at least 50% of her time dealing with her business. She was not unproductive in the job she was hired for. When the company found out, we sacked her! She was exceedingly shocked by that fact! I do wonder sometimes how people can be so absolutely clueless!

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          "Similarly, your construction worker could be putting in a day shift on one site before wandering across town for an evening shift on another site. Night courts are also a thing in some parts of the world, so your barrister may also be able to flit between day and night jobs..."

          When do they sleep?

          1. stiine Silver badge

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            Well, if they're like me when I was in my 20's I only slept on Saturday (24 hours) and Sunday (16 hours). That got old after about 6 years.

          2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            at their 3rd job: testing mattresses

            1. Roj Blake Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              The third job testing mattresses was a Judge Dredd plot many years ago

          3. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            Construction workers…well that would be remarkably dumb, on two counts.

            Construction workers mostly work lots of overtime at time-and-a-half. Swapping that for standard rate on a second job would be nuts. If you include the per diem for a remote on-site (which you can’t do two jobs), you bring home as much working 10-11 hours a day single job, as 16 hours split across two jobs.

            1. ChrisC Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              I wasn't trying to suggest it would be a *sensible* thing for someone to do, merely responding to the other comment about how it wouldn't be possible *at all* for jobs like that...

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              "Construction workers mostly work lots of overtime at time-and-a-half. Swapping that for standard rate on a second job would be nuts."

              What if that second job was more of a paid apprentice thing? You might go from swinging a hammer putting up walls by to getting your stone mason qualifications to work on listed properties (that's a job that can pay a few bills and buy a home in the Cotswolds). The second job might not pay time and a half, but in some years it could pay 4x.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          "So whilst it might not be possible for *everyone* to try to hold down two full time jobs, it's really not BS to suggest it's a more widely available option than merely to those people employed in roles where they might have a fighting chance of performing the same role for two different employers at the same time."

          I've had a job where they needed somebody with a certain set of skills available on call more than doing something the entire shift. I remember one time I was loaded up with tasks to fill my work day until it left me out of position to respond to an issue in the time required doing what I was hired to do. Why would it be a problem for me to be doing another job that could be dropped and resumed at a moments notice? I've also had part time evening jobs and a full time day job a couple of times. Beyond official jobs, I've always had some sort of side hustle going. They didn't always pay very, but just pretending was close enough to a real job and I got to meet most of the men that have walked on the moon from one of those jobs.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        Meanwhile, Freelancers with 6+ clients are wondering what the fuck all the permies are arguing over.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          You could do the same thing as a contractor with multiple clients if you're working remotely. Bill them for x hours of work per week when you're only working x/2 hours. That's effectively what someone getting paid for two full time jobs while working only the nominal 40 hours per week in total is doing.

          Would you say a contractor turning in a timesheet claiming they worked 8 hours that day when they only worked 4 is committing fraud? How is that different from someone getting paid by an employer expecting them to work 40 hours a week when they only work 20?

          1. Mr. Flibble

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            Oracle did that shit all the time... Log in to fix a problem, and then the session just sat there doing nothing for hours, got billed for the whole day....

            1. Tomato42
              Unhappy

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              Well, if everybody does unethical things, everybody loses.

              But good luck stopping corpos from doing unethical things...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            "Would you say a contractor turning in a timesheet claiming they worked 8 hours that day when they only worked 4 is committing fraud?"

            Depends. Some clients insist on hourly billing even though hourly billing isn't appropriate.

            Some people bill a fixed monthly amount (based on an hourly rate) and the time commitment goes up and down. So for example, March, April, May might be really fucking busy, but June, July and August might be dead.

            Billing this way helps both the contractor remain financially stable and the client as it smooths out the peaks and troughs so nobody has a cashflow problem.

          3. joepie91

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            It's actually very common for freelancers to bill a day rate, regardless of whether the full day was worked for the client. Which would result in basically this.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            How is that different from someone getting paid by an employer expecting them to work 60 hours a week when they only work 40?

      5. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        Sorry to disillusion you, salaries aren’t set by“fair days work for a fair days pay”, it’s roughly “total output of company minus profit, divided by staff”.

        I've never met a company which determined salaries by working out how much it could afford to pay in total, then divvying it up, even if that resulted in paying more or less than similar companies.

        It's actually quite the opposite: profits are "total output of company minus staff (and other) costs" and staff costs are externally driven.

        1. Justthefacts Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          I know why you think staff costs are externally driven (“salary market rate”), but that isn’t my experience.

          Very profitable companies, and growth companies are irrationally exuberant. They may not even have HR departments, and even if they do the hiring manager just decides to pay what is necessary to get someone on board. They persuade themselves they need a Director when actually what everyone else calls a Senior Engineer can do it….and then pay a director salary to someone with 5yrs coding experience. Graduate Engineers are paid as Consultants. They are glorious and insane.

          Low-margin or loss making companies are miserable. Endlessly paying well below market rate, high staff turnover, always lots of blame to go round, and don’t think you’ll ever get more than 2% pay raise. Those companies are just as irrational: a seconds thought shows that the problem with a company at 3% profit margin isn’t paying engineers a couple % too much. It’s having appalling productivity and bad products- so you’d want to hire better engineers, pay them more, and not have them grumpily do six months work for a years salary clock-watching.

          So, no, in fact I don’t think salaries are externally set.

      6. iron Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        You could be a teacher and a lady / man of the night with no issue.

        You could be a barrister and a YouTube influencer at the same time.

        You could be a surgeon and a Twitch... whatever they call people on Twitch.

        Ans so on.

        Why would you assume the second job is the same as the first?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          Because most people are only good at one job, so they get two people to pay them to do the same thing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            but when you are bad at your CEO jobs, like EM?

            1. Robert Grant Silver badge

              Re: Judge on results, not appearances

              You say, "Who launched electric cars globally by making them and dragging all the other car companies along for the ride?"

              1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                Re: Judge on results, not appearances

                The answer to the second part of your question is "the green looneys" who conned the various governments to make it law.

        2. The Axe

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          Not sure about the teacher/person of the night case, but the Blackbelt Barrister is a real barrister and has a successful YouTube channel. As for the surgeon and Twitch/Twatter there are loads of them on Twitter.

        3. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          You can do two jobs of whatever kinds you want. The problem comes when you try to do those jobs simultaneously. If my surgeon tries to Twitch-stream my surgery, there will be a privacy complaint. If my surgeon tries to play a game for Twitch while performing surgery, there will be a what were you thinking complaint. If my surgeon wants to do Twitch things before coming into the OR and misses the surgery window so everyone gets pushed back, the hospital will have problems with patients who didn't get care. If the surgeon wants to do Twitch things before their shift begins, all is fine.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "Try teaching two classes of children at the same time"

        In the UK - in village schools with a small roll of pupils - it is not unusual for a teacher to have a class containing several year form ages.

      8. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "[...] or being a barrister in two courts at the same time."

        One of the complaints of members of the legal profession is that they are expected to be in several courts serially on the same day. Any delay due to an overrun in one of their cases incurs the wrath of the judge in their next scheduled one.

        Doing two IT jobs at the same time is a similar time-sharing scheduling task.

      9. Not Yb

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        If you've got a whole bunch of "0.3x engineers", what you've actually got are "unrealistic expectations", and possibly "something new that no one has tried before" and/or "bad management who doesn't understand how to assign tasks properly".

        Engineering is not as easy as it looks, and never has been. Considering them to be less of a person because they're not as fast as the engineer who is likely heading for depression and burn out is a bit telling.

      10. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "or being a barrister in two courts at the same time."

        There's no way to be in two courts at the same time, but having multiple cases going on at the same time can be very similar to having multiple jobs. Many attorneys are paid in relation to what sort of revenue they are bringing in so it's more like commission until they get a partnership and they it's more like multi-level marketing where they get a piece of everything their juniors bring in.

    4. Triggerfish

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      True, but as devils advocate (I'm actually sorta on the fence TBH) then there is the thought of this.

      If they want to work two jobs I'll pay them the rate, but they are now a contractor so they can offer their work out. Insurance, benefits, paid time off are now longer a problem.

      If they are that good they are doing there work in half the time, maybe I should give them enough tasks to justify paying a full time wage.

      Maybe I should get rid of some staff because there's obviously more staff than capacity.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        Managers have* a minimum acceptable output from staff, if they can't reach that level sack them (fair enough), above that level if they can plough through more work then reward the effort because keeping them is good for the business.

        Just piling on more tasks won't produce a good outcome for the business long term because they'll either leave or slow down the work rate.

        Most people can spot when they're working for free and respond well when they feel appreciated.

