Employee Facing Termination For Using A 'Mouse Jiggler' To Appear Active At Work While Doing Four Jobs At Once

He thought his "overemployed" scheme of working four different jobs was going perfectly — until all his little mistakes finally caught up with him.

man working on computers Luke Peters / Unsplash

In some ways, having multiple lines of employment from home is the perfect scheme, especially since the pandemic turned so many of us from cubicle rats to work-from-home types — pick up multiple remote jobs, stack up multiple salaries and be on the road to financial freedom.

That is unless you end up doing what a man on Reddit did. 

A man was threatened with termination after his boss discovered he was working multiple jobs.

As he shared in a post in the "r/overemployed" subReddit, a forum for people working multiple remote jobs at once, it's all too easy for the little mistakes you make along the way to start adding up and blow your perfect plan into smithereens. He'd been slipping up along the way for quite some time, but in the end, it was a poorly chosen piece of technology that did him in.


The man got caught using a "mouse jiggler" to make it look like he was actively online at all four of his jobs.

"Mouse jigglers" come in two types — an actual physical piece of equipment that literally jiggles your mouse, and apps or software that keep your computer appearing as if you're online on things like messaging apps and email. 

The man on Reddit made what now seems to have been the huge mistake of choosing the latter, causing the security team in one of his company's IT departments to be alerted to him using an app called "caffeine.exe."

"[My boss] asked me if I had a business purpose for this and I was at a loss for words," he wrote. And suddenly, the jig was up. "Is this so your computer doesn't fall asleep?" his boss asked him. Busted. 


His boss presented him with a PIP — a "performance improvement plan," usually the last stop before being fired at most companies — right there on the spot.

"Apparently the mouse jiggler was the last straw," he wrote, after a string of mistakes he'd made while trying to juggle his multiple jobs. "I had been missing standups and having 'thunderstorms' and 'power outages' since I started."

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The man is part of a growing trend of working multiple remote jobs at once called "over-employed" that has skyrocketed since the pandemic.

According to the human resources trade publication HRM America, the trend of people working multiple remote jobs at once has been hugely on the rise since 2020, with a recent survey indicating that a whopping 79% of remote workers have worked at least two jobs at a time at some point in the past year. Another 36% of respondents said they were working at least two full-time positions at once and making more than six figures in salary.


But it's not uncommon in "over-employed" circles to work far more than just two jobs — the Redditor himself has four, and in the YouTube video below, an "over-employed" IT professional describes his life working five different full-time jobs — and making well over $1 million a year doing it. 

Aside from the fact that increased work-from-home arrangements since the COVID-19 pandemic have made such a scheme even possible, analysts like those at the Australian Council of Trade Unions attribute the rise of the "over-employed" trend to rapidly decreasing job security worldwide and the low salaries offered by many employers. 

But even as common as the practice has become, the majority, like this Redditor, are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up the scheme — 85% of survey respondents said it was at least somewhat difficult to keep up the ruse without their bosses noticing. And nearly 63% reported getting caught by one of their bosses — with well over half of those caught going on to get fired.


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The man's story sparked a debate between those who think working multiple jobs is necessary in today's economy and those who thought it was unethical.

A TikTok creator named Gabrielle posted a summary of the guy's Reddit story to the app, asking her fellow TikTokers if they thought the Redditor's employer was "overbearing," or if he "messed up."



"Yeah that is unacceptable if you're caught working multiple jobs at a time," one person wrote. "100% should be fired," another person agreed.


Others weren't quite so moralistic about it, especially those who work in tech, where being "over-employed" is most common. "In tech here, and it only matters if you're not getting work done," a sentiment that most people shared. "Sounds like he's just getting fired for not showing up to meetings and not doing his job lmao."

Even people on Reddit who are part of a forum literally dedicated to this practice agreed with that take, and were quick to push back when the Redditor lamented that "now I have to find another J4" — over-employed-speak for a fourth job — "all...because of a [expletive] mouse jiggler."

"It wasn't though. It was the last straw because of the missing standups, the 'thunderstorms,' and 'power outages.' It sucks but it's part of the risk," one of his fellow "over-employed" workers wrote.


Joining the ranks of the "over-employed" certainly isn't for the faint of heart, but if you're going to do it, at least learn from this employee's mistake.

"Just get a physical mouse jiggler," as one of his fellow over-employed professionals advised.

Better yet, take your commitment to the ruse to a whole other level, as another Redditor has. "Just tie the mouse to a Fan or a Roomba. I'd say tie it to a cat but they may disapprove." Hey, whatever works.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.