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People Are Debating Whether A Man Deserved To Be Fired For Using A 'Mouse Jiggler' To Appear Active At Work While Doing Four Jobs At Once

Photo: Pexels, pixabay via Canva, Reddit, gabrielle_judge / TikTok
TikToker discussing the situation; man working his remote job

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 until you end up doing what a man on Reddit did. 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.

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

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 messagings apps and email. 

The man on Reddit made what now seems to have been the huge mistake of choosing the latter—the security team in one of his company's IT departments was 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 writes. 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 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 having gotten caught by one of their bosses—with well over half of those caught going on to get fired, just like this Redditor.

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

A TikToker 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." That seemed to be where most people fell on this one. "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 fu-king 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 Redditor'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.