        *measured or just gut feeling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          "Just piling on more tasks won't produce a good outcome for the business long term because they'll either leave or slow down the work rate."

          Any idiot can understand that. But corporations are dumber than idiots, they aren't able to do that.

          It's literally "Why hire two people whan we can make one person to do the work of two?" Every time.

          You see, beancounters can never understand quality, they understand only the beans: Dollars are all the same.

    5. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      "If people can deliver the results required of them (including confidentiality) while also working elsewhere, none of the companies they are working for has any cause for complaint."

      Absolutely. And if they had done that, they wouldn't have been caught. But in fact this article is about fraudsters pretending to do two jobs while actually doing neither.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      If you get paid to work from 9-5, and you work for someone else any time between 9-5, then you're comitting fraud. Now, if you want to work from 8-4 and then 5-1am, I don't care, you'll either perform, and continue to be employed, or fail to perform and lose one of your jobs.

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        Do you browse El Reg, Faecesbook, Twatter, Instashite or such on company time? If so, you're committing fraud.

        Made a personal call on business time? Fraud.

        Taken a pen home? Fraud.

        How many of these companies try to add something like "If you come up with an invention while working for us, we own it" in their employment contracts? They pay you for 8 hours, but want ownership of your thoughts for the other 16 as well. Fuck them. If you can do it back to them, do it.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Judge on results, not appearances

          There is a difference between not being 100% focused solely on work activities and working for someone else while pretending to work for your employer. Even so, if you spend four of your eight hours not doing any work, and you consistently do this, the chances are high that someone will notice and become unhappy with you. There are exceptions where you're really that efficient, and if nobody notices then have fun with it, but you are probably not in that and you can attempt it at your own risk.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Judge on results, not appearances

            That hasn't been my experience. Out of a 40 hour workweek my boss gets roughly 10 hours of work, if he's lucky. I conciously faff off 30 hours a week, but I meet my shockingly low production requirements to stay employed.

            In fact, I'm faffing off right now. Before my shift ends this morning I plan to spend about 4 hours on a book I'm writing, while I'm on the clock. And yet, my performance reviews are always stellar and I regularly get attaboy points. I have close to £2000 worth of attaboy points put back now and cash them in every time I hit the tonne mark The main thing I have to do is wiggle my mouse every 5 minutes to reset the activity timer.

            Anon, because I wish this state of affairs to continue.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "If you get paid to work from 9-5"

        If, indeed. Most people get paid to work from 9 to 1 and the rest is free work for the company. Yet corporations whine a lot if you do something else from 1 to 5 and don't do the unpaid work.

        Funny, isn't it?

    7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      I think he did.

      They didn't appear to be handling both (full time) jobs together.

      TBH a lot of the companies I've worked with are stunningly badly automated.

      Endless cube trolls cutting and posting stuff from one system to another all day long because management could not give a s**t

      What's the f**king point of making humans pretend to be poor quality robots when you could make the computers work like good quality robots to handle the stupid, repetious s**twork.

      Anyone who started around unix systems and knows how you could stich apps together learned to despise MS a long time ago.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        I once got fired from that kind of a job because I made the fatal mistake of wondering aloud if I could automate pulling numbers in from a website into Excel. In front of the old lady whose job it was to do that cut-and-paste. 3 behind-my-back complaints to HR later and my temp contract was terminated. That was one hard lesson for my tactless teenage self.

        In a following job, I did exactly that and trebled the output of an overworked team. Earned much kudos from my team-mates (who now had breathing space) and the manager.

    8. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      > If people can deliver the results required of them (including confidentiality) while also working elsewhere, none of the companies they are working for has any cause for complaint.

      That's true, as long as the company is aware this is happening and has signed up for it. Companies hire full-time employees not just to do a fixed piece of work, but to have an ongoing person who will get stuff done and think about how to improve things. Otherwise we'd just have contractors for everything.

      1. Mr. Flibble

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        I'm sure contractors can also improve stuff.

        I do so myself from time to time.... Most of it falls on deaf ears and they're still doing easily-automateable shit when im asked back again to do similar stuff, and I'm like... 'What? You're still doing it that way???'

        <sigh>

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      If people can deliver the results required of them (including confidentiality) while also working elsewhere, none of the companies they are working for has any cause for complaint.

      We would fail security and compliance audits in a ginormous fashion, so we WOULD have cause for complaint.

      I'm also not convinced you can give your best if you have mixed loyalties. Granted, if a company underpays you, you maybe do not have a choice and in that case I'd say the company got what it deserved, but if a job pays well I wonder why you should even take the risk.

      IMHO, of course.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "I'm also not convinced you can give your best if you have mixed loyalties"

        Loyalties? To a corporation? Are you nuts? There's no company which has *any loyalty to you*. And that's the level you should have to the company. No more, no less.

        You are literally paid because corporation didn't find anyone doing your job cheaper than you do it and if they find one, they'll throw you out at the same day. Anyone having loyalty to a company is either dumb or dangerously naive. Sorry about that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        "I'm also not convinced you can give your best if you have mixed loyalties."

        I'm convinced you are the boss in the woodpile. Any employee should be exactly as loyal to his comoany as his company is to him. We no longer live in a time where you can take a job sweeping a dock at 16 and be comoany President by 66, we now live in a time where you are an interchangeable nameless cog in a machine with zero hope of progressing beyond lower management unless you knew the right people from school. And if you knew the right people, you start as a director or VP. No, my loyalty to my company is for sale to the highest bidder, and my current company must buy my loyalty twice a month. If someone else comes along willing to pay a rate high enough to leave my comfort zone, down the road I go.

    10. aerogems Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      Agreed. If someone is hired to produce 20 widgets a day, which takes most people 8 hours, but this person can do in 4 with no loss in quality... I say give them the extra 4 hours off paid as a reward for being efficient. They fulfilled their end of the contract and it's not their fault they can do things twice as fast as everyone else.

      Once upon a time I worked in the warehouse of a now defunct retailer repairing Apple desktops and laptops that came in and the techs at the store couldn't handle--which was most of them. Apple one time literally accused me of allowing multiple people to do repairs under my account because my metrics were so far above the norm. My managers and I had a good laugh about that one later. They knew that I was the one going around pointing out when store techs were doing unauthorized repairs and pulling other stunts that could jeopardize the contract with Apple. And had Apple bothered to dig a little deeper the reason for my metrics being so high would be obvious. Namely I had a seemingly never ending supply of units coming in so there was essentially no downtime between finishing one unit and starting on the next. The rest is just the experience that comes with doing the same set of repairs a few hundred times. You get pretty good at it with that much practice, and you know when the official repair guide includes a bunch of bullshit steps.

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: Judge on results, not appearances

        Agreed. If someone is hired to produce 20 widgets a day, which takes most people 8 hours, but this person can do in 4 with no loss in quality... I say give them the extra 4 hours off paid as a reward for being efficient. They fulfilled their end of the contract and it's not their fault they can do things twice as fast as everyone else.

        In reality they would be told to produce 40 widgets in an 8 hour a day, and someone else who only produced 20 would be sacked.

    11. jasper pepper

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      Fine until you have to deal with a crisis, or even worse simultaneous crisis on different jobs. Of course, it should never happen because you are good at your job... but shit happens, does it not?

    12. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      I believe you are missing a small point here. Go back in time and people were often paid for results (eg I'll pay you £x for each hundredweight of coal you bring up). That approach frequently led to fluctuation in supply and led to a switch to pay for hours attended/worked.

      So if these people are being paid for results I would have no problem with your post. However, I suspect that a lot of people (including management) would no longer be working since they are not delivering the results contracted for.

      If the people are being paid for attendance/working I have major problems with your post. I'll leave it to you to guess what. I'll give you a clue. If I order a pound of apple I except to receive a pound of apples not half a pound. How about you?

    13. AmyInNH

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      Not okay: "Frequently late or absent from meetings"

      Furthermore, quite a few weasels are offshoring their "second" job - low quality work, which is enough to fire them.

    14. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Judge on results, not appearances

      I've always worked with the expectation that from time to time extra hours will be required and TOIL or extra money will be provided for work above and beyond the normal hours. I think it would be dumb to risk the possibility of both jobs requiring those extra hours simultaneously causing massive problems for you and your employers.

      Having said that I think the idea of basically turning yourself into a zero hour contractor will only result in further collapse in management capabilities and hence your dreams of big money,

  2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    If he'd stuck to just saying it was a conflict of interest, he'd have a point. Even saying that it would impact their performance would be a point. "Stealing time" is stupid.

