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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

Extreme Discomfort; MONEY

So how much do you make?

Is a loaded, deeply personal and often uncomfortable question. Along with maybe our weight and age, our salary is a number to which we’ve assigned almost incomparable value.

And, when we’re asked, what many of us really hear is this: What’s your worth as a person?

But have you ever wondered if you're being paid fairly, or what other people in your company are earning?

Even though most people wish they had a better understanding of what fair pay is for their position and skill set at their company, there is an extreme discomfort attached to even think about it and that is somewhat strange, given that you could gain a better understanding by just asking around.

I understand that "it's non of your business" to ask such a question but why? Why is money such a taboo? Is it a way to control employees and people in general? Why does it go against social conventions to talk about how much money you have or how much money you make?

There is very little opaqueness and transparency with respect to salaries.

Why do we have an obsession of secrecy surrounding salaries and an avoidance of talking about our net worth? If corporations openly disclosed employee compensation, it would be an illuminating and instrumental tool to help people make better and more informed career decisions.

My humble suggestion is that companies should disclose all salaries, benefits, options, stock grants, vacation days and all other earnings. It would shed direct light on what is really happening in the marketplace.

Instead of thinking that there is a gender, race, religious and age disparity, we would know for certain one way or the other.

You can compare person x to employee y in the same company, city or job to determine if there is a discrepancy. Too bold?

Openly available knowledge of salaries would offer much needed intelligence to employees to enable them to make important decisions regarding their careers. If people are overpaid, they’ll keep quiet and not make too many waves. If they are underpaid, they could speak up, talk with their boss and inquire as to why that is.

And we might be heading towards a different future because according to a 2017 survey;

Millennials are much more comfortable talking with their co-workers about how much they earn than older generations. Does this mean actual culture change? Hard to say now but one would hope so.

Some people would be comfortable sharing this information, while others are very guarded.

If you go out to dinner or for some drinks with close friends, after an hour, you might know all the intimate details of their love lives, issues with their children, how many times they go to the bathroom at night and how sexy they find their spouse’s sister or brother. However, when the conversation turns to money, everyone becomes quiet. The only one who brags is the person you feel is over-exaggerating to simply impress the group.

Instead of coveting the lavish lifestyles that your friends and family portray on Instagram or Facebook, you’d now know that they are living far beyond their means - and you won't feel that you’re missing out.

If we can get past this so-called taboo of discussing money, we’d all benefit. It would open the door to more real and honest conversations about saving for the future and having sufficient funds for retirement and other commitments. Decisions to pursue a career, switch jobs, major in certain subjects in college or even moving, could be based on real hard data instead of just hoping for the best.


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