A Linkedin post shared by Canopy CEO Davis Bell sparks controversy over the growing trend of moonlighting, secretly working 2 full-time jobs at the same time.
The post went viral on Friday after Bell revealed that Canopy, a midsize software company based in Utah, recently fired 2 engineers secretly working multiple full-time jobs simultaneously.
Overemployment has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and some say it saves them up to $600,000 per year during a period of record inflation and rising housing prices.
“To me, this isn’t a fun new social trend,” Bell writes. “It’s a new form of theft and deceptionand it’s not something an honest and ethical person would engage in.”
The post sparked backlash across multiple sectors of the internet, including the anti-work community on Reddit, in which some users claim CIOs like Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk are praised for working at multiple companies at the same time, while that normal workers are punished. for that. Others suggest that engineers could work 2 jobs to make ends meet.
In an interview with Business Intern, Bell ensures that the comments made in this sense misrepresent the situation of his company. What’s more, he adds that someone upset by the post even called him on his cell phone and told him he wished the CEO “died in a car crash.”
“Highly paid engineers from big tech companies who come to Utah because now we’re offering this remote work experience, they get the job and they don’t work. It’s not ideal anywhere,” he says. “But it’s really detrimental in a medium or very small tech company.”
Bell also points out that it’s not fair to compare these specific employees to low-income people who work more in retail or night shifts to pay for basic necessities like food and clothing.
“These are people who work for a very, very large tech company, so they are known to be well paid therehe says, noting that laid-off engineers earned between $130,000 and $140,000 at Canopy, in addition to their other full-time jobs. “I think it’s pretty clear that they were just looking for an extra stream of income without really doing a whole lot of work.”
According to Bell, Canopy discovered that the first engineer was secretly working a second full-time job after 2.5 months of poor performance reported by the engineer’s teammates.
After repeatedly missing meetings, not completing work, and constantly turning off his camera, the employee was called into a meeting with Human Resources to discuss the issues. Shortly after, the company realized that the engineer’s Linkedin profile had been changed to private and that Canopy was not listed as his current job.
According to Bell, this led Canopy to send an employment verification request to the engineer’s former boss, who revealed that in fact, still working there.
The second engineer showed similar red flags even before starting work, Bell says, and was told directly by human resources that the company was not okay with the full-time dual job. A request for employment verification quickly revealed that his hunch was correct, despite the engineer’s initial denial.
The two employees confessed to the ruse after being questioned with evidence, explains the general manager to Business Intern.
Bell considers having 2 synchronized 9-to-5 jobs to be different from having a side job or moonlighting, adding that many Canopy employees have multiple sources of passive income or passion projects. The CEO himself is also an angel investor in a startupa job he says takes him about an hour a month.
Meanwhile, some see overemployment as an act of protest against a capitalist system that they believe exploits workers. An argument which, for Bell, is “something bigger” than his company.
“It’s like entering the heart of Western capitalism,” he explains to Business Intern. “When you do that, you’re taking someone else’s job. You’re also hurting the people you work with because they’re responsible for the results and end up working more.”