Talking Salary With Friends Over Salad

In this Sunday’s New York Times, there’s an excellent article about how young professionals freely talk about there personal income with friends.

I’m old school, and sometimes I find it rude to speak frankly about your salary especially when there’s a wide range of income levels among friends. In fact, I got a little upset with a friend a few months for complaining about her W-2 and much taxes were taken out last year. The amount that the federal government had charged against her gross income may have been how much some of her friends made in all of 2007.

I try to keep nickels, but the problem is that I also try to keep up with the Jones. Living in New York, I see how classism exists brilliantly here. However, you can’t always judge by what people wear, where people live, or what they do for a living to know how much money they have in the bank. I have friends that make more than 10 times more a year than I do, and yet we are friends. Sometimes I get envious of the stuff they have, but I know I am wealthy in my own way.

clipped from
For people old enough to remember phone booths, a blunt reference to salary in a social setting still represents the height of bad manners. But for many young professionals, the don’t-ask-don’t-tell etiquette of previous generations seems like a relic.

For them, salary information is now fair game, at least among friends. Many consider it crucial to prosper in an increasingly transient, winner-take-all workplace — regardless of the envy that full disclosure can raise. Besides, when the Internet already offers a cornucopia of personal information, it almost seems coy to keep personal income private.


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