    1. Sam not the Viking Silver badge

      A manager who doesn't know what his staff are doing or doesn't ensure they are pursuing an ongoing task is one who represents an immediate cost-saving.

      1. fandom

        Could it be why the statement says

        "Their early performance was really bad, and fortunately we have great managers who sniffed them out very quickly"

        ?

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          WTF?

          Sniffed them out?

          So at Canopy, all mangers are brown nosers?

          Only two issues are (1) Is the employee's performance meeting expectations, and (2) does the second job (even if it's as a volunteer at some charity) represent a conflict of interest?

          1. fandom

            Re: Sniffed them out?

            Yes, good points, after all saying "Their early performance was really bad", doesn't let us know if the performance was meeting expectations.

          2. Triggerfish

            Re: Sniffed them out?

            There's brown nosing, and there is saying this person is really shit at their jobs why are we paying them?They are different things.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      It is almost certainly a criminal offence - straight up fraud. No idea why you'd defend people _pretending_ to work. They weren't even making an honest effort to do two jobs at once.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        In the UK it does indeed feel it comes under section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

        https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/section/2

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It is almost certainly a criminal offence - straight up fraud"

        Just like wage theft is but is anyone sued for that? You jesuit.

      3. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Then he should have called the police. Instead he decided to make hay about it on a social network, because he thought it would make him look good. What does that say?

    3. DrSunshine0104

      The whole 'its immoral' was where I jumped ship. Leave it to a CEO to consider the dollar a moral system.

  3. veti Silver badge

    I think the issue is honesty. If the perps had told their employers - both of them - what they were doing, there'd be no issue. But hiding it is a no-no.

    I don't like Elon Musk any more than any other sane person, but at least he's upfront about his divided workload and attention.

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      "If the perps had told their employers - both of them - what they were doing, there'd be no issue."

      If they'd said 'hi, we're going to defraud you by pretending to work', there'd still have been an issue. Remember, they weren't trying to do both jobs at once. They were trying to pretend to do both jobs.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Actually, I disagree. If a company is willing to pay people to pretend to work for them, that's their decision. No reason to call it fraud.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "If they'd said 'hi, we're going to defraud you by pretending to work',"

        ... and company defrauds them by pretending to pay salary. What was the point again?

    2. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Honesty has to go both ways. It generally doesn't.

      == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I think the issue is honesty."

      This must be a joke, right? Have you *ever* seen a honest company? Even worse, HR or CEO? No? I haven't either. But now peons somehow have to be honest?

      Proper hypocrisy.

      It's all about "Rules for you but not for me" Republican bulls**t.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Yes I have. Many of them, thanks. Oh sure there's the occasional crook and/or pathological liar, but by and large, most companies I've worked for have been mostly straightforward in dealings with their staff.

        (Dealings with customers are another matter.)

        If that sounds incredible to you, consider moving to a more decent country.

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    I did this between two jobs

    New company wanted me to start on a Friday (get the office and computer setup out of the way and hit the ground running on the Monday), old company wanted me to finish on the Friday...

    Both sets of managers knew about it though - and it was for one day.

    It did cross my mind that I could have simply not resigned my previous role, and I don't think anyone there would have noticed (large consulting firm I'd been TUPE'd into and then spent months not getting any work at all, to the extent that my manager frequently took weeks to answer emails about the processes involved) - but integrity put a stop to that idea...

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "an inability to determine productivity"

    And that's the crux of the issue.

    Managers today have to deal with the consequences of COVID, whic is mainly that their staff is no longer always there to be counted and under surveillance.

    Maybe the pandemic willl have a good consequence, as in managers will start to pay attention to results, not just attendance.

    But of course, that would mean that managers would actually become intelligent.

    In what universe is that going to happen ?

    1. pimppetgaeghsr

      Re: "an inability to determine productivity"

      I think middle-management is ridiculously bloated anyway after the last 12 years of loose financial policy anyway and most companies falling into growth traps. It seems the people even in tech doing the actual "work" are grossly outnumbered by project managers, program managers, committees, directors etc. etc. whom all need to be present in meetings to make it seem like they are necessary.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: "an inability to determine productivity"

      Measuring productivity during COVID in the WFH stage didn't change. It was (1) was the quality of their work meeting expectations by your usual criteria and (2) were people meeting their deadlines? Since my group develops hardware & software together, the only problems that "got worse" had nothing to do with WFH or work quality, as they were all supply chain issues which could be easily documented as why deadlines were slipping. When the lead time on some chip that you use 250,000 of per year suddenly gets quoted as 60 weeks, that's a problem but it has nothing to do with WFH. Even the face time issue is a red herring, as back when we had no one going in, having a set time each day for a 15+ (as needed) minute group "how's everyone doing" on Teams kept the group cohesion and continually broke the ice between members to have private Teams discussions as needed for their work. Wasn't perfect, but this crap about not being able to assess whether people are doing their jobs if they work remotely just underscores how inept the management is at the place doing the complaining.

    3. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: "an inability to determine productivity"

      We can have cultures where employees are trusted, or ones where they aren't. You have to pick.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "an inability to determine productivity"

      It's my impression that management never has a problem with gauging productivity when it suits their purpose. Pretending to be unable demonstrates a lack of integrity.

  6. Julian Bradfield

    what are contracts for?

    My full-time academic contract says I can't work for anybody else without permission, and can't work for anybody more than one day a week unless I reduce my hours. Does industry not do that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what are contracts for?

      My employer won't allow me to take up any employment where there's a potential conflict of interest (specifically, same industry, demands on time could impact on my performance in my current job).

      I do work self-employed doing totally unrelated stuff outside of day-job work hours, which I told my employer about, and this was OK-ed with little more than the wave of a hand.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: what are contracts for?

        But is that wave of hand worth the paper it's written on, to paraphrase Samuel Goldwyn*?

        * Not really Samuel Goldwyn, but it's the popular construct

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: what are contracts for?

          A verbal contract is just as binding as a written contract.

          An implied contract is just as good as a written one (if we are going to take 'a wave of a hand' as not a verbal contract then it would be an implied contract).

          1. Not Yb

            Re: what are contracts for?

            Well, almost... up until the time you try and prove the verbal or implied contract exists in court. Then the written one would have been much better.

            Unrecorded contracts work great, as long as there is no real dispute between the parties.

    2. Justthefacts Silver badge

      Re: what are contracts for?

      Industry does do that. It will have been in the employment contract, 100%.

      I have had a couple incidences of people thinking that’s against EU law, but they’re wrong. I *think* the source of confusion is that, for contractors that would be restraint of trade. And they seemed to think the fact they had been contractors in the past meant they could continue taking on contracts while employed.

      Actually I think this goes to the heart of what it means to be employed, with IR35. The definition and distinction of being a contractor is that you can organise your own working day. An employee has to work as their employer directs. If you want to work two jobs, go right ahead, look for contracting jobs. But not while an employee.

    3. Def Silver badge

      Re: what are contracts for?

      Yep, almost every contract I've had, including my current one, state I am not permitted to work for anyone else.

      That said, I have my own company on the side, and have yet to find an employer that minds me working on my own projects and releasing them through that. (It's something I mention before accepting any position, and I make it clear that I have no interest in releasing a product that competes with my employer.)

      But, in general, I think that contract clause is bullshit insofar as it should only be applicable to competitors whether direct or indirect.

      I have had employers in the past mention that if I deemed it necessary to get a second job for financial reasons, I should speak to them first.

      Outside of my work and personal projects though, I have far too many other projects around here that I would rather spend time on than slaving myself out to another employer. And if I didn't, I'd spend more time travelling and seeing the world while it still exists.

      1. Outski Silver badge

        Re: what are contracts for?

        Yep, almost every contract I've had, including my current one, state I am not permitted to work for anyone else.

        Same, except when I was working in shops while still at school or college.

        I was offered a part-time gig as security manager at my local (I was good at de-escalation, despite having the physical presence of a bit of spaghetti), but had to decline, as my main job required me to be able to drop everything and run, sometimes to a client in a different country.

        I'm a permie now, rather than a consultant, but I'm still expected to be available 24/7, except when on leave. Seniority's a bitch, sometimes.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what are contracts for?

      "what are contracts for? "

      You tell us. Corporations won't conform them at all, why should you?

      Wage theft is The Theft(TM) in USA, 10* larger than all other forms of stealing put together, so obviously corporations don't give a f**k about contracts.

  7. lodo

    Against all odds, I find myself siding with the CEO here, as a matter of principle.

    When you sign a full-time contract, it does not mean that you can do task X and task Y and once those are done you are free to do as you wish. No. A full-time contract means that you commit to provide your full attention and skills (as listed in the job description) to the company for N hours a week. Even if there's nothing to do. Even if you are bored. Even if your skills are wasted.

