Moonlighting will overturn old models of work
- This is an age of employee entrepreneurs in which captive models will fail.
The word ‘moonlighting’ has many purported origins. The US version is from Cora Steward’s literacy classes for impoverished Kentucky coal miners, but only on nights with enough moonlight so they could find their way there. The Australian version is of cattle thieves who stole cattle at night under the light of the moon, while the Irish version comes from the 1880s, with ‘moonlighters’ being gangs that operate at night committing burglary. I suspect Rishad Premji, Wipro’s chairman, would agree wholeheartedly with the latter two versions. Calling moonlighting at work “cheating—plain and simple", his company sacked 300 people for doing so. Infosys promptly sent employees an email with the warning “No two-timing, no moonlighting", though recent reports suggest a change in heart (bit.ly/3TwD7E6). TCS’s COO made an apoplectic assessment, saying that the “IT industry could fall apart" due to it. Tech Mahindra’s CEO was more sanguine, saying “it was necessary to change with the times". Swiggy went further, bringing out a moonlighting policy.