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To be uncomfortable with people asking how much I earn?

(79 Posts)
digibouti Sun 17-Feb-13 20:03:33

Ok, it was just my mum. But still, I feel really uncomfortable saying it. Do other people know how much you earn?

ihateconflict Sun 17-Feb-13 20:54:38

i have never quite understood why people get so offended by this, if someone asked me what i earned, i would have no qualms in telling them. I dont see why it has to be a big secret.. However, i would never ask anyone what they earn for fear of causing offence to them, it seems to be one of societies unspoken rules not to ask people about their income

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sun 17-Feb-13 20:57:05

I don't like it. I think the distinction between 'how much do you earn' and 'what is your worth' is too blurred.

Schooldidi Sun 17-Feb-13 20:58:20

Like stargirl you can look my salary up online as I'm a teacher. In fact if I need to know my gross salary for any paperwork i often end up looking it up online myself as I don't know it off the top of my head blush.

greencolorpack Sun 17-Feb-13 20:59:32

I have a job where you meet strangers all the time asking you how much you get paid/how busy you are. I just don't answer or say something vague. How very dare they.

It's bad form and also irrelevant.

My dsis tries to tell me how rich she is, sometimes even stuffing her bank statement under my eyes. I unfocus my eyes and say "hm very nice" and change the subject.

Tasmania Sun 17-Feb-13 21:00:13

pixi2 And do you agree with what you have been taught?

Everyone Wouldn't it be better if salaries were all out there in the open, so that society is fairer? How could asking for a stupid figure be rude??

maxmillie Sun 17-Feb-13 21:01:23

IfNotNowThenWhen I completely agree with you. It was a deliberate mechanism (mainly by the banks) to hide the fact that they were routinely paying women less than their colleagues for the same jobs.

Also so they could incentivise people to stay by offering them more which is fair enough really but not fair to routinely pay women less - which is why I now am very open about my salary if asked by people professionally - particularly now that I finally earn more than many of my male colleagues grin

Socially I would tell family and close friends, don't think anyone else needs to know - or has ever asked.

aldiwhore Sun 17-Feb-13 21:02:42

ihateconflict I think that's the crux of offence... it's okay to tell people (not too bloody often, but only because a money bore is a bore whatever they earn) but to ask someone is rather rude. Unless there's a good reason for asking. I HAVE asked a friend what she earned ONCE while I'm thinking about it, but it was as part of a larger conversation in relation to a career path. So I suppose it depends on the context.

I have been to parties where I've not known people and I LOATHE the introductory conversations of people who can't think of anything else. "Hi I'm so and so, I'm a I earn what do you do?" I probably hated it because at the time I was a SAHM, and felt pre-judged and not fiesty enough to say it proudly. (That soon changed).

HotPanda Sun 17-Feb-13 21:08:45

I've had open conversations with friends about what we all earn, as we are all in different roles, which I deem as normal.
Sames goes for discussing with family.

I don't volunteer the info, and I would find it odd to be asked out of nowhere but I don't see the problem with talking about it in context.

MaNeo Sun 17-Feb-13 21:09:05


I hate it too. And I agree with IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou. As long as it is not used to measure your worth and/or used to compare and 'class' people...

Jinsei Sun 17-Feb-13 21:15:56

Salaries are all transparent in my workplace - job grades are public knowledge and we have annual increments, so anyone who knows how long I have been there would realise that I am at the top of my grade and would therefore be able to check my salary. I'm not really bothered by that.

Also don't mind discussing my earnings with close family but I would find it quite crass if a friend or stranger were to ask! But nobody ever really asks so it isn't a problem that I've encountered.

Shellywelly1973 Sun 17-Feb-13 21:19:30

My dad does this- all the time&Will even ask me what not only what i earn but about dp,ds&dd!

He asks me if so distressing& so still earns x amount.

Its rude,annoying & just plain bloody nosy!

Shellywelly1973 Sun 17-Feb-13 21:20:22

Distressing? Sorry on phone!

