This is one of the questions that has been challenged more and more in recent years. Why are we not supposed to talk about our income?
Is it taboo? Or is it just helping the powers that be to pay us less than we're worth and get away with it?
u/tickingtimebombx began the debate:
I get that a lot of people might say it's because it might create jealously between co workers. Or that if people know how much you have saved, they might try to take it.
But really, it seems to me that being so hush can create so much fear around money.
It's not like someone can request for you to make less money or someone to just steal your money that easy... right?!
I just want your thoughts, maybe I am being naive about it.
It's Not About Me
Because most people assume that making/having more money is an objective measure of your value as a human. It's the only measurement we all agree on, even if we're unhappy about it, it only means we're unhappy with our performance based on the criteria of what are people willing to pay for, or we're unhappy with the criteria of what people are willing to pay for based on our performance
Money is one of those things that is so rarely talked about in good faith, that we're scared to find out our worries of being close to worthless were true. You can like your job, but if someone in the same positions hates it but makes more money, you feel like an idiot because part of their justification for staying is at least they aren't you.
Fend Off Bottom Feeders
If you tell your family/some friends that you make a lot, they may feel better about asking to "borrow" money and may even get upset if you don't.
They can also get upset or not believe you.
When my MIL found how much I was paid years ago she got upset that it was more than her (despite her not working as hard/not bettering herself for 30+ years). I'm only on a standard office salary but she didn't like it. That was fun.
If you tell them you make less than they think you should, they generally don't believe you, may think you're a loser, or start to always push you to get a better job etc.
That's what I've found anyway, and why I don't talk about money.
In Norway, all salaries are transparent. You can look up what your co-worker, your family member, your friends etc. make. You only need to log in on the tax authority's website with your national ID number. It barely causes any issues, but the searches are not anonymous. You can see who has searched your income.
Why it is a taboo in other countries has been already answered here. It benefits the employers.
Don't Have The Capacity
Money makes people weird. The guy that think corporations want to screw you over by paying you half of what other people isn't wrong, but he's probably more than a little bitter.
I'll use myself as an example here...
I've worked at a grocery store since 2004. High school, college, after college, and probably until I retire.
I started at $6.50 an hour and writhing four or five years. New hires were being started at around $8.00 an hour, while I had only gone up to $9.00 an hour after already working there for five years.
If I was incredibly proactive, I probably could have got my life together and been close to a management position by then, but it's not my personality type, so I didn't. But the opportunity will always be there for people willing to work for it.
When I found out that I was only making $1.00 more than the new hires, I was livid. How dare they get paid so much for literally having no skill in this job. Right? Well unfortunately, over the course of 5 years, things change. The market shifts, prices rise, and the minimum wage goes up. But that doesn't mean everyone else's wage is raised accordingly.
Another example is that when my friend graduates pharmacy school. He started out making $100,000 more than me. He told me, and now whenever he talks about nabbing a pair of shoes for 20% off, or something like that, I roll my eyes and get super annoyed.
There's nothing wrong with the amount he makes. He deserves every single penny. But he still trying to live the way I live, when he makes 100% more than I do.
Sorry for the rant. Not sure if it helped you understand. I'd be happy to clarify though.
Ignorance Is Bliss
I get what everyone is saying about company management wanting to keep the information secret to screw people over because it is true. However, in my experience, discussing salary with a coworker is like having sex with someone...once you do it, you can't undo it. You might not like how the experience goes and the dynamic will be different afterward no matter what.
Example: you and your coworker want to exchange salary info and you're excited about the experience. You proudly state that you are a Senior Associate making $65,000 a year. Then they inform you they are an Assistant making $85,000 a year. Now, you feel like crap and you probably start seeing your friend, as well as other coworkers and management, differently and it's probably not for the better.
You were happy before you had the info, but now you are not...are you better off knowing?
The Middle Way
Depends on the social and workplace culture. In india, people are more open in talking about their salaries, and it comes with its own set of side effects such as jealousy. On the other hand, extreme sensitivity around money is also not helpful imo, because it creates a culture of secrecy. We need to find some sort of a happy middle ground in society.
Weird Cultural Things
Business made it seem illegal to talk about it so you wouldn't know how much your coworkers make, so they can underpay people. It's perfectly legal and a smart thing to talk about your wage. It also comes from the people who think they don't make enough and don't want to be embarrassed by their salary. I wouldn't say it's taboo just a weird thing people believe just because they were told to
As somebody from a well-off family, I choose to be very quiet online about that (except for things like this where it's necessary, duh) because, honestly, seeing so many people that have nothing in their lives... bringing up my money just feels so shallow.
And I've had poor friends tell me that it comes off that way to them, too- or at least the bittersweet feeling of watching somebody have what you'll probably never get. It just feels wrong for me to be vocal about it. :(
Companies don't want their employees to talk about how much they make because it allows them to pay some employees lower than other's when they shouldn't be. They don't want someone finding out someone else makes more than them.
For example if a newer employee is hired on for a dollar more than what a current employee at the same level who has worked there for a year, the current employee might ask for a raise. Companies don't want that to happen.
Or Were You Just Being Kind
Feelings imo. Some people just never had the position to make more. Bringing up something like that is kinda like saying "i have more than you" which is at large a useless statement and the implications with money isnt just some schoolyard bullshit, its that you will be able to pay for bills they cant. You will be able to eat when they cant, you may be able to pay for that lifesaving procedure, they may have to watch their son/daughter/brother/mother die