Friday, March 07, 2008

Salary Openness

I am used to seeing salary secrecy practiced by almost everyone I know, including myself. I only know the salaries of my husband, my immediate family members, and a few friends. I will sometimes talk about my salary in general terms with my friends, but I don't openly discuss it, nor do I bring it up. Somehow I became pretty successful in my career and I think I'm probably making more than most of my good friends, so of course, I don't want to bring it up. I'm probably making less than my former co-workers since a lot of them ended up in I-banking, but I have a much better lifestyle than they do.

The other day I was exposed to a refreshing dose of honesty and openness regarding my plane-mate's salary. We were just about to land when I started chatting with the woman next to me. She told me quite a bit about her life, where she worked, what she did, where she was going, etc. Then she mentioned to me that she gets paid $11/hour plus tips, which was a lot better than the $3.17/hour plus tips that she received when she was living in a different state. I was pretty shocked at her salary openness, but it was pretty refreshing to find someone who was so open with her life.

I don't think it benefits anyone (except our employers) to keep our salaries a secret, yet we do so.

Here's my I keep my exact salary a secret:
1. I'm afraid to be judged (either positively or negatively) based on my salary
2. I'm pretty sure that my employment agreement forbids it

For more salary info of people on the web, check out this post from Madame X.

I just think there's this social stigma attached with discussing money and salary; I can't get myself over that hump. To try to help myself along, but keeping it vague, I'm close to the six figure mark, but I won't pass it this year unless I change jobs.


budgets are sexy said...

oh yeah, the whole salary privacy thing is def. a taboo around town. to be honest though, i prefer it that LEAST w/ co-workers and friends. family is okay as it's good to be open and help each other out :)

I've had the chance on at least 3 different occasions to see what all 15 of our employees make, but no way jose!!! the chance of feeling even a tiny bit jealous, angry, confused, or shocked is not pleasurable :)

calgirlfinance said...

Wow, that's self control. I think if I had that opportunity, it would depend on the situation. I work as a consultant and we have billing rates. While billing rates don't exactly correlate to salary (they're also impacted by where you live and to some part your level), I am able to see if I'm near, above, or below my peers. And you're right, I think it does cause me to feel jealous at times.