    If instead you want to have exciting tasks all the time, want to fully exploit your skills and your speed, and want to make an extra buck by working for multiple companies, then your best bet is to become an external contractor that gets deliverable-based contracts. You deliver X within this timeframe, we pay you this much, no matter whether you worked 100% or 10% of the time on it, and no matter what other things you did.

    But of course people will never choose this. Because if something goes bad and they can't deliver, they are not paid. And if no one needs anything from them, they don't get any contracts. People want the freedom and excitement and potentially high income of doing multiple things, but at the same time they want the security of a standard contract based on hours. That's not how it works. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You want the security of a full-time contract?

    Then you are bound to spend those 40 hours doing nothing other than being available for your company. That's what the contract says. If you don't like it, become an external contractor. Choose your path and own the drawbacks that come with it. Stop whining and demanding to have everything you want.

    1. Def Silver badge

      If I'm employed to work N hours a week for a company, that still leaves 168-N hours per week that I can use for whatever I like. And if I choose to spend some of those hours working for a non-competitor, that should, in theory, have nothing to do with my employer.

      1. lodo

        I agree, and when N is small, such as when N = 20 for part-time jobs, it is pretty normal to have multiple non-overlapping ones.

        But the engineers who where fired had full-time jobs, which typically have N = 40. If you take two of them, that's N = 80, leaving you only 88 hours for the remaining of your life, which seems a lot but really it's not.

        Plus, there's the extra caveat of working hours. Your employer might require you to work in specific days and time periods, and if the time periods of your two employers overlap it becomes a problem. Also, your employer could argue that you are expected to start each of your working shifts fully rested, which means that you have to take resting time into account in your multi-job scheduling. And these are not (in general) unreasonable oppression from the side of the employer (they can become in some cases). In general, they are pretty reasonable and sensible requirements to ensure effectiveness.

        So I would say that for full-time jobs (N=40), while theoretically you can have two, in practice you can't.

        1. Def Silver badge

          ...while theoretically you can have two, in practice you can't.

          I think that's up to the individual to decide. It's certainly not something everyone could do, and I guess most people wouldn't want to. But if you want to, and you're able to, why not?

          I don't eat lunch. I can, when necessary, survive on four hours sleep a night. Working 14 hours a day, sleeping for five leaves me a few hours a day plus weekends.

          I practically do that anyway with work, personal projects, projects around the house, and occasional bouts of insomnia.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Some countries make it illegal to work two full-time jobs. On one hand, it protects the employees' health, and on the other hand, if the employer hires you for your talent, they are allowed to demand your full talent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          " they are allowed to demand your full talent."

          No, never. They are allowed to demand the exact amount they pay for. And it's the payee who decides that, not the payer.

          Typical employer pays about 50% to 75% salary, so that's what they will get.

          Suddenly 'You get what you pay for' doesn't apply to employers or what?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " A full-time contract means that you commit to provide your full attention and skills (as listed in the job description) to the company for N hours a week."

      It means that only if they pay for it too. Otherwise it's a meaningless contract. Basically the only reason for having two jobs is that neither pays livable wage.

      Funny how that is always thrown aside as 'side issue' while it's literally *the issue* here. CEOs never care about peons living with their salary, they care only about cost: Psychopaths, (almost) every one of them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Stop whining and demanding to have everything you want."

      Which literally is what every CEO does. You won't tell them that, only peons who want livable wage. Funny, isn't it?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In large unionised companies, its often quite difficult to get fired.

    Half-ass your job, don't show for a week and self-cert, etc. Eventually they will put you on a performance improvement plan and when that fails they will move towards dismissal. But all of this will take a year or more.

    But you'd have to check what is covered by the companies definition of 'Gross Misconduct' as that usually allows them to bypass the performance route.

    If job security is not a factor, and the sector is big enough that you won't get blacklisted, then you could possibly manage to 'work' 3 or more 'full-time' jobs this way.

  9. Shalghar Bronze badge

    So what about the rules ?

    German labour and tax laws would not let mere worker bees do this. Your employer has to be asked and can dictate that you do not accept even a one hour part time job when employed as that might reduce your owed working output for the full time employer so you need his written permission, even for a weekend job. Tax laws are even weirder here, in any case you have to report your second job before doing it.

    One time helps or help for neighbours or family members as well as a regular "Ehrenamt" (voluntary unpaid work for charities and suchlike) dont count if unpaid so if you want to reduce your productivity, that would be the way to go. ;)

    Main issues with work from home really seem to be control issues of every kind, management incapable of defining and controlling goals, unclear tasks for the "homies", maybe lingering distrust that nothing will get done if the eye of wannebegod does not linger above the peons.

    So basically, much of this mess is due to management incapable of or refusing to do their job.

    Oh, btw. CEOs, politicians and suchlike can have lots of full time jobs in germany, too.

    Must be nice if you are the one who can approve of you taking unlimited "jobs", no matter of the quality of your "work" or wether you get anything done at all.

    1. dl1jph

      Re: So what about the rules ?

      That's extremely inaccurate. Your employer can not deny you permission to take on another job, as long as two conditions are met - you can't exceed the total permissible working hours (10h/6d with at least 11h rest in between and at least 45 Minutes of breaks during working hours) and you can't violate your contract's non-compete clause (if it's in place, which it almost certainly is). It is, however, correct that you have to inform both employers of your other job, so they don't accidentally ask you to work over the mandatory rest periods - if they do, they get into some serious trouble with insurance.

      These rules only apply to employees, not self-employed people. This means that they do, in fact, apply to upper management in most larger companies, but not to most family businesses. They also don't apply to what you do during your recovery time, as long as that doesn't severely impact workplace safety or performance. So your employer could, in fact, require you to step back from volunteer work if they have reason to believe it's putting you or others around you at risk.

      1. Shalghar Bronze badge

        Re: So what about the rules ?

        The mentioned time limits come from "Arbeitszeitschutzgesetz"(work time protection law) and may be ONE of the factors of your employers decision but not necessarily the only one.

        As soon as the employer presumes (without having to prove) that your desired second job might impact the performance owed in your main job, you´re out. Of course your employer cant directly prohibit juristically but once you dont follow the order, you can be sacked.

        Details may vary but unless you are ready to fight on the Arbeitsgericht, good luck. There is a lot of historical ballast in german work laws coming from the dark period since 1933 and not many of those laws (nor their strict interpretation) have changed much.

        Try doing a bit of woodcutting on your own time in your own forest to sell that wood and get sacked because you endanger your main job performance.

        As for voluntary work, there are exemptions for "freiwillige Feuerwehr" (voluntary firefighters) and THW/technisches Hilfswerk (due to them being emergency services). Voluntary work will normally not be considered as any conflict here will directly trigger several non work associated laws (Vereinsfreiheit/Vereinigungsfreiheit, etc.).

        If you really insist on including the minefield of safety regulations, thats just another factor for the employer and his possibilities to deny your wish for another endeavour. So, yes i simplified the matter but in the end of the day, just assume that your full time employer may dictate wether you can take a secondary job just to be on the safe side. For details, consult a lawyer.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: So what about the rules ?

          Sounds similar to French laws. As a CDI (full time employee), even doing unpaid volunteer stuff during my summer holiday is... tricky. Turns out, you're not free, never are, the employer is paying you to not be working, etc.

          1. Shalghar Bronze badge

            Re: So what about the rules ?

            As defined by Bundesurlaubsgesetz, (paid) vacation is meant solely for recovery, so you can work at full power again. Holiday jobs somewhat interfere with that intent so that can be a lever for the employer,too. Its not "paid for doing nothing" but paid to recharge the old battery.

            Similar regulations apply when you are having sick leave. You must not engage in activities that prevent or interfere with ASAP regaining your health==ability to work 100%.

            So while the employer may use the regulations to enforce his will, its basically a multitude of regulations giving leverage to do so. And once you are foolish enough to believe you have considered every factor in the equation, another regulation/organisation comes around the corner to say hello. ;)

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Seems straight-forward

    Two jobs, each completely independent of the other and compartmentalised for confidentiality and such like - no issue.

    Two jobs, both nine-to-five... not so good.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Seems straight-forward

      Agreed; the simultaneity is the sticking point for me.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Seems straight-forward

        Not the bit where they were only pretending to do the job? If there'd only been one job, it'd still be a sackable and probably criminal offence. (I mean, unlikely to be prosecuted, hard to convict, etc. But obviously fraud.)

  11. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

    then clock out. I'm only at my desk maybe 10 minutes a day.'

