Moonlighting is neither an ethic nor a tendency at work

Shots were fired. Wipro has fired 300 employees found guilty of working for its competitors, drawing a hard line in the “moonlighting” debate. Just a few weeks ago, President Rishad Premji made it clear what he thought of the practice: “It’s cheating, plain and simple.” renounce “double time” and double life. Some senior executives like CP Gurnani of Tech Mahindra have taken a softer line, leaving it up to employees to decide how to use their free time if work is unaffected. For our technology companies, it’s as easy as it gets. An employee and an employer are bound by the terms of a mutual contract. And a full-time employee shoving for a rival is an unacceptable violation of this agreement. Fair enough. Not just labor relations, our very economy relies on trust that contracts will be honored, or else someone has to pay. IT companies often work with customer data that needs to be secure, and moonlit employees could also create a greater credibility risk for them.

But how did we get here? Companies having to crack down on hundreds of their employees found to be “duplicated” is clearly a post-covid phenomenon. The workplace is now mobile, atomized, in our laptops and smartphones. It’s not just the location that has become variable; the adoption of working from home has frayed the eight-hour shift. During the lockdown, employers were happy to let those boundaries blur as long as the job was done. It was not the hours clocked that mattered, but the tasks accomplished. Taking this logic to the limit, some employees might have started to rationalize a second gig as extra income that doesn’t hurt anyone. When times are tough, the ethic of shared loyalty can seem like shades of gray. So what kind of restlessness culture drives workers to work two jobs? Entry-level tech workers — all of the roughly 300 laid off by Wipro had less than three years of experience — may have reason to feel cheated themselves. An open secret of the IT industry, which has thrived even as other economic engines have spat during the pandemic, is that salaries for new hires have remained shockingly low. And so, over the past two years, as the demand for software work has exploded globally, labor providers anxious to make ends meet may have spotted a quick fix in the opportunity of two jobs.

Some argue that employer outrage is being overtaken by an emerging economy, which would usher in a bustling market for specific tasks – rather than job roles – to be assigned to individuals through price offers. Its proponents expect workers to gain more power as economic agents this way than by being loyalists or captives of the “cube farm”, but this view overlooks how the Labor would still be driven by a large asymmetry of influence, so a gig economy need not turn out to be more worker-friendly. After all, there is a reason for the importance we place on job security, which has been shown to deliver both higher value and better job satisfaction. Advocacy for gig work also ignores the fact that while a business can benefit from a workforce that is not a fixed overhead, it cannot simply be the sum of stealthy, robotic workers. if it has to rely on its staff to increase its chances of success. . Corporate values ​​and mission alignment are important in distinguishing one company from another. But employers should not forget to combine this special attraction with an attractive salary.

Catch all the trade news, market news, breaking news and latest updates on Live Mint. Download the Mint News app to get daily market updates.

More less

To subscribe to Mint Bulletins

* Enter a valid email

* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Post your comment

Comments are closed.