Das ka Dum with Dr Bhaskar Das | There has been much uproar about moonlighting in IT companies. But in Indian media, it’s always been there, right? Your view?

28 Sep,2022

Bhaskar DasWe wrote this yesterday for a question, and we are sure friends of our Wizard with Words will Grrr us on why we love to put him in the dock over sensitive issues. Our response is: who better to philosophise on key matters of state (in a manner of speaking). So let’s hear it from Dr Bhaskar Das in the September 28 edition of Das ka Dum. Read on…

 

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Q. There has been much uproar about moonlighting in IT companies. But in Indian media, it’s always been there, right? What’s your view on moonlighting?

 

A. I know it’s a hotly debated subject and extreme positions have been taken by various concerned organisations/ individuals. The IT industry seems to have a clear stand on the subject ie moonlighting or side-hustle is a strict no-no. WFA/ WFH might have made it easier for tech guys, but it’s difficult to detect and monitor. May be that’s why IT sector has taken a tough stand on the subject.

 

There are divergent stand on the subject of how one can work with competitors. Like Swiggy sees nothing wrong in side-hustle or Tech Mahindra opined that the employee should be open about it and inform about it. I am not sure if the latter position means taking approval in advance. One can’t deny that employers discern an ethical issue in moonlighting.

 

You are correct in observing that such a practice is prevalent in creative industry, albeit in different forms. Many CEOs write books or engage in further studies including a Ph D as passion-led engagement. In a sense that can easily be classified as side-hustle.

 

I know that there are management doctrines that employee productivity gets enriched due to such side-hustles. So, employees tend to get more productive.

 

The jury is out on what is the right dharma. My personal opinion converges at this stage of the debate is that one can be transparent and keep the employer informed. But with Gen Z and with new workplace values post-Covid, employees want to exert their suzerainty. It may depend on where the balance of power ultimately resides and that it may differ by companies and industry sectors.

 

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