One reader writes:
Is there any way to find out if someone has a second full-time remote job on the side?
A good friend has a problem with one of his co-workers. Members of his team believe that an underperforming colleague, let’s call her Ariel, has a second full-time job.
She joined the full remote team at the end of last year. Her co-workers have observed a pattern of frequently looking at a second laptop during video calls (the company did not provide her with this device), turning the camera on and off all the time, and appearing to speak while muted even though she was is alone and she denies all this behavior that was asked about. Also, she generally cannot remember the most basic information about where team documents are. Your manager is working to document the issues and put together a PIP for Ariel.
Ariel also doesn’t list her role in the company on her LinkedIn or mention the company (although she’s quite active on the platform).
In the context of a fairly well known company in the Bay Area with all the perks, benefits and a six figure compensation package that comes with it. I fully understand those who are forced to do multiple full-time jobs to make ends meet when our minimum wage is miserable and unsustainable in most places across the country!
I’m curious to see if there is any advice or steps my friend could or should take to address the strange behavior outside of the PIP, especially when his other coworkers raise their concerns and speculate that she may have a second full-time job.
I can’t think of any way to prove someone else had another full-time job unless they post it on LinkedIn or other social media (which would be incredibly short-sighted) or when you find them listed as an employee (like someone else’s website Company or in a press release announcing the hiring).
But you don’t really have to. If Ariel is not paying attention to meetings, storing information, and generally doing a poor job, your manager can and should be frank about all of this. You mentioned that your friend is working on documenting the issues and putting together an improvement plan, which is good – but ideally they would today, with relatively little time for improvement. It shouldn’t be something that goes on for months.
He can also address problems immediately when they arise. If Ariel keeps looking at something else during video calls, he can say, “Ariel, it looks like you’re distracted – can we have your full attention?” recommend; people are allowed to be distracted sometimes! It’s specific to what’s going on here.) If she keeps falling in front of the camera or speaks in silence when no one else is around, he can call and say to her right after the meeting : “You kept putting the camera down and speaking in silence – what’s going on?” And / or “Is there anything else during our working hours that draws your attention?” By calling her every time, he can really tell her make it uncomfortable to keep doing it. (And if it turns out that there is another, less shameful, reason for it, this gives you an opportunity to explain.)
He could just… ask directly. Not necessarily “Do you work part time?” But there is no reason not to say, “I feel that your attention is divided during the work day and that this affects your work. What’s up?”
And if her work is not good, he of course has to speak to her regularly, ask about the topics, review her work with great commitment, give feedback and coaching and decide sooner rather than later whether it makes sense whether she stays in the job or not .
I understand that it would be easier if he could simply prove that she had another job at the same time, as his company would likely view this as an immediate dismissal offense and he would not have to go through the progressive levels of discipline that would otherwise be required. But by managing them Yes, really active he can probably solve this pretty quickly anyway.