What does Moonlighting mean?

Moonlighting refers to working a second job in addition to one's full-time employment, generally at night. The goal of moonlighting may be to supplement one's regular salary and wages with additional money for part-time work or to learn another skill or develop the expertise to move into a field. For example, some workers may teach during the day and work at night as a waiter.

Benefits of Moonlighting

Research suggests there could be as many as four million Americans currently moonlighting. Workers do it for a variety of reasons: to pay off debt, save money for a trip or car, to make ends meet, to meet new people or to move into a new field of employment.

Moonlighters suggest there are many benefits. For instance, many workers argue moonlighting gives them a good way to expand their horizons, learn about a new subject, or increase their employment opportunities. Others love the opportunity to expand or improve their skills, which could potentially help them with career advancements in their current position. Other workers argue the main benefit is to broaden their employment network and break into a new industry before deciding whether to spend extra money for an advanced degree.

Disadvantages of Moonlighting

Regardless of why you decide to moonlight, it can also have its disadvantages. The biggest downside to moonlighting is it can steal your free time and jeopardize your work-life balance. Now, instead of working an eight hour day and spending time with your friends or family you may work twelve to fourteen hours per day and have little time to rejuvenate and relax.

There could also be financial disadvantages. For instance, the extra time and effort you spend trying to generate extra income may not be worth the extra money, especially when you calculate the cost of employment such as uniforms, travel, child care expenses, and incidentals. Additionally, some employers may prohibit moonlighting, which means if you decide to do it anyway and you do not tell your employer, you could be jeopardizing your full-time employment.

Finally, it is important to consider the tax ramifications of taking a second job, especially if you are on the edge of one tax bracket and the additional work increases your tax liability. In this case it is likely the little income you could generate will not justify the added tax liability.

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