I’ve never heard the term moonlighting identity, but I think it’s a good one. I learned the hard way once that it’s best to keep one’s moonlighting a secret from one’s employer.
About 12 or 13 years ago, there was a strike at the two newspapers in my city. The union’s demands were rather unreasonable, and the newspapers were able to hire enough new people – with satisfying wages and decent benefits – to break the union. This meant there were a lot of writers, journalists and copy editors roaming the city because they’d refused to go back to the papers. At the company where I worked at the time, a new manager was hired to run my department. She was a former newspaper employee, and very unethical. Her first personal objective was to clean out her whole department and replace the existing employees with her friends from the newspapers.
One of the manager’s techniques for justifying this was to harass employees in ways that looked legitimate to people outside the department. For example, she would always assign one young mother to late-night overtime even though there were single people who could work those hours and wanted to. In other cases, she stopped bringing jobs to people’s offices or phoning to tell them that work had come in. This meant that these people had to go to her office and check the in-basket four or five times an hour, if they wanted to keep busy. Other employees got the impression that they were idle and roaming the hallways.
In my case, she found out that once every couple of weeks I’d do some kind of freelance job at home in the evening. These were really very small jobs that didn’t amount to anything, but the lady began to assert that I “had a business” and therefore didn’t need my job. Soon I was out, and a man from the newspapers was hired in my place. He mainly sat around, because it was the very slow season at the time.
The moral of the story: Even if you moonlight for only 10 minutes a week, keep it a secret from your boss!