Don’t Ask (How Much Someone’s Paid), Don’t Tell (How Much You’re Paid)

Millennials have this weird tick. Well, we have a lot of weird ticks.


But we also, for whatever reason, talk openly about money, which is a really interesting concept to me. In my house growing up, money was never talked about. Except, of course, for late at night around the dinner table. My mom and dad would sit down in almost complete darkness except for the solitary light that hung over the table. They would pour over receipts, their checkbooks, and bills as though they were British soldiers trying to break the enigma code.

Of course, all that changed with the dawn of online banking, but I digress.

Now, it seems like second nature to sit around at a restaurant or bar and bitch about ‘Ah I’m only making this while so and so is making that,’ or, ‘I finally got a raise and I’m finally making $XXXX! Let’s celebrate!’

Why are we so open about our money? Maybe it’s because our parents weren’t. It’s some sort of rebellion against the taboo of ‘not talking about x or y in public.’ Maybe it’s because we came of age during the worst economic downturn since the great depression. Whatever the reason, it happens every day.

But I don’t think this should be the case. Yes, I’m breaking with my millennial brethren on this one and I’m going to advocate for not openly talking about how much money you make. Why? Because when co-workers bring up money, only three things can happen.

  1. Someone will become resentful, begin to feel inadequate, or sad that someone is making more than them.
  2. Someone will become too giddy, and feel like they have more power than someone else because they are making more than someone.
  3. Someone will become resentful toward their employer, if already resentful, even more so, toward their employer, angry that their bosses have neglected to pay them adequately.

It’s really that simple. You might say to yourself ‘Oh, I’m not that petty. That would never happen.’ But it will, and it does, and it affects relationships.

Human beings appreciate being treated as equal. We think that someone who does more work than us should be paid more. Someone who does less work than us should be paid less.

But when you throw actual dollar signs start getting thrown around, the ‘injustice’ of it all starts to come into effect. We start to feel wronged, or start to feel sorry for someone else who we perceive as being wronged. It’s not a good dynamic to have in the workplace, and it can affect productivity, relationships, and morale.

Just keep how much your’e making to yourself. You never know who’s going to hear, how they’re going to feel, and most importantly, how it’s going to affect your relationship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s