Moonlighting: It Started With The Great Resignation, Then Came Quiet Quitting, And Now Moonlighting: Is There An Underlying Connection?

The employment sector has undergone a huge change over the past year. While the pandemic has introduced us to concepts such as remote working, hybrid working and working from home, the post-pandemic situation has its own list of terminologies to offer. Buzzwords like Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Moonlighting have become trending talking points. And employers and employees often disagree on each of these employment trends.

Today, many employees are ready to seize new opportunities, develop themselves and change careers. More importantly, they value work-life balance more than ever. And in response to this sea change in the way employees want to work, start-ups as well as corporate giants have been forced to rethink and reform their policies.

Let’s dig a little deeper to find out how these trends affect the employment sector and if they are related to each other.

How did Great Resignation transition to Quiet Quitting?

In 2021, while people were still grappling with the consequences of the pandemic, their work-life balance began to disintegrate and work pressure increased. With some choosing to quit rather than give in to the pressure, the economic trend called the great quit began, which further wreaked havoc across several industries globally. Salary stagnation, burnout and dissatisfaction were the most common reasons cited by disgruntled employees. And let’s not forget how the work-from-home setup has given many the time and opportunity to rethink and even rebuild their career paths.

Another trend this year that has managed to grab everyone’s attention and split the business sector in half is silent abandonment. We all know how much GenZ people value their mental and physical well-being, and that’s exactly why they popularized the trend of quietly quitting on all of their social media platforms.

Quitting quietly is about doing the bare minimum, setting strict limits, avoiding unnecessary workloads, and refusing to go beyond the basic job description. Unlike Great Resignation, you don’t quit your job outright, you simply stop promoting and participating in the unrest culture.


Here’s a quick example of how it works


Administrator: Hey, I just emailed you with everything you need to do before you start your leave.

Employee: Hi, I won’t be able to finish them all before I leave tomorrow, so which ones have priority?

Administrator: All. Everything is urgent.

Employee: Well, if everything is urgent, then nothing is urgent.

Administrator: Look, I don’t care if you have to stay late, take your laptop on vacation with you and do them.

Employee: Your emergencies do not suddenly become my emergencies. I’ll finish what I can before I leave. Toodaloo!

Many of us find such interactions in the short videos of Loe Whaley aka Laura Whaley on Instagram/Youtube very relevant. This blogger uses irony and humor to highlight the struggles of employees in the corporate sector, and also explains how to “professionally” say no to a task that is not part of your job description. Like her, many bloggers are using social media to promote the idea of ​​rejecting hustle culture altogether.


Now, the relationship between these two trends?


Quite obviously, silent surrender is a passive version of great resignation. And it is rightly pointed out that the first is the next phase of the second. In a silent shutdown, you stop going the extra mile and start valuing your own well-being, without “legally” breaking company code.

Quiet Quitting → Moonlighting – The chain reaction continues, but how?

Another term that has emerged recently and is gradually gaining momentum is ‘black work’. It refers to the practice of taking on a second job after completing your regular working hours. Simply put, engaging in side activities without quitting your full-time job.

The work-from-home pattern that has become normalized during the pandemic is seen as the main reason for the development of this phase of dual or multiple employment. People have engaged in such practices, without even being aware of the existence of these terms or the serious consequences they can bring.

As silent abandonment gained acceptance, moonlighting became even more prevalent. People have found a way to use their free time, effort, and energy to monetize a number of part-time opportunities simultaneously.

According to a report by Indiatimes, a Chennai woman took to LinkedIn to share her experience of how she came across a ‘job trifecta’.

Screenshot 2022-10-20 104756Agencies

This is a true example of moonlighting, where you perform all your jobs with equal dedication and efficiency.

However, the whole concept of moonlighting has sparked polarizing views and opinions. While startups like Swiggy announced the inclusion of the moonlighting policy in their employment contract, renowned tech companies like Wipro and Infosys took a stand against it. These companies have issued warnings that such practices may result in permanent termination of the contract. Several industry veterans strongly believe that in the current post-pandemic era, moonlighting can be problematic and will severely affect long-term productivity levels.

The bottom line

Each employment trend has its own list of pros and cons. Whether he is right or wrong is up to you. While great resignation, silent quits and moonlighting have helped employers understand the paradigm shift in employee demands, the need for moderation in actions cannot be ignored. Following these trends is not a betrayal of your employer, as long as you don’t violate company policies. But the company won’t let productivity levels be compromised at any cost.

So, in a situation like this where a change in all aspects is the need of the hour, employees and employers should strengthen the line of communication, leaving no room for misunderstandings. In addition, companies must recognize the efforts of employees, recognize their talents, build their confidence and offer them fair compensation in order to retain them.

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