Should You Discuss Your Salary?

“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour does but only at what he does himself.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

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Firstly, welcome to Lydia on Life!

Getting a raise is probably one of the best feelings in the world. After all, it boils down to your boss essentially saying, “You’ve done an excellent job and deserve to be compensated”, right?

I got mine last week.

I’ve been at this company nearly a year and thought I’d have to wait till my 1 year review next week to negotiate a raise. I’ve never done that before so was a little anxious but lucky for me my hard work did the negotiating for me. I guess you can say I was very pleased with the pay rise.

Unfortunately, my celebrations were interrupted by an uncomfortable question from a colleague.

“So how much did you get?”

When I started this job, we were both on the same salary. I know this because back then they had asked me the same thing. “How much do you get paid?”. As I wasn’t prepared for that question at the time, I answered it. I felt very uncomfortable doing so because to me that’s something personal between you and your manager.

I thought they would have noticed how uncomfortable I was and wouldn’t ask me again. but I was wrong. Here we are again 11 months later.

They shared with me their pay rise and asked me whether mine was higher or lower than theirs. I was hesitant but I answered and said higher. I didn’t give a figure but, instead left it to their interpretation.

I wasn’t comfortable discussing my salary as I wasn’t sure how they would react or feel about it.  After all we did start on the same salary and although we do different jobs, I didn’t know how that would affect them. Discussing your pay rise could also risk upsetting your supervisors because you may be putting them in a difficult position. Does it go against company policy to discuss salaries?

Money is a big issue to discuss and one should be cautious as to whom they discuss it with. My advice would be to not discuss it amongst colleagues.

If I was asked again by a colleague I would simply say…

” I don’t feel comfortable discussing my salary so please respect that.”

Sometimes people might want to know your salary to see whether they are getting their market value or not. If your uncomfortable sharing that information then perhaps let them know to keep an eye on the market. Monitoring new jobs in their industry or position will let them know whether they are being paid fairly and get an idea of the areas they might need to work on to secure a higher salary.

Questions time…

Are you comfortable in discussing your salary with colleagues? How would you have respond?

Let me know in the comments below, email me or tweet me @lydiaonlife.

Love,
Lydia x

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