We Need to Talk About Salaries

We Need to Talk About Salaries
Cardi B “Money Moves”

In college I was a bit of a “trouble maker” but I was taught to question everything. Unhappy with the food options at my university I questioned why I was paying thousands of dollars for a meal plan that was mediocre at best. No one bothered giving me an acceptable answer and when I encouraged students to fill out the cafeteria comment cards our complaints still fell on deaf ears. Still, I refused to be silenced so I made my own comment cards and encouraged students to submit them to myself. After a week of taking complaints from strangers I put pen to paper and published a piece in the school paper detailing that I wasn’t the only one that felt that way and on average food services was a 4 out of 10. Finally I was heard and the Food Services Director responded by insisting the students create a committee to discuss the menu choices. That created a bit of change on campus. That’s when I realized my mother instilled this “ask for what you want,” attitude in me. The worst thing someone can say is no, is a mantra I tend to apply to most aspects of my life.

Recently, I was sitting at a bar with two women in IT and we got to talking salaries and the work we do and soon realized two of us had the same job. I recently shared that I asked for a promotion and received it. She then asked me about the pay and without hesitation I told her my number.  The young woman seemed shocked and not in a good way. Your job should be paying you more for that position no wonder they gave you a promotion  

 She expressed something that I already knew but never met someone beyond the internet telling me what my experience was worth. This encouter made me question why the sharing generation is willing to share everything but our salaries.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter is filled with oversharing but when it comes to things we actually should share we don’t. Employers bank on us to not share our salaries that way no one knows what the other is getting and where the values lay. There’s no tension at work and pay increases satisfy everyone regardless of who makes what. It’s not just sexism and the glass ceiling we have to worry about anymore when it comes to transparency.

I have one friend who’s absolutely against sharing her salary with friends and that’s fine but when employees share that type of thing it levels the playing field between employees and employers.  Employers will always have the upper hand if employees are mum about what they’re making. They’re interested in retaining employees not creating a competitive environment. If you don’t know what your peers at other companies are making you won’t feel obligated to check elsewhere and they’re crossing their fingers hoping you won’t leave as millenials are supposedly job hoppers and those job hoppers are out here making money moves. 

I asked for the raise knowing I deserved it and not willing to take anything less than that. It wasn’t the first time I’ve asked a company for a promotion and probably won’t be the last. Have you ever felt uncomfortable with sharing your salary?

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharda says:

    What’s funny is I’ve never made enough to care lol. I’ve always been around other co-workers who would share as well. We were all on the same playing field, but supervisors/managers, etc wouldn’t share. I didn’t expect them to, but I always felt like the ones at the bottom, who are doing the most physical work deserve a higher pay. That’s where the disconnect lied among myself and co-workers. They just accepted it. I still don’t which is why I am on a path to working for myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. wandie305 says:

    I loved this. Wow. I will be more open where I can. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. astoldbyali says:

    I actually feel a way sharing my salary, cuz when family or friends know what your making they feel obliged to come to you to ask for favors. I’m not saying you can’t be nice to them and do this sometimes but they kind of just expect you to all the time because you’re making more than them.


  4. WilsonsGuide says:

    Sharing salaries has always been taboo, but if we’re going to change it, it starts with us being willing to have that open dialogue! I agree there’s a need for more transparency.


  5. Hadassah says:

    I just assumed people don’t talk about it🤷🏾‍♀️ Never thought about it, in that perspective however! I’m in a new temp job and if they hire me i will ask for a raise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dae says:

      I know how you feel. When I started my current job I was a temp.


  6. Syd says:

    I’m about to graduate college soon and I agree. Especially as a black woman a lot of us are underpaid because we don’t even know how much other people are making for equal or less work and we’re scared to discuss salaries and how to negotiate them.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. nyemabrown says:

    i always feel uncomfortable talking salary i don’t want people to try to bring me down or i don’t want to know if my coworkers are getting more than me for whatever reason.its just something that we just learned to keep to ourselves.


  8. I agree with this if you share salaries the employer has less power to short change you.


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