    Now this young man has middle management written all over him...

    Only if he keeps up with his TPS reports..

    1. that one in the corner Silver badge

      Middle management

      If he always remembers to type up the cover sheet for his TPS report he can make it to the top, by Monday, hmm, that would be great.

  12. Howard Sway Silver badge

    managed to fully automate their job and hadn't told anyone about it

    This guy deserved the boot. In IT, you're supposed to automate as much of your job as is feasible, because you understand that computers are there to do work whenever they can instead of people, and it applies as much to your own work as well as the work of your customers who are paying you to produce systems that do the same for them.

    Once you've automated your tasks, that frees up time to do something else that's useful instead, and you either think of something new, or let your boss know and do whatever new thing they ask of you. That's called increasing productivity, and it's how companies succeed, and how you advance in you career. Thinking you can use the time that you've saved to play video games instead is a sign that you just don't care about the success of the company paying your salary that much, so why should any sensible company keep paying them?

    On the other hand, if the company lets you get away with doing little, and don't give you new work because they just want you there for when things go wrong, learn lots of new stuff, and use it to get a better job that pays more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: managed to fully automate their job and hadn't told anyone about it

      Thinking you can use the time that you've saved to play video games instead is a sign that you just don't care about the success of the company paying your salary that much ...

      Why should I care about the success of my employers beyond their ability to pay my salary? I don't kid myself that they care about me any more than whether I do the tasks allocated to me.

      1. Dr Dan Holdsworth
        WTF?

        Re: managed to fully automate their job and hadn't told anyone about it

        Generally speaking, if you go to any employer and say "Mr Employer sir, I have worked out how to automate this major part of my work. This frees me up for other tasks that you may want doing, so please assign these other tasks to me".

        Usually, this is known as "Having a good attitude" and leads to advancement of one's career. Certainly one is looked upon more favourably by ones bosses, and this is helpful when bonuses and increments to salary are being considered.

        If this causes negative effects, find another job pronto.

      2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: managed to fully automate their job and hadn't told anyone about it

        I've done this a little myself... cannot and will not divulge more... but the 30hrs a week I am contracted for, takes me about 15-18hrs on average. I even make sure that I do around 5% (random figure between 2-10%) more work than I'm required to, so that they just think I'm a very hard worker who goes the extra mile.

        I hardly even play games anymore... I'm too busy with bits of DIY in between bouts of work on the house we bought last month. Trying to find contractors, accepting deliveries.

        I'm not taking on another job in my free time... it's MY free time and I'll enjoy it.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: managed to fully automate their job and hadn't told anyone about it

      > a sign that you just don't care about the success of the company paying your salary

      Why should I give a shit about the sucess of any company? I won't see any extra money and they do not care about me.

      Most CEOs should be kept far, far away from the rank & file employees because they make you want to actively harm the company. Many managers also fall into that category.

      1. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: managed to fully automate their job and hadn't told anyone about it

        Your attitude is why economic growth has been so low for so long.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: managed to fully automate their job and hadn't told anyone about it

          And it's management's job to set the culture and the tone. If a manager wants the employees to go above and beyond for the company, it's up to the company to go above and beyond for the employees. When the company makes record profits but gives 2 percent raises regardless of productivity, don't expect loyalty. Cut benefits and increase employee costs, don't expect loyalty. Can a few just because the company will miss numbers for the quarter by a penny a share (while still making a profit), don't expect loyalty. Do the opposite of this, and the employees will be fiercely loyal, to the point of offering to take a pay cut if the company is struggling.

          Managers like you think loyalty should be a one way street, when it never has been and never will be.

  13. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Anyone speaking up for the boss...

    Remember it's a different story at the top. How many directors do we read about who hold multiple positions? How many MPs in the UK have other jobs (quite a few are lawyers, actually)? Those MPs are stealing from the tax payers who voted them into office. Oh, the rules allow it? What a surprise for the trough snufflers.

    1. MrMerrymaker

      Re: Anyone speaking up for the boss...

      Two wrongs don't make a right.

      Conflict of interest at the top should absolutely be prevented. I think for public office especially it should be banned outright

      But don't excuse the fellows here. The jobs were 1) at the same time and 2) not actually being completed - to not see a problem here is basically wanting your cake and eating it

  14. JRS

    Stealing?

    So if anyone puts in some overtime that doesn't get paid then surely the company is stealing from the employee.

    Of course this wouldn't happen at Canopy right?

    * Just to be clear, overtime should not be because the employee is slow, but because the demands of the job couldn't be reasonably met in the full time hours.

  15. disgruntled yank

    Multiple jobs

    There was a running joke in the US Black community that West Indian immigrants always worked two jobs. It was current enough to get a mention on the TV show In Living Color in the 1990s and for there to be a bit with Colin Powell working at Home Depot ca. 2003 in the comic strip Boondocks. The joke or cliche long preceded telework.

    And I did in this century work with a computer operator who worked the day shift with us and the night shift with another employer. She did show up for work, and did not that I have heard sleep on the job.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Multiple jobs

      Same in the Far East. I used to do software development and systems admin during the day, then teach English during the evening. I only gave up the teaching because I was exhausted.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Multiple jobs

      As a student in the UK back in the 90s I had a data entry job in the evenings. Most of the other workers were women who worked as secretaries during the day and did data entry at night for some extra money. The speed some of them could type was astounding.

      That's about 20 years before COVID and WfH.

  16. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Il ne faut pas souhaiter la mort des gens, ça n'est jamais assez méchant

    That guy is a bastard. If those people were paid enough, they probably wouldn't need to do another job. Many companies don't belong to people, they belong to shareholders who want a maximization of their dividends through the exploitation of the wage slaves.

    How many companies ask people to work more than the hours they are paid for? Those are stealing their workers.

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      No surprise the Dabbsy fan loves alt-right 'talking points'.

      1. GNU SedGawk

        Dabbsy is not alt-right or even particularly political one way or other as far as I can tell.

        To what are you referring?

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          It's funny how to people in truly extreme positions, those with somewhat less extreme positions appear to be moderates.

          1. GNU SedGawk

            So you think the musings of the chap about his workings training people is some sort of polemic in disguise? I'm confused, https://www.theregister.com/Tag/Something%20For%20The%20Weekend/ This guy?

            What are you finding objectionable in his output, mystified.

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    Most of those red flags are complete nonsense

    I have no idea if the engineers were double jobbing or not but I'd fail some of those things and not because I'm working a second job. I don't like turning my camera on and I don't like LinkedIn either.

    I think if I worked for this idiot boss I'd lock my LinkedIn profile just to troll him and if I was fired take him to a tribunal.

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Most of those red flags are complete nonsense

      The boss explicitly stated none of those things are definitive alone. Obviously a non-Linked-In user entirely different to someone who used linked-in to get the job but then hid their page, too.

      1. Shalghar Bronze badge

        Re: Most of those red flags are complete nonsense

        This is actually a point that i dont understand completely, maybe because i dont use LinkedIn or similar.

        Once you have a job and currently dont want to leave it, why not turn off things that may lead to recruiting spam ? Wouldnt turning off such things have to be interpreted by your current employer as the wish to continue the job where you are ?

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Most of those red flags are complete nonsense

          Making a page private doesn't turn off spam from LinkedIn--it's LinkedIn, there is no escape. I also don't think this was viewed as an offense, just a warning sign that someone might be planning to try the simultaneous jobs thing. The actual harms come in the form of not doing an acceptable job because you're busy not doing an acceptable job somewhere else at the same time.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Most of those red flags are complete nonsense

        Even if you use LinkedIn it doesn't mean you want to everyone to know your business, or enjoy the flow of unsolicited contacts. I get multiple InMails a week from recruiters spamming me about some job or another. I haven't gone private simply because I enjoy wasting their InMail points, but I can see how someone else could.

        1. Mr. Flibble

          Re: Most of those red flags are complete nonsense

          They have to use points??? Damn, I need to waste more of their time, sending me jobs that are totally outside my skillset/interest,..

          1. DrXym Silver badge

            Re: Most of those red flags are complete nonsense

            For a recruitment agent to communicate via InMail, they either need to be connected to a person (i.e. the person accepted an invite) or they have to spend an InMail credit. They only get a small number of credits per month and they get the credit back if the person responds within 90 days.

            So I don't respond. If I respond then not only do they get their credit back but they'd probably think it okay to spam me again and again hoping I respond each time. I also ignore invite attempts by recruiters since I know they just want to be cheap with their credits - I soon learned that having a recruiter in contacts is a terrible idea.

