should you disclose it if there's no conflict of interest?
Whomever is paying me is paying me to do a job. They don't own my life, my free time, or my hobbies. If they don't understand or support that, I wouldn't bother going forward with them as it's simply not the kind of culture I would want anything to do with.
Also, to the person who wrote about external income needing to be documented with a ton of paperwork... if you are in the US, what about US Reserve military members (which is a protected status)? Adjunct faculty positions? Seems like the employer should not have any say on that kind of income.
Previously having worked in myriad startups and startup-like environments, you'll get anything from "What you do in your free time is your business" up to the classic "We own all IP created by you during employment." For the latter, I always start by asking if that includes open-source work as I do some from time-to-time. This is an easy way to engage them about the policy without coming off as overly combative, and one can work from there if there are concerns regarding side-projects.
A young me once inquired about open-source contributions, and was shocked with an angry email from the CTO blathering on about how he has grave doubts about my fit and dedication to the success of the company if I'm concerned about outside work. The hiring manager immediately jumped in and defused, clarifying that open-source is seen as a good thing at the company and it was a simple mixup. Suffice to say that was a red-flag I should've heeded.
> Usually the new companies are SaaS that replace part of our needed logic and cost us less to use than our ex coworker salary.
Its a win-win to have the company as the new founders first customer too.
I personally would be highly suspicious of any startup that was trying this while simultaneously offering or paying you a below market wage. If a company wants your attention they should pay to hold it, not threaten your job because you take a side job to make more money or have a hobby.
Another similar policy to this is the "assignment of all inventions", related and unrelated to the company, done on or off company time and even done using personal equipment. Again, some states prevent this, and even in states that don't have specific laws preventing it, generally I have seen the legal system is remiss to allow employers these wide unfettered control over peoples private lives.
Also, this is a reason you should write down every thought, idea or actual stuff you have worked on as excluded works before signing any document about inventions, non-compete etc. While I 100% disagree with the concept of these policies, there are ways around them almost all the time if you plan ahead.
This is also always something up for negotiation when you are being hired. The companies first response is almost always well this is the only way we hire anyone, and your response to that is what matters. It is also your first look at what the company really thinks of employees, if they care they'll figure a way to work with you, assuming you aren't being unreasonable yourself. If they are there to use you as a cog then they'll say no to all reasonable requests and that should be your warning sign to walk. I had people tell me you can't get more vacation back in the day when 2 weeks was the norm in the U.S. for all new employees. And here I'd be hired and have 4 weeks the first year and people were pissed cause they didn't negotiate it. Those are policies written by people, not laws of nature, it is all on the table you just have to work a little and be brave enough to push a little.
*edit -- fixed a spelling mistake and a repetitive word
This is such a big grab, I don't understand why they limit to inventions. Shouldn't they also demand assignment of all creative work so that if you write a novel on your own time and equipment they can collect all the royalties?
It's legalize. It depends on the language in the contract, but it usually includes everything under the sun, including creative works like books.
Sometimes there is a clarification for anything that can be related to your work, my current employer does that, but I've seen others without that. Which basically says they own you and everything you do or even think while employed by them.
Inventions is usually defined in the contract itself and does not necessarily apply to patentable things.
This is just my personal experience, so take it for what it's worth, though I do have a fair amount of experience with contracts and non-competes.
Some places do. I once worked for a UK business that was taken over by a US one. The difference in mindset between the original management team and the new one was nowhere more evident than in the one-sided IP terms they tried to introduce into everyone's contract and the laughable defence of this made by the corporate VP who was effectively taking over the top job. IIRC it was something about how they nurture their staff and deliver pots of gold to the end of their personal rainbows by unicorn ferry and all they ask in return is everything you ever create and your mortal soul, though the memory is fuzzy and it's possible that I added a couple of those details later.
This is one that drives me insane, and I just won't touch a company that is doing this as it is unreasonable and so evil to me. But sadly a lot of startup legal firms put this in their standard IP documents for employees to sign and if you don't catch it you can be screwed.
As an employee, I’ve had everything from ‘we could care less’, to ‘don’t program when you’re not at work’, to ‘we own every single thing you do, dream or think about.’
As a condition of investment, many investors require that companies have blanket IP ownership over their employees brains.
If there is value you generate that doesn't go into your job, that's an inefficiency managers would be obligated by their role to optimize out. The good ones would probably rather not know, the worst will using monitoring and surveillance to find out if there is some additional leverage they can use against you.
On your way into a job, redline the contract so that any IP ownership clauses are narrowly defined to the domain of the work so that if your fanfic novel or interpretive dance show becomes an international phenomenon, your employer doesn't get an option on the profits.
Be in a position to negotiate those contract clauses on your way into a job, which means, don't be unemployed, and always maintain a pipeline of opportunities when you have a job. Regarding the recruiters, you aren't wasting anyone's time, they can only waste their own with unappealing offers, so keep those conversations open.
In all the organizations I've been in, the approach to moonlighting was don't ask, don't tell.
That is not a managers job, and it has 0 to do with the results they're going to achieve. I've seen this behavior & it's associated psychoses, but it's been rare and again, it is literally psychotic behavior that should not be normalized.
Manager's job is to focus on making their team members' 8 hours the most effective that they can be. Any manager that isn't focusing on that is basically choosing to have worse results with more animosity.
My understanding is they have full restriction. I have to ask for permission to do any paid work, even completely unrelated, like working a bar at a festival. They claim copyright on anything produced during my period of employment, which to me seems bordeline inhuman.
They encourage open source work, but I think they can ask to have the company name in the copyright / license section if they feel so inclined.
