Having a Job on the Side

Dear Anita,

I have recently taken a hobby to a professional level outside of my full-time job. I am really excited about this new opportunity and want to share my excitement with my co-workers. Is there a way to do this without making my current job appear less important to me?

Dear Double Time Dude,

Thanks for the question. You are like many others who are looking for additional jobs these days to cover expenses or heading back to school to advance their degrees.

You are one of the lucky ones who actually really enjoys what they are doing on the side. But what tends to happen among all the excitement and buzz about a new gig is that others may perceive this change as you losing interest in your current position. They may wonder whether or not this new venture will impact your performance, dedication to the team, and reliability in the future. It also may stir up concerns that you may be planning on making a quick exit out of your position — all of which sounds like what you don’t want to happen.

To make this a smooth transition, I would first notify your supervisor of your new opportunity. Before you take on any additional work, make sure it will not interfere with any obligations or projects you are currently working on. Most supervisors will be thrilled to hear that you have taken on additional responsibilities but just need reassurance that you are still dedicated to your role at the company. Also, double-check with your HR supervisor that there is no conflict of interest.

Once you get the all clear from your boss and HR supervisor, it’s time to share the news! If you work in a team environment, let them know how excited you are and think of ways to explain how this change will have a positive impact on your performance in the group. It is important that, after your announcement, you restrict conversations to Show and Tell time, lunch breaks, or outside-the-office conversations — especially if what you’re doing is irrelevant to what the team is trying to accomplish.

My last piece of advice is to keep your two ventures separate. When you are at Job A, be fully entrenched in it. Same goes for Job B or your classes.

Readers – are you trying to balance school and work or two jobs? How are you managing, and how have your supervisor and co-workers reacted to the news?

Wishing you success,


Hiring An Ex

A reader recently asked me about hiring an ex-girl/boyfriend or an ex-spouse. Just the idea of that raised my eyebrows up a few levels. We all know that office gossip spreads like wildfire. No matter how hard you try to keep something a secret, the quicker and closer the match gets to gossip kindling. Just like that, your little secret is in ABC Company’s front-page news.

For most people, ex-significant others are exes for a reason. Each person has his or her individual experience and a unique story from every failed relationship, but what they all have in common is they just didn’t work out. To anyone thinking of hiring an ex, I pose this question: If you couldn’t make a relationship work, what makes you think being around that person 8 hours a day, 5 days a week will be any easier? And second, most relationships require an equal level of power between those involved to run smoothly. A supervisor overseeing his or her ex will definitely turn the tides, and I can already see the subordinate-supervisor train wreck quickly approaching.

Another issue could be accusations of favoritism. Once word gets out that an ex has become part of the staff, your peers will begin nitpicking every move you make regarding this individual. Everything from who gets what day off to who gets the office with the best view, even down to who gets away with taking an extra 5 minutes to get back from lunch. The options for constant criticism are endless.

Lastly, we come to the legal issues that may arise from hiring an ex as an employee. During your relationship, playful banter, hugs, pats on the back, and physical contact was the norm, but that doesn’t fly in the business setting. We tend to revert back to old behaviors and interactions with people, and it may be uncomfortable for your ex and your co-workers around you if you have a slip-up. An even bigger issue would come into play if the time came that you were forced to terminate your ex. I can see the scene now. “The only reason he/she fired me is because they are in love with me, and I don’t want to get back together.” Or: “Those jokes that you made to me when we were dating were funny, but I now feel sexually harassed everyday by your conversations with me.” Or: “He/she is laying me off out to get back at me for breaking things off.” Lawsuit anyone?

Bottom line is, no matter how “over” the relationship you may be or how perfect for the position your ex might be, it really is not a smart idea to hire him or her. Save yourself the worry, complications, and stress of hiring an ex. If you feel like you want to help them get a new job, offer to be a reference.

Now I want to hear from my readers! Have you ever hired, worked, or ran into an ex at a work function? How did it go?

Keep up the good work!


Reaching a DREAM

Hello Faithful Readers!

100th blog post!I am so gosh darn excited to announce that with your tremendous help and excellent questions, together we have reached our 100th post on “Job Talk with Anita Clew.” It is hard to believe that in such a short amount of time, with the dedication from my followers and the contributions from readers like you, my initial goal of 100 posts on Job Talk has finally been realized!!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought it would be nice to share some of my thoughts on the importance of setting goals that you hope to achieve. Making changes and sticking to them is a difficult task. But in order for you to reach your dreams, you must set a goal and keep your eyes on the prize.