  18. steelpillow Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Employee vs contractor

    If you hired a contractor and they held down a second "full-time" consultancy project, that would be none of your business. This kind of bitchfight is just a symptom of the ludicrous glass wall we put between different folks engaged to do stuff.

    IMHO the law should pull down its own glass walls and treat every worker the same, regardless. Bosses might then see fit to follow suit.

    1. lodo

      Re: Employee vs contractor

      It really depends on the contents on the contract. With all employees and with some consultants, you are paying them to devote N hours a week to the company. What they do in those N hours is, by definition, your business, and it is unacceptable for them to be doing anything else in those N hours.

      With other external contractors, you are paying them to perform task X. As long as task X is done according to the specification and within the timeframe stipulated, what else the contractors are doing in the meanwhile is none of your business. If they are efficient contractors, they will be doing a number of other projects while also delivering yours on time, which is good for them.

      Each of these contract types has pros and cons, both for the company and the workers. Workers can choose what career path they want to pursue. Companies rely on a mix of these two types of contracts to achieve their goals.

      This only works as long as everyone sticks to the rules of each contract type. If companies start asking employees to perform task X within a timeframe, when it is unreasonable to do it in their N hours contract, that's bad. If employees start behaving like contractors and are not fully available for N hours once their tasks are completed, that's also bad.

  19. localzuk Silver badge

    I don't know how people would have time for 2 full time jobs tbh. I am busy all day, even working most of my lunch most days.

    If a business is so disorganised that they hire someone full time to do a job that is barely a few hours work, then it would be honest to turn around to the boss and ask for more to do in my view. But then, I don't want to sit doing nothing at work anyway! A good job challenges me.

    Not to mention, every job I've had has had a clause in the contract stating that permission must be sought from management before taking on any extra work.

  20. heyrick Silver badge

    Conflating two different things

    The guy who plays video games because he automated his job is acceptable. He is (remotely) present should he be needed, and he clearly has skills. What's wrong with taking your job and optimising it? Plus he'll be the one in the line should there be any problems with the checking in of the files.

    For the person working two jobs at once, no. You're being paid to devote X hours to the company. By dividing your time between two companies and getting paid by both, sorry, but the CEO has a point.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Conflating two different things

      I have a vague memory of a story some years ago wherein an employee managed to be employed by two different departments of the same company, in the same building...

    2. Daedalus

      Re: Conflating two different things

      He's also working for a law firm, who are considered villains in so many ways, not just for all the litigation, but for charging lawyer rates for work that is done by paralegals, being generally ignorant and entitled in their dealings with IT, etc. etc.

      So "cheating" his employer in that case drew no disapproval and more than a few cheers.

      Now while working for a certain formerly large and well-known corporation, and later working with former employees, I was made aware of how some people were able to start their own independent operations while also managing projects etc. for their immediate employer. Said people went independent, and then had the effrontery to sell their business back to that employer. Given the amount of backstabbing prevalent among the managerial and executive staff, this was no big deal and really just how business got done, almost like it was the mafia.

      Meanwhile on the other side of town, people at a different company were running their churches out of their cubicles. Small time, but just as unethical.

  21. Stork Silver badge

    What does the contract say?

    Mine used to say something along the lines “other paid activities subject to employer’s approval “.

    But theft it isn’t, perhaps breach of contract.

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: What does the contract say?

      "theft it isn’t"

      No, technically it's fraud. But theft is correct colloquially for people stealing stuff - that they do it by deception isn't really important.

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: What does the contract say?

        That's about the seventeenth time that you have claimed it's fraud. Care to give us a few examples of people prosecuted for fraud for not working hard enough?

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: What does the contract say?

          I'm baffled that you need it explaining. They were _pretending_ to do a job - obtaining the pay for it through deception. That is not 'not working hard enough', it's a series of lies designed to gain the pay without doing the job at all.

          There really isn't any doubt at all that it's at least technically fraud - although as I've also pointed out, not the kind of thing anyone usually bothers prosecuting. But when the CEO calls it stealing, he's only wrong inasmuch as it's the wrong criminal offence.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What does the contract say?

            " it's a series of lies designed to gain the pay without doing the job at all."

            Which is a lie, they were doing the job. Not well but that's an excuse: They were paid in peanuts so what did they expect?

            You also don't realise that that's literally what corporation do all the time: Expect you to do the work without respective pay. Now *that's* a fraud if anything.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: What does the contract say?

              "They were paid in peanuts so what did they expect? You also don't realise that that's literally what corporation do all the time: Expect you to do the work without respective pay. Now *that's* a fraud if anything."

              You keep saying this, but I'll point out that you can't prove it and it changes nothing. How do you know what the job paid? If it was a million a year for updating an excel file, would you feel different? Why do you simply assume that, whenever there's a disagreement, the company must be wrong because it's paying too little? You don't know whether the job was underpaid or not.

              Now let's assume it was, in your opinion, underpaid. This doesn't change the situation. If they don't pay enough, that still doesn't make it acceptable to not do the work. If you try doing that because you want a raise, you won't get one and you may get fired for it. If you also do something that's against the contract you agreed to, the result may be significantly worse and lead to civil (or if your employer can demonstrate planning criminal) charges. It does mean you should probably ask for more money and consider quitting if you don't get it, but you may find that your idea of what you deserve isn't shared by the people who want to employ those with your skills. If you feel you deserve double what everyone doing your job (across employers and contractors) gets, you should have some really awesome skills or you'll find that nobody will pay you that.

            2. MrMerrymaker

              Re: What does the contract say?

              "Which is a lie, they were doing the job. Not well but that's an excuse: They were paid in peanuts so what did they expect?"

              You're not entitled to even peanuts if not doing the job.

              And you don't necessarily deserve your job if you are not doing it well.

              You don't half talk shit mate

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess some people feel that stealing from companies is less wrong than stealing from individuals

    some people feel that exploiting employees is less wrong than stealing. Shrug.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new.

    Had a guy who was on shift work who started missing his shift or calling in sick - turned out he had taken a second shift job and wasn't able to work the two together without clashes.

    He got caught when an ex-employee ran into him in his other job and started asking around.

    1. defenestratable

      Seems a bit much that he's getting caught not even by some employee who still works there, but someone who doesn't even work there is getting involved by going back to their own workplace.

  24. AJames

    All depends on circumstances

    I have fired someone for working two jobs. But:

    1. That person was under scrutiny for poor performance and bad attitude. I wouldn't have bothered to investigate if they were doing their job properly.

    2. They were in violation of the employment agreement they signed on hiring saying that they were required to seek approval for any outside work (not withheld in some other cases where it wasn't a significant conflict).

    3. They were trying to poach fellow employees for the other company they were working for, which would have caused significant damage to their primary employer.

    They were fired "for cause" and did not receive any severance compensation for their 3 years on the job.

  25. jeffty

    Rules for thee but not for me...

    ... funny how most individual contributor-style roles in tech have exclusivity clauses, whilst VPs, C-level execs and board members are typically free to hold multiple positions. At a previous role, our COO was on four different boards in various non-exec director roles in addition to his responsibilities there.

    If my employer expects me to dedicate all of my working effort to a single job, why aren't people at the top of the ladder (who allegedly are more important to the company's success and should be paying more attention) playing by the same rules?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rules for thee but not for me...

      C-levels get to dictate their own contracts, allowing for such things — if you are so important to your company that the company lets you work a second job, then you can get that too. It's just that most employees are not that important.

  26. Tron

    A sensible use of your time.

    If your boss is happy that they are getting their money's worth from you, what you do in the rest of your time is your business. Brain surgeon. Register commenter. Stripper.

    Those mentioned in the article appear to have been scamming their employers doing two half-jobs for two full wages, and deserved to be fired. And checked for tax evasion.

    The reddit poster who automated their job should have kept quiet. If their boss finds out, they can just get someone to write their own script and fire him/her.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A sensible use of your time.

      "scamming their employers doing two half-jobs for two full wages"

      Two *quarter wages*, in reality. Peons in USA simply aren't paid "full wage" and that statement alone puts you in employer camp: Anything to kick employees to head. Get paid a quarter salary, do half of the job, that's *more than you're paid for*. I fail to see what the company is whining about.

      "If their boss finds out, they can just get someone to write their own script and fire him/her."

      *just get* someone else? People who can automate their own jobs grow in some kind of tree where company can go and pluck them out if current employee is sacked?

      You *really* believe that, do you? Because if you do, you're a moron. Sorry about that.

      Being in the same group of morons than most HR people and company management MBAs, doesn't make it less moronic.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: A sensible use of your time.

        Original: "If their boss finds out, they can just get someone to write their own script and fire him/her."

