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Coursera’s CEO weighs in on the controversy over moonlighting and suggests employees stick to one

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera

When it comes to adopting a position on moonlighting, which is defined as side jobs people engage in alongside their core employment, the Indian IT industry is divided. 

While computer behemoths like Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) view it as unethical and inconsistent with their basic beliefs, Tech Mahindra embraces the practice and intends to create a policy that encourages people to be honest about holding down many jobs at once.

In the midst of all this discussion, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, a well-known open online learning platform where many employees prefer to learn new skills to stay relevant and enhance job prospects, stated that it is preferable to concentrate on doing the best job possible and excelling at the current job rather than attempting to do two things at once.

Maggioncalda acknowledges that the circumstances in India are very different in comparison to other countries. He says, “There’s a huge skill gap. The skill gap is so big that the most talented people are being demanded by many employers. And, in some cases, a really skilled person can do two jobs better than an unskilled person could do one. So I understand that there’s a context. But I would suggest, though, to employees that really focusing on doing the absolute best job that they can, standing out and excelling and making the biggest impact is going to be better for your long-term career than trying to do two things, but neither of them so well.”

Speaking on what employees should work towards and the recipe for building successful careers, Maggioncalda added: “I think excellence and a real demonstrated impact in business are going to come from those people who focus on doing their job the best that they possibly can. So I understand why people might want to do it, and I’m sure that they will, but I do think that some of the most successful careers will be built on people who focus all of their energy on trying to do one job the best they can.”

Maggioncalda notes that while the core skills and knowledge remain the same, what is changing are the tools that one utilises, in light of all the discussion about upskilling and reskilling as well as the difficulty of remaining relevant.

Higher velocity tools and training initiatives can be used to supplement the enduring, fundamental skills and information that institutions convey.

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