What we talk about when we don't talk about our salaries

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/24/what-we-talk-about-when-we-don.html


In other words, I’m personally in absolute favor of sharing income information.

I won’t tell you, I don’t want you to cry.


When employers start talking like cult leaders, that’s the cue to ramp up the job search.


Most workplaces do treat their workers like family. Have you seen how some families behave towards one another?


In the future we’ll say “Salaries? Ha! Capitalism was so quaint.” Either because we’ll be living in a socialist utopia, or a post-apocalyptic wasteland.


“ Higher-income earners were happier than they were before the information was widely available, and lower-income workers were less happy.” wow, no shit, really?


I wonder which one it will be, although I have printed out a bunch of recipes for rat.


I’m talking about my salary right now.


Last job, even the discussion of the rates of various pay grades was strongly discouraged.

Of course everyone had a paper/electronic copy of the pay grades.

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accurate to be sure, but your numbers seem a bit spare in their precision.

fwiw: my salary for bbs commentary is exactly 2.5, but i refuse to specify the units.

[edit] on slightly more serious note, i work two jobs. one a white collarish job, the other a retail job. there’s more than a five times difference in pay for an hour of work between the two. it’s staggering.

many of my co-workers at the one job struggle to make ends meet, while co-workers at my other job can take week long family vacations in hawaii without blinking.

a little bit of difference is fine and dandy. the current reality though is two entirely different worlds with very few people able to jump such an extreme gap.

by the end of march people at my white collar job will have made more than people at my other job will all year.


I worked for a company/cult that brainwashed their employees and made us memorize a “code of values” to be recited any time there was a meeting of 3 or more people.
Some people really got into it, luckily there were others who knew it was a sham as the leaders were the worst offenders, just like any good cult.

Oh, and talk of pay was highly discouraged. Might have even been in the employee manual.


Early in my working life, I was advised by a grizzled elder that if one’s employer starts leaning too heavily on the “we’re a family” mantra then regular demands for unpaid work will follow quickly thereafter, and that it’s best to seek your exit before that happens.

I can see the benefit to sharing salary information in the workplace, since any business structure that relies on information asymmetry (in this case the labour-management wage relationship that benefits the latter) is a touch shady. However, if you’re brought up in a culture where discussing the details of one’s personal finances is discouraged (probably to the benefit of the bosses) it’s going to be hard to get enough people to share unless they’re afforded some degree of anonymity.


My boss is defintely a “we’re family here” kinda person, and takes full advantage of all of our weird emotional/professional relationships. she strictly forbids people sharing information about salaries, and even hamstrings people’s work by selectively redacting their project budgets.

I run the job board on our website and so every post comes through me. I brought numbers in to a negotiation about how underpaid I was compared to new program managers coming in off the street (I’m not a project manager but had 8 years in at the time) and she said sharply “where did you get those numbers?!” :neutral_face:


In other words, I’m personally in absolute favor of sharing income information.

Okay, so how much did BB pay you for this post?


I’m stealing my salary right now!

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Fun fact: the contract from my arsehole employers I stupidly signed in December last year has a clause specifically banning salary discussion among co-workers.

Yeah, I’m looking for a new job.


how can money be free speech for a corporation AND speech not be free speech for people working at a corporation ?

I am not smart enough to understand the the first amendment, I suppose.

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Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Europeans used to laugh at Americans because they used to introduce themselves as, “I’m so and so, I make so many grand a year, my house costs so many grand, my car cost such and such.” They used “grand” to mean a thousand. American salaries were crazy big compared to European salaries back then. Now, not so much.

Doesn’t apply here. I’m in Australia.

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Ah. Indeed. I wish your kingdom/country/continent a peaceful and quick recovery from the wildfires. And thank you for sharing.