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Why Is This Taboo?

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posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 06:30 PM
Have you ever thought about why we don't discuss our salaries openly in the workplace?

The only group of people I think are encouraged to do this are professional athletes....and guess what? They get PAID! Think about it....if we shared this info it would benefit the common employee.

Half Sigma Story

In America, it's taboo to talk about your salary. It's a pretty strange taboo because most of the other taboos have something to do with sex. The salary taboo seems even stronger than sex taboos. Today, you turn on HBO and see gay men kissing each other on Six Feet Under, yet the characters on the show never mention what they get paid, so someone watching the show who is thinking about entering the death care industry has no idea whether it's economically rewarding. Because no one knows how much anyone else gets paid, this assymetry of information benefits employers. Employers know exactly what people working for them get paid, and have a pretty good idea of what people at other companies are getting paid. The salary taboo gives employers an unfair bargaining advantage over employees, and employers already have a huge bargaining advantage on account of it being a lot easier for the employer to lose an employee than vice versa. There has been much talk about how the top 1% is getting all the benefits of the economic expansion. Maybe the salary taboo is a big part of the reason. Because no one talks about salaries, no one realizes that someone with the same job skills received a 10% raise, so they don't know to ask for one themselves. If people really want to stick it to The Man, they'd freely and openly tell everyone how much they earn.

Why is it taboo?

posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 06:36 PM
because employers made it taboo. If you got a good salary and are a B grade worker and the new hire comes in with a newbie salary but they do A grade work, then the employer is left in a position of explaining the reason. That explanation either cost the employer more money via compensating the newbie properly OR it results in the B grade employee getting a pay cut or their walking papers.

[edit on 30-12-2009 by Aggie Man]

posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 06:57 PM

Originally posted by Aggie Man
because employers made it taboo. If you got a good salary and are a B grade worker and the new hire comes in with a newbie salary but they do A grade work, then the employer is left in a position of explaining the reason. That explanation either cost the employer more money via compensating the newbie properly OR it results in the B grade employee getting a pay cut or their walking papers.

I understand your reasoning but what if new hire was able to negotiate his newbie salary by discussing salary with established employee first? Employers made it taboo to save money yes but it could be changed if we all rose up....Tough question with the economy like it is I guess....

posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 06:57 PM
As Aggieman said, it is an Employer created Taboo, however it is generally to hide the fact that vetted or senior employees are actually making less than new hires for the same position. It allows the Employer to be competitive in the marketplace while not having to increase the overall cost of Payroll (which in every business is the #1 Expense/Cost of Operations). If the new hire told his co-workers who've been there for 20 years what his salary was, all of his co-workers would be pounding down their boss's door demanding to make more than what the new hire is.

I know in my industry it is routine for people to quit their job and then reapply for their job just so they can get a Pay Increase. With only an annual 3%-5% Cost of Living increase to your Salary you won't keep up with the increase of Minimum Wage for long. I used to make 4x Minimum Wage when I was in High School doing what I do now. Now, with 25 years experience and in a Senior Position, I make only 2x Minimum Wage. Since my boss won't renegotiate my Salary, doing what everyone else in my Industry has been doing and quitting my job and reapplying for my job when it is offered at a competitive Salary sounds like my only option to get back up to 4x Minimum Wage where my Salary should be at a minimum for what I do.

If Employers weren't such Cheap Jerks, then it wouldn't be a Taboo.

However, unless your Contract says that you can't discuss Salary with other Employees, then there is no reason you shouldn't. It would be unlawful termination to fire you for discussing your Salary with your Co-Workers. You might be surprised how much more the new hires are making than you if you do.

posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 07:06 PM
I really hate employers. You have to share them all of your information about you, they can look up your name on social networking sites to get an idea of what your personality is like and this is all before you even get to see the employer and see what they're like. I feel information like this should be a two way street. Applying for a job just feels violating.

posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 07:11 PM
Sometimes matters of peoples finances are just private, nothing more. I never discuss what I earn with my fellow employee, & she never discusses with me. What we both earn is what we both earn, & our Boss loks after us pretty well all in all----& he thinks he runs the show, but we know WE actually do!

I personally don't like to talk about my financial situation with my friends & family, & prefer they don't talk about theirs with me because at least this way we're all on an equal footing. Money can sometimes ruin a good friendship, with petty jealousies between the "have's" & "have nots".

But it is an interesting point, where did the concept originally come from?

posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 09:11 PM
I can recall two instances where I was asked not to discuss my pay.

The first time was when I was just a kid in high school. I was bussing tables at a private party. The person who paid for the party was so impressed by my bussing skills
which included being quite respectful, while also doling out compliments to the diners, and, heh, flirting with the old ladies who were flirting with me, I received a large tip. My boss asked me to please not tell anyone, especially the old jealous cooks in the kitchen, how much money I got. Being stupid, I told them when they asked me. Ut, oh. The green-eyed monster reared its ugly head and I damn near lost that job. Thank goodness I was also able to charm the boss, too.

Fast forward many years. I was working in an accounting office. Me and another guy both got hired the same day, with the same packages and the promise that on our 6 month anniversary, considering if we still worked there, we would be given a substantial raise in pay. I got that raise. A few weeks later my co-worker asked me, did you get the raise we were promised? Yes, the boss told me, tell no one about this. Did I lie to my co-worker? Nope. I even suggested he go to the boss and demand his raise that was promised. He did. He didn't get the raise. I got fired.

Apparently this dimwit was more valuable to the company than me, who obviously couldn't be trusted.

I didn't need the job nor the income. I was just amusing myself. This co-worker did need the job though. Obviously, because he was sent back to work with no raise and was happy. I was fired. And I wasn't unhappy. lol

Yeah, disclosing income to some people can create animosity between you and others. Why would you want to create animosity?

In my first instance, I was just stupid. I could have handled it better.

In my second instance, well, actually, I was hoping to better my co-worker, who needed a kick in the ass to demand what was his.

But, now, I just don't say anything about such things to anyone, except my family.

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