MummytoKatie Sun 17-Feb-13 21:21:45

I think my parents know roughly as does my brother. They don't know what dh earns as that is his choice whether he tells them and he chooses not to. (Although I suspect they have guessed our dirty little secret ie that I earn more!)

Inlaws don't know beyond "we are fine for money - don't worry". Although someone a year or so ago told SIL that people in my profession earn loads so she is now wondering a bit I think.

Most of my local friends do the same job as me so we all have a fair idea although not in detail.

I would never tell school friends as I earn more than them and I have no desire to upset them / make them feel bad. (I have one school friend who earns more than the others so likes to have the conversation as she gets to "win" and I see little point in raining on her parade.)

The problem with talking about it is that it is so hierarchical. Someone will always earn the most and someone will always earn the least. And I don't want my friendships to be defined by that. It reminds me too much of school days and "who has a boyfriend", "how serious is it" etc etc.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sun 17-Feb-13 21:24:12

Mavis that is very true indeed

porridgewithalmondmilk Sun 17-Feb-13 21:26:10

And, it isn't accurate to say "I am a teacher so you can look it up!"

To know the salary of a teacher you would need to know:

how long they'd been teaching for
post/pre threshold
any TLRs and if so how much

and it's even more complex once you're on the leadership scale!

Superene Sun 17-Feb-13 21:28:27

I don't even know how much my dh earns. But he is self employed so is rather hazy about it. Asking how much people earn is as rude as asking them how many people they have slept with. Nobody's business.

stargirl1701 Sun 17-Feb-13 21:58:13

Not true for Scottish teachers. One pay scale, 6 points. Anyone teaching for more than 6 years is top of that scale.

quoteunquote Sun 17-Feb-13 22:14:49

I run a business, so anyone can look up, on line our accounts.

so what, if someone is that interested good luck to them.

porridgewithalmondmilk Sun 17-Feb-13 22:16:02

Fair enough stargirl - I was thinking just of England and Wales, apologies grin

verytellytubby Sun 17-Feb-13 22:19:48

My parents always ask me and DH. I think it's nosy as they never disclose their savings etc...

I know what all my friends earn.

FlouncingMintyy Sun 17-Feb-13 22:27:22

I don't think I have ever been asked. If someone did want to know I'd have to say "why do you ask?"

Passmethecrisps Sun 17-Feb-13 22:29:55

As a teacher I remember a time at school when our letters went out to parents with our payscale on the letter! I am certain that 99% of parents either had no idea what "pt 1" meant or if they did very few would care

Thingiebob Sun 17-Feb-13 22:36:59

I wouldn't dream of asking someone and I think it is rude to ask others.

I had a group of friends round to my house a while back. They are all 'mum' friends. One of them decided it would be ok to go round the room and ask each of us about our household income and get us to announce it in front of everyone. It was excruciating yet most people answered despite being clearly uncomfortable. Within minutes you could feel the tension in the room as everyone digested the info. The person with the lowest household income was obviously upset as it became clear to her that her income was significantly lower than the rest of us, the same for the person whose income was three times as much, she was even more irritated when comments were made about people over a certain threshold shouldn't be claiming child benefit and so on clearly directed at her.

It was horrid, inappropriate and seriously pissed me off. I also think it has affected our friendships in that there is a wide variation of economic scale in our group and various judgements and assumptions now exist between us that were not there before.

I managed to get out of answering, which was good as at the time our income was at the higher end of the scale and I know it would have affected our friendship.

SilverClementine Sun 17-Feb-13 23:43:40

I have always worked in the public service and anyone can find out how much I earn. I also have a rough idea (within 5k) idea about what my colleagues earn. It's not uncommon for colleagues to discuss pay, although we do it quietly, if that makes sense.

I also know roughly what my friends earn, just thru general.chit chat, same with family. Talking about it generally doesn't bother me. However, I can absolutely see that some times its inappropriate to discuss things like this, especially if someones trying to play a game of one up upmanship. Not cool.

My BiL oho is mega rich (we think) but will NEVER discuss money. It's hilarious!

kim147 Sun 17-Feb-13 23:47:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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