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November 29, 2007



Most bosses would be fine if you have a side business as long as it doesn't compete with or interfere with your job.

I suggest reading Marci Alboher's column, Shifting Careers, in the New York Times where she talks to many people people who have multiple careers (AKA "Slashers").

Melany Friedlander

I sympathize. Prior to quitting my law job yesterday (woo hoo!), I felt like I had to be secretive about my private practice on the side. But it just didn't feel right. When I finally spilled the beans, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Granted, it took me a while to build up to it. I used a gradual approach, initially referring to my hypnotherapy practice as a "hobby."
Keep in mind that you're not obligated to reveal anything. What you do on your own time is your business (literally)! My advice is to ask yourself the following:
1. Why do you want to tell them about your business? By getting clear on the answer to this question, I think you'll have a better idea of what approach to use when telling your boss.
2. Is your side business interfering with your job?
If not, why should your bosses feel threatened? When you let go of any preconceived notions about the reactions you'll get, you may be surprised at how it frees you up to think outside the box. What about integrating the two businesses (by offering up your cakes for company gatherings,etc.).Good luck!

Mary Tezak

This is not a simple answer. It does depend on a number of issues. 1) What type of boss do you have? One that would most likely answer say "great go for it" or would they respond with "how will this impact on your work?". If you feel you need to tell them, and yes you don't want them to find out from someone else, make it short and specific. Wait for a response and then decide it you want to tell them more.
Also, FYI, co-workers, you will find people are funny this way, some will be supportive and just as many with be jealous - so you may want to be selective in who you tell and what your telling them.
Good Luck - Hope this has helped!

Jenny Yerrick Martin

As someone who has a corporate job in HR and has a busy side business, I would recommend not saying anything, but not hiding it. Treat it like you would a hobby. If/when your boss finds out, you can say, "I didn't say anything because I do it outside of work." Telling your boss to me implies that you think it will impact work.

Ria Moore Benedict

I suggest NOT telling your boss until you absolutely have to, which (hopefully)will be on your way out the door! That being said - you could ask for a leave of absence for personal reasons to develop your business further if your job and business are conflicting, which is what I did. I was an attorney in a regulations office but did not fully disclose what I was doing to my boss until I was ready to leave the organization. I took a leave of absence in May of this year to focus on my business and myself. Also, like someone else mentioned, it is true that many people will become uncomfortable with you because of your belief that you create your life rather than believing that life happens to you. Therefore, it is best to limit the number of individuals who know about your business. Even then, it is an intense time for you so make sure the people who do know are huge supporters.

Linda Green

It depends on your manager and their maturity level.

If your manager knew, will they change the way they interact with you? Will they give you a lower raise because they know you are making money from another source? Would they question your professionalism when you are out sick (for real) instead of thinking that you are out so you can run your business?

These are the things that I ran into with one manager who knew about my outside business as I helped her with a personal situation that was related to my outside business.

Unfortunately for me (at that time - 7 years ago) it cost me my job. I was terminated for job abandonment because my manager thought I was out running my business instead of being sick (was in the hospital, and parents called in for me; my manager considered that unprofessional). I knew then this was going to be a perception problem.

Today, I don't let my manager know because you just don't know what will make them respond to you differently once they find out.

However, if they find out because someone wrote an article about you. Then GREAT because you are on your way and they will definitely see you in a different light. Just be prepare has your business starts to take off.

Best of Luck,
Linda Green
We Invest In You Inc

Brenda Robinson

I recently told my firm director and the executive director of the law firm I work for of my side business. I felt as you, that I needed to be honest about what I was doing with my time. First I told my firm director. She knew it was a dream to start a greeting card line utilizing children's art, so she was not surprised and gave me a few ideas. I contacted the executive director after that and told her I needed to speak to her. I went to our meeting with my business card and a paper with the mission statement of my company on it. She read it and saw an opportunity to advice our clients through my company. we brainstormed for a while. I really believe that it depends on the environment in your office as to how your bosses will respond. Start by bringing in cake and telling your co-workers of your dream. Then, go to your bosses next(of course, with cake in hand).

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