My impression is they don't really enforce it, it is more a blanket access for if I do completing work, they don't need a second opinion to be right.
I still think that it is completely insane, but my union says it is normal.
There's also an important distinction between work done during the period of someone's employment and work done in the course of someone's employment, if you're using the terminology common in the UK and I think various other English-speaking legal systems. The latter is, IME, commonly accepted as a reasonable standard, and roughly speaking means anything you do on work time or using work resources belongs to work. The former is a much broader claim and potentially includes anything independent of work as well, and is the red flag that should give any prospective employee pause.
I read it as the former, and it did give me pause, but my union said, that is to be expected and I pay them money to complain on my behalf, so ...
The thing you mention about potentially violating working hour regulations makes sense.
I should also note that I don't have a none-compete. When I quit I can immediately start at any competing consultancy or even client. It's not all bad
Hobby: Not allowed to do anything similar to what employer does. Got an official opinion from legal that employer programs, working on a videogame mod is programming (although employer does not program videogames), so therefore I'm not allowed to work on a videogame mod. I'm not certain the employee manual agrees with the official opinion from legal, but I'm not really in a position to be able to disagree.
So, well, no side gigs. It's just something you have to agree to for this job, and it's a good job, so such is life. Maybe you could do it and hope they don't find out, but they have clear documented grounds to fire you if they do, so why risk a good job?
At least there isn't any non-compete. If I don't like the rules, I can always quit and go work somewhere else. Before this west coast job, every prior programming job I had was on the east coast and involved some sort of non-compete agreement (they tended to be slightly limited, like you can't work at these 5 competitors or you can't leave to work for a client, but 'slightly limited' can actually be highly limiting when those 5 competitors are the best employers for your specific expertise).
Don’t trust anything the company lawyer says. They work for the company, not you. They will lie to you to protect the company.
“Everything you do is property of company” has never held up in court and is just legal bullying. If you’re not actually stealing company IP and using it at a competitor it’s all BS.
video game mods? Unless the company is a video game studio that’s a croc of shit.
So, sure, I would own the videogame mod if I did it on my own time with my own resources. But I could also be out of a job. Being right but unemployed doesn't sound comforting - I like the job, and they've been up front about the terms, and I'd rather quit if I find them sufficiently unacceptable than risk being fired.
It actually looks like moonlighting is officially protected here, but conflicts are still disallowed, so I guess it's possible it could end up in court debating whether programming is a conflict. I already have the opinion of one side in writing (yes, it is a conflict, they claim), but at least it might be debatable.
Still, not particularly anxious to end up in court arguing that somebody should be forced to continue employing me after I did something they told me not to do on the grounds that they shouldn't have told me not to do it... complicated mess.
Having friends who are business lawyers, I asked them how is this fair. They said 90% of the time people who ask these questions are time wasters, and legal departments are so used to it that they send generic canned response initially. If someone is serious they will continue conversation, hopefully, also get their own attorney. Or they will just do it like most of the founders we read about.
* Be a competitor (in a big company, determining if you are one is harder than it seems, as they have so many projects)
* Use company time or resources in side gigs – even answering the cellphone to talk to a customer would qualify
* Also, the side job cannot negatively impact my position
There may be more things in the small print, but that's essentially what you have to follow. They do not care about other sources of income, side projects do not have to be disclosed.
The reasoning is that one 40 hour job is enough to depelt a worker - if you do a side gig you won't be able to put in the same quality work in your job.
Not if your side project leads to a lucrative startup and your former employer's lawyers decide some tenuous connection to your former position makes it related work and claim the IP. In that case, it is definitely better not to have signed a bad contract in the first place.
Of all the aspects of employment contracts, IP rights might be the number one area where anyone working in a creative industry should have a real lawyer review their contract before signing. Companies sometimes do some really scummy things to their staff, and even if you're happy that the people you're joining today are fair and reasonable, you typically have absolutely no guarantee about who will buy the business out later and whether they will continue to view your contractual obligations the same way.
If I'd want to start monetizing a side project, I do have to report it, but as long as there's no conflict of interest they're fine with it.
Plenty of people are pretty open about moonlighting and side businesses and no one seems to have a problem with it. A number of people have left on good terms to work full time on their side businesses. It rubs people the wrong way when some of those side businesses started poaching employees, but doesn't seem like any legal action has ever been taken.
If you do have a neat offer that would compete(or any good and realistic idea/offer), you can bring it to the company, get proper support and start a new project with you as project manager(or you can get a dedicated one if you feel like it).
For now i do work salaried, but i plan to swap to being paid by results, not time.
Also - whole of IT gets a some free time for personal projects on Fridays.
I typically ignore their crap and do things i want and feel i need and care about. Carefully threading the waters and knowing not to step on landmines.
Works wonders and serves me very well.
Ok that was snarky...but generally there are a lot of restrictions on outside tech-related projects where I am (and in some cases even non-tech-related but tangentially related to our industry), both monetized and not.
You’ve let people bully and manipulate you if you’re worried about what your employer will think.
CEO of startup 2 employers back was anal about it. Proved to be tard down the road in other ways too.
They're usually very reasonable about it, despite what you would expect from a company that covers so much ground.
I'm not sure exactly the definition of external income in my case, but I know external employment counts and I've also heard coworkers brush off 1-off side gigs because they'd have to fill out paperwork.
The companies recourse here is to terminate you for violating company policy, which could open them up to a wrongful termination suit for trying to enforce a policy that may or may not be legal in that state. The company suing the person in this case has no value nor any outcome where it is a net positive for the company, and the company knows that and they just hope you don't.
I work for a municipal service. It's conflict-of-interest compliance.
In short, it absolutely is their beeswax.