Kaieteur News – The hustle is on. From top to bottom of our social structure, persons are on the bustle seeking to make an extra dollar.
It is not only the small man that is on the hustle. Senior officials of government and in the private sector also are moonlighting – having a second or third job in addition to their regular employment.
There are persons who leave their workplace at 4:30 pm and clock in at another workplace for another shift. There are persons who when they leave their workplaces, they get into their cars and work special hire, even to the point of going to the car and bus parks to solicit passengers, and all for the extra dollar and to ensure that they are able to pay their bills.
And you can bet the bills come like clockwork each month. Some persons have mortgages on their homes, loans to their cars, hire purchase arrangements on their furniture and household appliances; they have to find money for extra lessons for their children; and many still throw a little box-hand when the weekends come.
The hustle is on. There are government workers who do private odd jobs on the weekend to make an extra dollar. There are policemen who work for private businesses on their day-off and during their off-hours. There are persons employed in private firms who do part-time jobs with other private firms unknown to their regular employers.
The hustle knows no occupational distinction when it comes to moonlighting. From the common labourer to the specialist doctor, persons are having second or third jobs – conflict of interest or no conflict of interest; permission granted or no permission obtained.
One day I turned up at a private hospital to seek medical attention. I asked to see a named doctor and was told that he would not be in until after lunch. The receptionist explained that that particular doctor only works after lunch.
I went back after lunch and was told that I was early. The receptionist said, “He comes in after 2pm during his lunch hour.”
I was taken aback and asked whether he worked somewhere else. “Yes,” she replied. He works at the public hospital.”
“Late lunch hour!” I said.
I was told stories of high political figures that left their private practice to take up public office. Or so the public thought because in reality they never ceased their private practice. They would hire their colleagues in government office and these colleagues would be assigned to do their private work, on taxpayers’ time and money. Now that is a disreputable hustle.
There are doctors employed in the private sector who work also in the public sector. Many of them do not need the income from their government jobs. They earn millions through private practice. But the public practice provides them with a duty free concession on a motor vehicle but more importantly with the advertisement which can enhance their private practice.
There are private doctors who work at one private hospital and then would refer you for tests at places in which they have a personal interest. It is all part of the hustle.
Long ago, those types of practices would not be condoned. Husband and wife could not work in the same bank. Someone had to resign. Even for common labourers there were strict rules. I know of someone who worked as a handyman in a private company and on weekends he used to sell produce in the market. His time as an itinerant vendor was stressful because he always had to be looking over his shoulder to see if anyone from his workplace would be in the market and would see that he was vending. The company with which he worked did not allow moonlighting.
But today, people are doing what they please. The rules and regulations, which used to be in place to guard against conflicts of interest, double-dipping and using one’s employers’ time and resources to do ‘outside’ work, are not enforced.
The hustle is on. It cannot be stopped because many of those who are supposed to prevent it are doing the same thing.
So when next you go into a business and notice someone sleeping on the job, do not assume they had a late night. It could well be that they were moonlighting elsewhere and are simply catching up on sleep.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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