        Reply: "*just get* someone else? People who can automate their own jobs grow in some kind of tree where company can go and pluck them out if current employee is sacked?"

        No, that's not the risk. The risk is twofold:

        1. The company didn't realize the job would be easily automated and could now, meaning they could go find someone to automate it for them. The reason they didn't before is that they weren't thinking of that option, but that could be lost if the person who did it tells anyone.

        2. The company already has ownership of the scripts that are running on their machines since they were written for the company by an employee, meaning they don't need to find someone to write them. They can find someone who can use the ones they have already, which is a larger group of people.

  27. bazza Silver badge

    Depends on the Contract and the Job

    If you have signed up for exclusive employment with one company, signing up with another behind their backs is pretty sketchy.

    As much as anything else, employment contracts generally reinforce the patent IPR arising from one's employment, if any does (ie you're in a job that creates something new). Usually in contracts and certainly in UK law (and elsewhere so far as I know) your employer owns the IPR you generate, but you're legally entitled to negotiate for a share of royalties arising from that. The emphasis is on the inventing employee negotiating with the employer at the time the patent IPR was created, and the employer must enter into negotiations or be breaking the law.

    That all goes to pot if you have signed two contracts of employment. Both could lay claim to the work done. The losing company can allege theft, corporate espionage, and jail time might result.

    Set Tasks

    If a company is asking an employee to do set tasks, then it's probably a good idea to fess up if they're not taking up 8hrs a day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Depends on the Contract and the Job

      "exclusive employment with one company"

      All of that is *attitude problem*. Every company ever believe they're the stars and *deserve* exclusive employment.

      In practise there're only handful of corporations, globally, that are that and the rest are literal pebbles on the beach and deserve nothing.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Depends on the Contract and the Job

        Expectations of exclusive employment with one company is not an attitude problem. Most people would say it's perfectly reasonable of a company to expect its employees to not also be working for a competitor.

        Exclusivity clauses (at least here in the UK) can only apply if breaking them means the company is going to lose money and are otherwise reasonable, which makes sense. There's lots of ways a company can lose money, if an employee is breaking their contract of employment (hours not worked, IPR leakage, etc). The bias is in favour of emloyees - e.g. it's unreasonable for a clause to prevent the employee finding alternative work. But there has to be a balance, otherwise you don't have companies at all.

        It gets tricky if the employer has no idea how much work is required for the value they're looking for from an employee. However, if they know no better to realise that what they're asking for is automatable, they're probably also afraid of not having the employee available. That's a situation ripe for a positive outcome from a proper chat, as they're probably keen to keep the employee happy and available (even if that does mean 2 jobs). As much as anything else, it could become an opportunity to start up one's own services company.

        The only area of employment where exclusivity clauses are coming under scrutiny is for low paid workers. In May this year the UK gov decided to legislate against them for workers earning under £123 a week, which is partly to do with dealing with some of the worse consequences of zero hours contracts.

  28. ecofeco Silver badge

    Competence first

    If you work two jobs, do not fail at either one.

    If a person cannot do that, then no, they should not work two jobs.

    Other than that, needs dictate action and money is king in this world and most people are criminally underpaid.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proper thieves

    ""And finally, you're very likely stealing a job from someone who wants and needs it.""

    Not a mention about paying a livable salary, of course. No-one is having two jobs just for more salary, it's about having a livable income.

    His company is abusing workers, in other words: Literally stealing their work because they can. *Just for more profit*.

  30. Martin an gof Silver badge

    Seems standard for certain political types

    I realise he's not the only one but:

    How many jobs does George Osborne have?

    M.

  31. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Only 2?

    When I was younger, and before I ever entered the world of IT employment (was just a tinkerer), I worked 5 part time jobs. All of them between 3 and 8hrs a week. I was theatre manager at a local community arts project, manager at a youth club along with music rehearsal spaces, a youth worker on 2 projects and assistant manager at a childrens after school centre (full time during holidays).

    1. MrMerrymaker

      Re: Only 2?

      Why you see this as a point of pride is baffling

  32. Stuart Halliday
    Happy

    When i worked as IT in a company I quickly automated it via Scripts. It rapidly became a challenge to me to do this for as much as possible.

    I just thought of it as a requirement for IT staff as I could so easily do it

    Then years down the line I realised I had quite a bit of free time on my hands. So I used that to find tools online that would help me automate more of it.

    Only a couple of times did one of the Managers sort of cotton on to my amount of free time.

    But as I was doing my job, he couldn't really fault me.

    I ended up performing easy soldering jobs to pass the time.

    Never thought of applying for a second job...

  33. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    ok

    i'm not for firing just for having 2 jobs -- but per the article job performance was poor. For that reason I think this is OK.

  34. BusyPoorDad

    But if they were putting in 80 hours

    I’m sure he would have found it ok if they had been putting in 80 hours a week in and not have felt that was taking a job from someone. Specially since they were likely salaried.

  35. Tony Pott

    Wrong is what feels wrong.

    At any job there's a line between acceptable screwing of the company and fraud. It's nothing you can define, but it's there, and most people would place it in roughly the same place. It's what feels wrong. Browsing the web when you should be working (and there's work to be done) is technically stealing time from your employer, but no-one would think it was 'wrong': just don't get caught. Having an entire full time job that you're doing in parallel, is on the other side of that line. I can't explain why, but it feels wrong to me.

    I'm comfortable with the example of the guy who automated his job and played games: he's available if needed. That's just efficient use of time. If he'd had another full-time job that he couldn't put down the moment he was needed, I'd feel differently.

  36. Intractable Potsherd

    There are people who work more than 1FTE for the same employer due to poor staffing or lack of efficiency (taking on too many disparate roles). These fall into two categories - those that drive themselves into the ground due to trying to make the effective 1.5FTE (for example) post work for those who depend on them, and those who create the situation themselves. Many of the latter show the same issues as the CEO mentions - poor performance, missing meetings (often those they arranged themselves and then dump on someone else) and so on. However, they are often regarded by management as "wonderful, keen team players" and get promotions they don't actually deserve.*

    Also, in e.g. medical schools, many of the teaching staff hold jobs in both the university and the NHS - the good ones try to balance the two roles, but most favour one over the other. However they do it, though, their employment is often way over 1FTE for two employers.

    *This may or may not be a true story.

  37. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Dishonesty

    By taking two simultaneous "whole time" jobs and not declaring them to either employer you are stealing from both. If you choose to work two jobs and declare it to both employers and they accept that, then fill your boots. If you cheat and lie to your employer(s) then don't start whining when you get Gross Misconducted out the door. I have worked for multiple employers on several occasions but none of them involved "whole time" contracts and I never worked them simultaneously so each employer was getting what they paid for.

    I am thoroughly enjoying working from home and am doing nothing substantively different than I did when I was in the office. I don't work 100% of the time flat out but then I never did in the office either, and if I tried to I'd burn out like many of the over-enthusiastic people I have worked with. My working hours are more flexible than they were but then I'm not wasting 4 hours per day commuting either and the stress levels are WAY lower than they were. Being able to focus with less interruptions is also a huge benefit, both to me and the company. I know that this wouldn't suit everyone or every job, but it works for me and seems to be working for my employers.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you could work two full-time jobs simultaneously, would you?

    A better question is, if I could work one full time job, would I?

    I think the kids call it "quiet quitting".

    1. Killfalcon

      Re: If you could work two full-time jobs simultaneously, would you?

      "Quiet Quitting" is more about "If I am paid to work one full time job, why would I work unpaid overtime?".

      It's about working to your contract, and nothing past that. If you're in a company/industry that's not been doing pay rises for a while, there's really no incentive to go the proverbial extra mile, so some folks just don't do things they're not paid for.

  39. darklord

    So what about doing two jobs for the same employer but only being paid for one!!!!!!

    Employers dont mind that do they. Many of my colleagues are utilised at 200 percent capacity for there weekly time. yet thats OK

  40. trindflo Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    And the directors at tech firms SolarWinds, DynaTrace, Skillsoft, and Udemy...

    Also on the front page of TheRegister:

    The U.S. Department of Justice needed to threaten SolarWinds, DynaTrace, Skillsoft, and Udemy - supposedly competing companies - because they shared overlapping boards of directors, which violates anti-trust laws.

    TheRegister article

    You may recall SolarWinds being in the news and not because they were doing a stellar job.

  41. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Contractual obligations

    I admit I have not read through all the comments, only through a significant portion of them. If I am repeating what someone else said apologies for missing it.

