What do the pandemic and moonlighting have in common?Posted by Wendell on January 28, 2022 at 3:35 am
In this week’s issue of The Cut Sheet, I talk a little bit about the effect on moonlighting since the pandemic began. Lots of surveyors started side hustles or even quit their jobs in favor of starting their own business. But this applies to all lines of work, not just surveying.
What are your thoughts about this? How has the pandemic changed your view of yourself, your business, or the industry as a whole?
- 31 Replies
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 4:25 am
Business-wise, the pandemic hasn’t affected me at all, beyond having to wear a mask in a handful of limited jobsite situations. Gross receivables and net income are both within the (fairly wide) range of pre-pandemic years. I work solo, so there haven’t been any disruptions to work processes.
It felt a little weird heading out to jobsites during the first part of 2020 when there was a stay-at-home order in place, but I concluded that I qualified as an “essential worker” — I do a lot of transportation and infrastructure work — and nobody challenged me on that.
I consider myself very lucky.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 5:38 am
@jim-frame What Jim said, exactly.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 6:11 am
If anyone wants to pick up extra cash by moonlighting to do some sort of additional work, more power to them, so long as they operate legally and ethically with respect to survey work. Everyone I know near me is turning down a ton of work because they can’t find additional help. I learned yesterday that a client I actually have on my list had contacted another firm because they think anyone else might get there sooner. They are dreaming. Had a guy call me three months ago wanting a survey complete within a week. Told him no way. Six to eight weeks out minimum. He went away. Saw that another firm did the job last week. That’s 11 weeks after he called me. I still have about eight plats to finish to catch up to the fieldwork that is complete. One of those was in September and one was in October. I have reviewed plats by others recently that go back as far as June for the field work.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 6:22 am
Does anyone need any intermediate to advanced cad work support!?!???
I’m no master drafter (and never want to be) but I’d be willing to take on overflow work with feeler rates to see how I can augment you and your operations while I’m going to school, working, and growing my base of experience.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 1:18 pm
Coincidentally, this month’s Civil Engineering magazine has an article entitled “Moonlighting without Employer’s Consent Raises Ethical Questions” by Tara Hoke.
In the article an engineer who does volunteer work for a local youth center is approached about a significant project. The engineer decides to take on the work as a “side” project, working only on weekends and after hours. The engineer’s employer does not have a formal moonlighting policy.
When problems arise the youth center sues everyone involved, including the engineer’s employer. The employer had no knowledge of the engineer’s moonlighting project, but the engineer had written letters to his client on the firm’s letterhead, thus a distinction could not be made.
Moonlighting employees must consider their responsibility to their employer.Historic Boundaries and Conservation Efforts
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 1:48 pm
It was busy before, but the pandemic sent business into overdrive.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 2:55 pm
@not-my-real-name The firm for whom I used to work had to institute and “no moonlighting” policy for essentially the same reason. The insurance company insisted on it. The policy said that you could moonlight as long as it did not involve ANY of the type of work that the company did. Using company equipment and/or company vehicle had always been a definite no no.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 3:25 pm
Again, we as an industry need to somehow limit our liability for this type of thing. If anyone moonlights, then the firm who employs this person shouldn’t be held responsible if the sh!t hits the fan. Who is lobbying for our protection from this?
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 3:31 pm
I’d love to do some CAD drafting on the side but my 9-5 gig doesn’t really allow any time for that. Boundary surveys are my favorite though I’ve done all kinds of surveys, from beginner to complex.
Been thinking about investing in my own CAD laptop with a license of C3d and putting some feelers out there to see what’s available. Sounds like a great way to spend an evening, a couple times a week, and make some extra $$ to boot.T. Nelson – SAM, LLC
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 3:33 pm
Writing letters on your full time employers letterhead. Now that takes balls. I hope his license went on vacation.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 7:34 pm
@squirl I did this for a few years for a small two man outfit, it brought in some good extra money. The quality of their work was horrendous and caused me to walk away, they would find two points and rotate the record data to them, different tract entirely, didn’t matter to them.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 7:50 pmPosted by: @k-huerth
they would find two points and rotate the record data to them, different tract entirely, didn’t matter to them.
What? You’re saying that they rotated a parcel onto field located monuments that aren’t the corner monuments for that parcel?
That’s quite and allegation. Or am I misunderstanding something here?
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 8:15 pm
I’d consider doing side work if I weren’t licensed and my employer were OK with it. I have a lot of technical skills that don’t require a license, and pay around here doesn’t even come close to the cost of living.
But I don’t really want to test the waters of how my work is construed if something were to go sideways with the moonlighting gig, nor do I want to have to figure out if I am competing with my employer every time I perform a task.
I guess I could do work for someone in a state where we don’t have a presence…“…people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.” -Neil Postman
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 8:35 pm
As it should be.
I’m not going to try to make money outside of my current gig with the equipment I’ve been delegated, that’s misappropriation, and theft. We are allowed with permission, and yeah I’m not able to stamp anything anyway so low level work is all I could do anyway.
But if you’re not paying attention and pay your employees poorly, expectations of them not moonlighting and just departing are to be expected.
I was mostly tongue in cheek because I’m busier than a one legged man in an @$$ kicking contest, and would like exposure to different drafting esp because the laptop I’ll be creating for my next purchase will beat the snot out of my overly regulated spy software infected corporate computer.
And I love who I work for so I’m not jeopardizing that for sure.
- MemberJanuary 28, 2022 at 8:58 pm
I honestly don’t know who or how. But something should be done about limiting our liability in a lot of areas.
Would a licensed plumber get sued if his employee did a side job and a pipe burst and caused $10k damage to someone’s house? I’ve no idea. My first guess is that they’d have no recourse, since they freely chose to hire an unlicensed plumber.
It should be the same for us. If someone chose to hire some technician to survey their lot under-the-table. Or even a licensed surveyor who worked on his own on weekends – has nothing to do with the company he works for
- MemberJanuary 29, 2022 at 12:43 am
What does the board define as “moonlighting”? As a licensed professional, you would have to be a bit off the ranch to do something with the trade that wasn’t the same standard, I’m supposing. Like, if you want to hire another stamp in the office as a part time augmentation, and you want to take the over arching liability, why could the board even approach that? Seems a bit over reaching. Doctors can practice in any facility they get privileges, and they do, and are liable individuals, but as a group same way. Seems like a good time to evaluate what the term moonlighting actually means, but it’s really about liability and upholding the standard of practice and minimum standards in the big picture.
When I get my LSIT registration, will I be bound by the no moonlighting clauses, as such I wouldn’t be licensed, but registered.
Legitimately curious, not just engaging in pugilistic banter for fun, but trying to determine what the issue is outside of misrepresentation of the service or something with license liability avoidance.
Unlicensed work gets done all the time by people, and the consumers whom hire people knowingly to get lower prices get what they deserve, and if a licensed professional of anything is the provider, I believe they get sanctioned and or suspended or even revoked.
Interesting dialogue here for sure.
- MemberJanuary 29, 2022 at 12:48 am
And no, unless the employee took company truck supplies uniform and misrepresented for the work, and even then the intent of the actual activity is beyond the control of the owner. That’s what “the lawyers” get all engaged with(yes I am pushing my luck with all my ‘the lawyers’ jabs) because they have time to do that. IANAL.
- MemberJanuary 29, 2022 at 1:04 am
You may suddenly be “unneeded” by your current employer.
- MemberJanuary 29, 2022 at 4:38 pm
Moonlighting is old school jargon.
The new term is ??side hustle,? a job which pays a pittance in exchange for using up your stuff, vehicle, and mental health.
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