• Who Knows How Much You Make?

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    $12,000 Salary?

    Don't spend it all in one place.

    image: J Wynia

    What would you rather tell people: your favorite sexual position or your salary? Which would you rather people knew?

    Of the topics of conversation that seem to remain forever taboo, revealing how much you make will always be controversial. If you make more than your companions, then they might think that you’re bragging. On the other hand, if you make less than them, you’ll forever be sizing them up and comparing yourself to them. However, there’s got to be some people in your life who know how much you make.

    Does My Wife Know How Much I Make?

    Of course Her knows how much I make. Lately it has become a point of contention because my salary has doubled in the past 7 years and she has only received modest pay raises of 25% of her original salary in the same time period. While Her has one more Master’s degree than I do, our fields of work are vastly different. Her is beginning to feel like she’s not pulling her weight in this marriage, but I don’t feel that way. Our paychecks are combined into one pot of money so it doesn’t matter whose dollars are going where.

    Do My Parents Know How Much I Make?

    No way. Well, if I told my dad probably nothing would change and he would soon forget. But I’ve written extensively about how my mom asks me how much my bonuses are, tried to ask Her financial questions when I’m not there, buys herself a huge post-engagement ring, expects too much at Mother’s Day, buys wine she doesn’t even like, and expects money because we’re asian. She already snoops around my life too much, and if she knew exactly how much my salary is or how much my bonuses are she’d be waaaay up all in my business.

    Do My Friends Know How Much I Make?

    None of my friends know how much I make. In fact, I’m not even sure what my friend’s ballpark estimates of what my salary might be. This can be good or bad depending on which group of friends I’m with. I think that we all can guess by our living situations, the stuff in our houses, our cars (or lack thereof), and our vacations. I think that this is the category of people I least care about knowing my salary. Friends should be friends, no matter if I’m unemployed or if I’m a 1%’er.

    Do My Coworkers Know How Much I Make?

    Nope. I work at a small company and gossip is king. Everybody seems to be in everyone else’s business, and not in a good way. My coworkers all seem to talk about each other behind each other’s backs. Once during happy hour (oh the pre-parenting days) I got our office manager to divulge the information that new hires generally start at $30,000 per year. She didn’t seem to regret telling me this as she didn’t really get along with the new hires. Another time a senior executive accidentally left his W-2 form laying around and someone else found it. It turns out that this senior executive was making significantly more than the other senior executives at my company, and everyone thereafter tried to give that guy the shaft. He still works with us.

    What about you? Who knows how much you make?


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