Consulting while working full time
I've been consulting the past year or so while I actively avoid getting a full time position. But, a very interesting opportunity for a full time job has arisen recently, and it's one that is too good to not, at least, consider.
One of my consulting jobs has been particularly good to me, and I don't want to leave them in a lurch. I'd like to continue consulting for them on the side if I take this full time job, and I'm wondering how common that is. I know the answer to this question is likely to be that it's fine provided the employer says that it is fine, but I'm wondering how common a situation this is to understand how big an ask it is.
The positions are sufficiently different that there is absolutely no overlap in the fields or the therapeutics; these companies will not be in any sort of competition whatsoever. I'd be able to do the consulting hours on my own time (mornings, evenings and weekends).
Anyone have any experience with this?
I had a similar situation. When I changed companies, a company that I worked for at the previous company asked me if I would/could consult with them. The consulting was in the specialty chemicals field, and the company that I had moved to was in biosafety testing, so there was no overlap. I went to the CEO (my supervisor) and explained the situation - no conflict between the companies, I would only consult on my own time, etc. The upshot was that I was allowed to consult in the specialty chemical space.
I think that the issue is that there is full disclosure to your employer and to the client.
i recommend you weight your priorities career wise vs. obligation to a client also.
Yes, the employer will weigh in as you noted as will your hiring manager and it depends what is expected of your job. If your new job at a certain job level, where the expectation is that your commitment not defined by a 40 hour work week that is measured but by your dedication to get the job done and that may mean working beyond that or being available during so called off-hours then you have a conflict.
In my job for example, i'm at the level where in no way, irrespective of my desire to consult in a separate field would I be able or allowed to so by virtue of my management level and responsibility and accoutablity. I'm also smart and intelligent enough to know the two worlds of me pursuing independent work does not meld and cannot meld. So there is some intelligence that is needed also when taking that desision to ask for that. You would need to factor in your responsiblity, the expecation for the role, and link that with some basic common sense on whether you should stir it up. So some internal soul search on what is you want and does your current situation allow?
Some employers will have specifications and provisions for this in the employement contract and of course the hiring manager taking a decision if provision allows - the hiring manager may not want someone distracted. You have to decide if that 40 hour legal in for work hours that maybe in your contract is a hard 40 hours or is something that is there for a legal reason with an expectation to deliver if necessary above and beyond that when needed. Again, have the intelligence to make that judgement call.
(note to edit): look at your vacation days, are you at a level where you are compesated automatically for over time work linked to job level? For me, because it is legally established I am an above 40 hour weekly FTE, I get an automatic 10 vacation days on top of my vacation package. one level below me gets 5. and so on, if you have that, then that's also a sign, best you not pursue indepedenant work.
We have done something like this. So my partner has somehting on the side and her employer let her pursue it, provided but it was separate and to ensure that there was no financial conflict, she noted it was pro-bono work she was doing. The company even allowed her do her probono work for the company itself in addition to her job, for other company employees. And recently took a move to pursue independent work for finanacial gain while taking a work reduction - this was endorsed by the company. She can still do pro-bono work for the company. Though a bit different, still indepedent work, and agreed - her employer is a top 5 pharma by revenue (and well established name).
So take a judgement call on how that important that is. Understand that there may be an expectation for work load and conduct that may above what you think. Are you salaeried employ that not defined by the hour (like me). If you're a junior employee in your role then maybe you have more chance but if not and you're in a leadership/managerial role or have signatory/authority powers then..well reconsider.
Understand how you will manage balance, i.e will your client want you to travel and meeting during hours your permant employer would expect your are working, cause do know, doing indepedent work on company time will get your fired, deservingly so.
Good luck, can be done but weight it and so your "benefit risk" analysis. May not be too smart to do something in a related field (another pharma or even pharma client) .
One other potential issue is that of intellectual property. It is virtually certain that your contract with your employer assigns any IP that you develop to them; consulting contracts generally contain a similar clause. If you are in a position unlikely to develop IP, there is little or no problem (in my case, the consulting was in business strategy and business development - unlikely to generate IP), but if you are involved in product development, this could lead to a potentially sticky situation. I would suggest that you get this issue resolved in writing.
I don't think it's all that common. I know we'll find others, the examples above are good ones from others, but it's still not that prevalent. I've heard of such things and the IP issue and making it all clear from the beginning are the important items. But in the hundreds of deals that I've structured for executives over the years, I can only remember one where this came up. It wasn't a problem for that person either, as it was cleared in advance. But if your question, Ken, is "How often does this happen" I really don't think it is a common scenario.
Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
Bio Careers Forum
To emphasize Dave's point, not a common senario at all!
There are some where people do outside work on thier own time, my ex head of function was on a board of directors for a biotech start-up (its common in our industry for exec level to do that) an had clinical/professor appointmentat an academic university hospital still seeing patients for example. We have people in our function who still see patients and some will do it with out compensation to maintain their licences. Provided again no conflict of interest and the IP situation is a good one raised! (in my partner's case, there is no IP issue and i forgot that was something that needed a formal check irrespetive of what she was doing when that discussion happened).