Former Microsoft HR Vice President asserts that managers do not possess ownership over employees’ lives, contends that holding multiple jobs is a widespread practice


Chris Williams, the former Vice President of Human Resources at Microsoft, advocates for individuals to have the freedom to hold multiple jobs. He emphasizes that employers do not have ownership over their employees’ lives, asserting that activities outside of office hours are “none of their business

Last year, major tech corporations such as Wipro, Infosys, and TCS issued warnings to their employees, forbidding them from engaging in moonlighting. Moonlighting refers to the practice of taking on a secondary job alongside a full-time position for additional financial gains. This practice is often frowned upon, as many companies believe that their employees should exclusively dedicate their work to them.

Contrary to this perspective, Chris Williams, former Vice President of Human Resources at Microsoft, argues that employees should not be restricted from pursuing multiple jobs, asserting that companies do not “own their employees’ lives.”

In an article authored for Business Insider, Williams highlights that working multiple jobs has been a longstanding aspect of the working world, deeply ingrained in the success stories of many individuals. He emphasizes the unrealistic nature of managers expecting exclusive dedication of their employees’ time. Williams contends that employers should not intervene in their employees’ lives outside of working hours.

Addressing managers’ reactions, Williams emphasizes the significance of their response to employees with multiple jobs. While acknowledging concerns about employees working for competitors, he suggests that restrictions can be enforced in such cases. However, for those seeking additional income without impacting their primary work, Williams notes various managerial reactions.

He cautions against overreactions leading to perceived disloyalty or an increase in workload, which could diminish overall performance. Instead, Williams advocates for managers to celebrate and acknowledge employees’ successes in their secondary endeavors. By recognizing and rewarding such achievements, employers can foster a positive environment, potentially reducing the significance of the secondary job for the employee.

In conclusion, Williams advises managers to approach the situation with a positive attitude and grace when learning that an employee is engaged in additional employment. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the fair exchange between employer and employee, where time is given for results, and anything beyond that is not within the employer’s purview. A smart leader, according to Williams, strives to make the situation mutually beneficial.

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