    All the arguments about delivering vs. not delivering and so on are perfectly fine, but it struck me that another, very real issue, seems completely missing from the discourse. Assume you are an employee (not freelancer or contractor or consultant). In my experience, unless you manage to negotiate something else at the time you are hired, there will be a clause in your employment contract that contractually obligates you to work exclusively for your employer. This is not just about time, issues like intellectual property rights, etc., are involved to (typically you assign those rights to your employer as "work for hire" or whatever the terminology is in your jurisdiction). More often than not on paper it is phrased restrictively enough to require a written agreement from the employee to engage in any other activity, whether or not for monetary consideration.

    It is rarely (barring a**sehole cases) about preventing you from having hobbies or playing for your neighbourhood rugby team or taking an art class once a week. Rather, the employer will be (legitimately, IMHO) interested in preventing potential conflicts of interest of all kinds, including, e.g., reputation and, significantly, you not getting burnt out by a night job or involvement in an election campaign or whatever it may be. The last bit is, in the end, about "delivering", of course, and it's long term thinking in most cases.

    Over time I've held second jobs quite a few times (usually teaching or consulting) and I've been on advisory boards of companies and non-profits other than my main employer. That was invariably under an exclusivity clause in my "day job" contract, and permission was invariably given, after questions about conflicts of interest in both competition ("Is there a clash with the company's business interests?") and scope ("How much time will it take per week/month?") had been resolved in a conversation. Actually, I always take additional care to avoid creating an impression that my employer sponsors or supports or endorses, say, the non-profit's activities. That takes conversations (and attention and vigilance on occasion) on the other end, and it's something I insist on, without explicit stipulation from my employer.

    The point is, you main employer has a legitimate say, and you are typically (your mileage may vary) contractually obligated to inform them. Breaking that contract is, normally and understandably, a firing offence and being above board is a matter of integrity and decency (IMHO). This looks conspicuously absent in these two cases as described. I guess I should say "four cases", what with 2 employees and 2 employers for each. And that, in my mind, is the essential issue whether or not the results were, in fact, delivered. And in at least 2 of the 4 cases they were not, apparently.

    Disclaimer: I have no idea if those two guys actually had exclusivity clauses in their contracts. If not I'd say the former employer should also fire their lawyers. Ha!

    Now, I would guess Musk and Bezos and Dorsey and their ilk do have their conflicts of interest declared, including both competition and scope (being CEOs of more than one company). As TSLA, AMZN, and TWTR are all publicly traded I suppose all that gets properly reported to SEC, etc. So the "above board" part is OK then, and apparently whoever pays their salaries (investors, shareholders through the respective Boards, etc.) are satisfied with the "delivery" aspect. If the satisfaction goes away I expect this to be reflected in either board meetings or share prices or, probably, both.

    No company time was stolen in creating this post.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EOTW scenario

    Anyway wont the gubbamint eventually notice. Full employment but 50% of the workforce is not working.

  43. bregister
    Flame

    just desserts

    Employees in IT are treated like rubbish and it boggles my (tiny) mind when employers cry about employees trying to earn a decent living (having to hold down 2 or more jobs).

    Here's a hint employers, treat your workers like human beings and pay them properly.

    End of.

  44. john.w

    Apply a simple morality test

    If what you are doing is acceptable then there is no need for secrecy.

  45. lobster_monkey

    Managed Service

    What about Tier 1 MS who regularly have engineers on multiple projects for different customers in the working week, how is that different, its time management and results, the same for individuals as MS, if I can effectively work for MS on multiple clients I sure as heck can do it for my own company

  46. vcragain

    I'm long since retired, but when I took my last programming job more than 30 yrs ago, with an Israeli owned company in NYC, I vaguely remember the "Introduction to the company" session with HR being a lot about what they expected you to do - including that the hrs you work for the company belonged to THEM. they could not of course tell you what to do in your other hours, but the implication was heavy that in working for them you "belonged" to them ! I learned later that they -prior to my joining them- had a Russian lady working there who had caused big issues with strange behavior with her personal associates brought into the office in nighttime hours, so they were totally primed up in suspicion mode of all things "programmers" ! I loved working there, but learned early on that staying out of office politics was safest, and 'head down, just do your job' made life simpler ! Of course their 'working hours belong to us' policy was a joke considering basically my whole life revolved around that job in the end, but that tends to happen when you love what you do.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    II Know Somebody who's been doing this for 15 Years+

    A developer who moved miles away from his office, was allowed to WFH (don't tell HR... ...very pre Covid) and all was good. Turned out following the move he set up a business (unrelated to IT) and turned it into a success. I know that IT Management knew what he was doing but as long as the work he was asked to do turned up on time nobody said a word and that was the key.

    Last I heard he had set up a second company - as local competition to his existing business - clever - and was doing well with that business as well

    He rarely answered his works mobile, showed online but busy - (Move Mouse is wonderful utility) - and his work was on time.

    As a side note - knowing the other business' any meetings with clients would better suited to when they could get time off work too - so lunch times and evenings.

    What I couldn't work out was given the success of the secondary business why he didn't jack his primary job in - then I found out what he earned - very nice if you can get it.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had an "in office" role in Birmingham last summer requiring a hotel stay while onsite, 5 mins walk from the office.

    7.5 hours done, back to hotel for job 2 (It was a global project, time was flexible). Deliveroo and 7.5 hrs done there, ablutions, sleep, repeat.

    Double billing *WAY* better than isolation in a hotel room / going out drinking / eating out etc 5 days a week.

    But your YMMV...

  49. tyrfing

    When the camera is on for everybody, transmission slows to a crawl and you get drop-outs and freezes. It is totally unnecessary.

  50. defenestratable

    I already do...

    Given the insurmountable levels of work sometimes, I feel I am already doing 3-4 jobs.However, I'm the mug that works for one company, albeit contracting.

    Strangely though it strikes me as wrong and feels risky to do this myself, I have no real issue with other people doing it. From reading the original article (not the paraphrased one here), one of the engineer's was found out based on performance problems and sought out his profile on LinkedIn only to see it was marked private once he joined Canopy. They reached out to his former employer and surprise surprise, he was found still working for them.

    One of the key points I guess which is glossed over, isn't that Canopy fired the guy, it's presumably that their management processes required finding he had another job to finalise their performance management processes. In reality, none of the secondary checks should have been necessary. For the second engineer I can find no mention of performance issues, yet, he started I think from the same company as the previous engineer, they forewarned him of the policy of only having one job and fired him after checking with his previous employer again.

    My current role through an agency has a clause in it that states I should not divulge my current client. So even though I work for a company, I'm contractually not allowed to associate with the client on LinkedIn or even in the future am meant to indicate I worked there. It makes sense I suppose, they don't really want a lucrative source of roles to be poached or filled by another agency, however it could look like I'm working two different jobs.

  51. MrGreen

    Who Has the Most Jobs?

    Isn’t there over 600 useless MP’s that all have multiple jobs and never do the first one they’re supposed to be doing?

  52. tracker1

    Couldn't manage it.

    When I was younger there are points I did have two jobs. But it wasn't a secret and was very long hours.

    If you can fill expectations for two jobs at once, more power to you. I know there are jobs that are simply under provisioned out there. I've considered it. I could take two lower-mid level positions and make slightly more than the very senior positions I've been in the past few years. So who knows.

    If your job performance sucks, then your performance sucks and the reason shouldn't matter.

  53. anthonyminchinton@yahoo.co.uk

    more than one job

    So it is OK to ask employees to do more than one job for the same employer, but not for separate employers.

    Although that's not true either, when I worked for two sister companies I actually worked for two employers, although only paid by one.

    As financial difficulties have multiplied most people find themselves doing three or more jobs as their team is reduced by cutbacks.

    Finally continually being asked to do more with less has an end point when we have to do everything with nothing - our team is almost there.

  54. xyz123

    Boss: Do not do ANYTHING that involves being paid outside your working contract hours

    me: yay! no overtime

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slow responses over Slack or email?

    Ah... Slack: the ultimate flow killer. A way to disrupt someone else's work without having to bother getting out of your seat. Yeah... on occasion, I'm likely to put responding to your Slack message until I'm ready to reply.

    Email? When did email turn into an instant-response messaging system? BTW, a delay in responding may be due to my putting together a detailed response. Deal with it.

  56. jollyboyspecial Bronze badge

    It all depends what your employer pays you to do and critically what it says in your contact.

    If you are doing the work that you are paid to do and fulfilling the terms of your contact then that's fine. However if, to use one of the examples given, you don't bother turning up for meetings - then you clearly aren't doing what you're employer pays you to do. Failing to turn up to work repeatedly is obviously a perfectly good reason for dismissal.

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