Using Work Time For Personal Endeavors
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
One must dedicate maximum efforts and strengths towards completing the tasks which one was hired for.
Working with Integrity
- One must be exceedingly careful to maximize one’s work hours only for work-related matters and limit the amount of time dedicated towards personal matters.
- The performance of one’s job in a faithful manner is exceedingly commendable.
Time and Place
- Having said that, in modern work environments different employers have different implicit and explicit agreements with their employees regarding work-time allocation (lunch break, taking a walk, checking personal emails, making personal phone calls etc). One should be very stringent to utilize work-time properly, and consider the general practice of the place and time period.
Off Hours and Night Jobs
- One may not take a night job or stay up at night because in doing so one will inevitably hurt one's ability to work properly the next day.
- The Ramchal points out in Chapter 11 of Mesillat Yesharim that a worker is exempt from the last blessing in Birkat HaMazon and everything besides the first paragraph in Kriyat Shema in order not to take him away from his work. Certainly, then, it is prohibited for one to take away from his work for his personal endeavors, and one who does so is a thief (this is likely assuming that one's employer would be strict about his employee using any time for personal endeavors, which is not the situation in most cases nowadays). Rambam Hilchos Sechirut 13:7 explains that just as an employer has to be careful not to steal from his worker, so too his worker must be stringent upon himself not to waste time. He is obligated to work B’Kol Kocho, with all his strength, just like Yaakov HaTzaddick did when working for Lavan (Bereishit 31:6). One who is careful to work stringently and honestly will even reap great reward in this world, as the Pasuk says that Yaakov was rewarded in this world and the world to come (Bereishit 30:43).
- Mishnah Bava Metzia 7:4, Shulchan Aruch C.M. 337:20
- Aruch Hashulchan C.M. 331:3
- Mishna Bava Metzia 7:1
- See Pitchei Choshen Sechirut 7:11 in footnote who comments that taking a night job is only forbidden as a permanent job but doing a side job on occasion is permitted if it doesn't impede one's normal productivity. Dinei Avoda by Rabbi Shalom Warhavtig v. 1 p. 331 writes that taking a part time night job is permitted if it doesn't impede a person from doing another job normally since in the days of the gemara they were discussing a day job from sunrise to sunset, in which case taking a night job would very likely hurt one's ability the next day. Dinei Avoda is cited by Rabbi Aaron Levine in Economic Morality and Jewish Law p. 57.