General Question

Whattodo's avatar

Should you say what your salary is just because someone asks?

Asked by Whattodo (101points) May 25th, 2008

The guy in the next cubicle, who my sister has had lunch with exactly twice, asks her how much she makes. Any reason she should tell? Any reason NOT to tell?

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11 Answers

wildflower's avatar

You really don’t have to. I rarely disclose my salary. Admittedly my employer has a ‘private and confidential’ approach to people’s salaries, but even when talking to friends, I wouldn’t give specifics unless it’s relevant.

Alina1235's avatar

Only with close friends – we all know how much each of us make, and don’t feel embarassed if asked.

marinelife's avatar

NO, it is one of the worst things about our society that many people do not feel comfortable just not answering an intrusive question.

There is every reason to say no:

1. She doesn’t know the guy well. He could be a big mouth and tell everyone.

2. It is none of his business.

3. What if it is more than his, and he goes and complains to the boss. The boss asks how he found out, and he says your sister told him. He does not bother to say he bugged her until she did.

4. This guy wants to know for his own reasons. He does not have your sister’s welfare at heart

Awww's avatar

Yes it’s a bad thing, you don’t know if they are potential risk for fraud, identity theft and even stalking. Never tell someone your salary, I can’t think of a time you actually should share that information, can you? What’s the need to know someone’s salary? Even for your own bragging rights, it’s still an inappropriate topic of discussion. Even if it wasn’t harmful, the question is why? Is this guy gonna try to hook up with her and use her for her money? Just ask yourself this, is there a perfectly logical explanation to tell anyone your salary?

Trustinglife's avatar

If she felt uncomfortable with the question, declining to answer is fine. If I were in her shoes, I’m not sure if I would answer. I think it would depend on my sense of where he was coming from. I might ask why he wanted to know if I were suspicious.

And… I want to offer a different perspective here.

Why is talking about money so taboo in our culture? What’s so private about money? It seems old school to me to hide how much people make. If all the books were open, I think we would have a much more fair, equal society.

Sure, it’s a risk to actually own up to how much we make. Who knows what the person will think? What if we make less than them, more than them, if they’ll ask us for money, etc. A lot of fears can come up. My take is in general, the less hiding, the better.

wildflower's avatar

@trustinglife
I don’t see it as being taboo, but rather irrelevant unless I’m going to split rent or an investment with that person. I honestly don’t care what my friends make moneywise, as long as they’re getting by/are comfortable.

Seesul's avatar

When I was in High School, a questionnaire was sent out asking how much does your dad make. Hardly any of us knew and left it blank. My best friend had what I thought was the best answer. Enough.

marinelife's avatar

@Trustinglife I actually think if there was more talk of money, it would lead to the opposite of what you postulate. I think money and whether you have or not should be less of a focus in our culture.

There are many studies that show that how much money one has does not equate with how happy you are.

Also, there is a tendency in our culture to confer virtue upon people who have money. That is blatantly wrong as time has shown over and over.

Finally, in the workplace, everyone knowing everyone’s else’s salary is likely to cause resentment and bad morale. If the guy sitting next to you is doing the same job you are but making $10 an hour more than you do, how will you feel? Suppose there is are clear reasons from management’s perspective for the difference. He has been there longer, for example. Is that going to mollify you? I don’t think it necessarily will.

jstringham21's avatar

Only if it’s something to be proud about.

richardhenry's avatar

Sharing salaries is a quick way to annoy your boss.

susanc's avatar

It’s always okay to tell someone you prefer not to answer a question. You don’t even have to say why. Smile or don’t smile, and let them think it over.

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