To make your goal a reality, you have to make SMART choices.

You have to start by making a goal that is very SPECIFIC. For me, writing 100 blog posts was what I set out to do after launching “Job Talk with Anita Clew” in November 2010. It was a concrete goal, one that has little variance and can only be achieved one way.

Make your goal one that can be MEASURED, where progress can be gauged accurately within the time frame set to achieve it. Imagine a fundraiser with an empty thermometer showing how much money has been collected during a set period of time. Every time you make progress, you fill in the thermometer. As you get closer to your goal, the more excited you will become to achieve it.

The next key attribute to setting a goal is making sure it is ACHIEVABLE in the near future. Of course, many of us would like to be a billionaire or the first person to land on Mars, but in reality, this is something that most likely will not happen within a reasonable time period. As human beings, we are wired to seek instant gratification, and when we do not get it, we give up easily. Making your goal achievable in the short-term will make it easier to keep up the hard work when times get tough.

Make your goal RELEVANT and REALISTIC to your dreams, passions, career, family, or to whatever gets your gears turning. If you have no personal drive or incentive to complete your goal, it is very unlikely that you will. For instance, try setting a goal to come to the office 15 minutes early this week so you can be collected and ready to start the day fresh. By Friday, once you have reached your fifth day in a row, you will see how excited and more productive you will be for making your goal.

Finally, give yourself a TIME deadline to reach your goal. Deadlines are one of the main reasons why anything gets accomplished in today’s world. When I set my goal, I gave it 2 years, a reasonable time to write 100 blogs posts, at a rate of 1 per week for 104 weeks. Seems pretty doable, right? For example, have you ever set out to lose 10 lbs in the next 2 years? Give yourself too much time, and you may cheat – have an extra brownie or two…or three, and skip your afternoon workout “just this once.” But if you set out to lose 10 lbs in a realistic time period, like 3 months, you will be much more likely to stick on track and be accountable.

Follow these steps and make your goals a reality like I did! Cheers to 100 posts and to our 45,000+ followers. Without your support, none of this will be possible. Next stop on the path to success, 250 posts, and to helping another 45,000 people with their questions!



Personal Issues Impacting Work

A reader writes….

Dear, Anita,
I am struggling with some MAJOR personal issues, and it’s causing me to lose sight of things. I can barely eat, sleep, or function… much less work. The truth is, I just want to curl up in a ball.
The last thing I need is to lose my job, but I can’t seem to get myself together. What should I do?

Dear, “Focus,”

I have named you “Focus” because that is precisely what you need to do in this situation.

  1. Focuson yourself. Whether you’re going through a divorce, experiencing a loss of a loved one, or whatever the case may be… you need to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. This includes getting outside, soaking in some fresh air, healthy eating, exercise, rest, meditation, counseling, and for many… prayer. If you have personal time, sick time, or vacation time on the books with your employer, request to take it. You may need a break from work so that you can allow yourself some time to heal. In your current state of mind, it doesn’t seem as though you would be giving it your all in the workplace any way.(That leads me to my next suggestion… which, by the way, is the complete OPPOSITE from this one!)


  2. Focus on your job.As difficult as it may be to believe… your job may actually be a great escape from whatever is going on in your personal life. The simple act of taking a shower and getting dressed is an accomplishment in and of itself. Then turning your attention to getting to work, mapping out your plan for the day, teaming up with colleagues on projects, concentrating on every task and job duty, the list can go on and on. Next thing you know, even if just for a brief moment, you’re not dwelling on your personal situation. No, it doesn’t go away from your thoughts, but you’re turning your energy into something positive and productive. 
  3. Focus on your Manager and Co-Workers. Now, by now you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about since most self-help books or therapists would continue with a long list of positive affirmations and mantras to help you get through. This being “Job Talk with Anita Clew,” I tend to keep my advice work-related. What I’m getting at with my 3rd point is the fact that your professional team members (and possibly several other people) are relying on you. They need you to remain dedicated to them and your work. Whatever your profession may be, you play a part of a bigger picture and your attendance and professionalism is necessary and important. YOU are important to your organization. (This message holds true to people with kids or others who depend on you). In all fairness to them, you cannot shut yourself off from the world and those that need you.

I am so sorry to hear you are going through a tough time, but with a little FOCUS, you will get through this.

Readers, please post your well wishes and share any other words of wisdom… we could all use a boost!


Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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