To Tell or Not to Tell: Discussing Salary at Work
Do not discuss your salary with anyone else in the office – that is what is told to you inside the four walls of the boss’s cabin. That time you nod in agreement without the slightest sign of incongruity. The scenario half-an-hour post receiving your salary check is exactly the opposite. The next day everyone in the office knows the number of grands you get paid.
The Wall Street Journal, in an article, recently published that, “Comparing salaries among colleagues has long been a taboo of workplace chatter, but that is changing as Millennials—individuals born in the 1980s and 1990s—join the labor force.
Accustomed to documenting their lives in real time on social-media forums like Facebook and Twitter, they are bringing their embrace of self-disclosure into the office with them. And they’re using this information to negotiate raises at their current employer or higher salaries when moving to a new job.”
CareerBuilder India points out that while there is no legal reason behind not discussing your salaries at work, there are reasons why you must not disclose your salary to anyone working with you. There are, also, a few advantages of discussing pay given that you can handle the talk.
Reasons Not to Discuss
The list of reasons why you must not participate in pay related discussions in your office are as follows:
1. It Can Be Demoralizing
What started as office gossip might end at becoming bitter talk. If your salary is considerably higher than that of another person working at the same position, there is no reason for him to not look at matters with suspicion. Worse, he will start doubting his growth in the organization and work with a pessimistic approach. The same can happen with you too.
2. It Can Lead to Rumours
No industry be it IT or HR is free of the rumour chain that is known as the grapevine. However, it takes an open discussion to make the chain grow. A hard fact about communication is that people often perceive what they are willing to perceive. It is like selective listening but from a negative frame of mind. Pay is a sensitive and complicating matter to discuss. Even the best of your friends at the workplace can indulge in rumours about your pay, therefore, be careful.
3. It Can Bring In Animosity
The first thing that stems from the discussing of money is animosity. Everyone in an organization works to earn money. No matter how much someone tries to convince you about how they want to learn, grow and develop, and are not just working for the cash, don’t believe that. Money is the basic motivator. If anyone who works at the same level as you has the same responsibilities and does a similar amount of work, you see no reason that he should be paid more than you. You are likely to feel your eyes turn green.
Reasons to Discuss Pay
Transparency is promised by almost every organization. But when it comes to salaries, there is rarely anyone who will not stop you from discussing yours openly. Why are you stopped from talking about the salaries you are offered, or the appraisals that you receive? Is it all for your own good? Think about it.
2. Better Understanding of the ‘Real’ Pay
While it is expected out of you to know what the industry pays, chances are that you are highly underpaid. And, you’ll only realize situation when you talk.
Having weighed the pros and cons of discussing pay at work, it is important to realize that your pay has an impact on the work environment of the organization. If you do feel like discussing your pay issues, pick someone who has left the organization, or make sure that those who know your pay details keep it to themselves.
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