Tips to Handling Uncomfortable Salary Discussions in the Workplace

Have you noticed how that not many people seem to want to discuss their salaries at the workplace?

Oftentimes, when the issues are raised, many hesitate to give a direct answer (I mean, we are Africans). Actually, employees see discussing how much they earn with their colleagues as uncomfortable. Many think that discussing a matter as critical as salary with their colleagues would only reveal discrepancies, inequalities and occurrences they’d better not know.

I still remember a story I was told about two people that had the same qualifications and were hired around the same time. Being that one was more informed about salary negotiation more than the other, he was able to bargain a salary far higher than his colleague’s. Both parties were satisfied with the job until the other one discovered that his mate earned far higher than he did and trouble began. Back and forth he kept going to meet management for what he believed was a fair pay raise and when they’d not meet his demand, he got demotivated and eventually quit.

Others have other reasons too. How do you think a colleague will look at you if he discovers that you earn far more than he does when he actually believes that he contributes more to the company than you do? My guess is that trouble will start. In fact a supervisor who thought you don’t earn much when compared to his salary may begin to get really bothered if he realizes that the salary difference between the two of you is grossly insignificant. Chances are that he’d go home believing that someday soon, you’d wrench that position from him and my guess is that no one would want to work under a disgruntled supervisor.

Even though we all tend to see how much we earn as a private matter, almost everyone still wants to know what his neighbor earns. Truth is that one day, a confident colleague will bring up that salary conversation. Below are a few tips to help in making sure you don’t end up digging your own corporate grave in the process.

Think Before You Say a Thing.

Before you open your mouth to tell a colleague how much you earn you must think. Can I trust him or her with that information? Why is she asking that? Truth is you don’t want to come to work the next week and overhear someone saying something like ‘so it’s fifty thousand he earns and he keeps his head like he earns a million’ or having your supervisor become a terror because he feels you earn too much and are now a threat to his job security.

Remember You Don’t Owe Anyone.

While sharing a table during lunch with a colleague amidst small talks and this guy goes like, ‘David, I have been wondering if this people actually know our value. Can you imagine that my salary is so so, how much do they pay you?’ You are not under any obligation to answer. You can change the topic if you want or tell him you don’t like discussing personal finance, if he feels he is underpaid, maybe he should ask for a pay raise.

If Company Policy Says Don’t Discuss Just Abide.

In many workplaces, for salary discussions, it is a no no. So before you tell that close colleague how that you earn five thousand by way of salary every month, make sure it is not against the rules, so you don’t crash and burn.

Make Sure You Know Your Worth.

If you are an employee who is worth his onions, you need to know how what you earn presently compares with what others in the same category in other establishments of the same kind earn. Many career experts believe that you’d have to keep going to interviews to know this while others believe you’d need to ask contemporaries in other firms, whichever way you do this, make sure that the amount of money you get paid is commensurate with your worth and the amount of work you do, else, you may have to look elsewhere.

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