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NgCareers: Knowing How Much Your Colleague Earns



“Some live for the bill, Some kill for the bill, She whine for the bill, Grind for the bill”– Wyclef Jean

Oh, money, it makes the world go crazy; it makes it go round and round. Eeerrhhmm, hold up! Was it money or love? These days I can’t tell because everything now comes after money in this crazy world. So yeah, money makes the world go round, sue me if you want to.

There’s no denying, money is a pretty important part of life. We need it to pay our ever mounting bills, feed ourselves (and family members), make sure we’re clothed (you can’t afford to look shabby), have shelter and all that good stuff. Most times, money is the deciding factor in whether we can accept and handle that crappy job that pays well or not.

While growing up, we were told not to ask people much they make, because it was rude and all. But really, would it be a bad idea to find out how much your coworkers are taking home at the end of the month? What would you do if you earned far less than your colleague? How would you feel?

Read on to find out how knowing your colleagues’ salaries can affect you, for better or for worse.

Do freak out
I grant you permission to freak out if you find out that others are taking home a much larger pay check than you do at the end of the month. You are absolutely entitled to a freak out.

But hold up!

If you are going to run out of your screaming, reeling out all the reasons why the company doesn’t deserve you and another company is dying to have you, then you don’t have my permission at all. You’re on your own there (OYO). Of course I understand that you’re totally outraged, but yelling at your boss and coworkers who all the while thought you were super normal and cool and hot and all that up until now, won’t be a good idea at all. You’re going to look like an insane person, and that might just end up making you jobless. I am sure you’d like that, right?

It is allowed to get emotional
Sadly, you found out that your coworker, who does basically the exact same job as you, if not less, is making more money than you. The truth is: you’re 100 percent going to feel super insecure and absolutely terrible about yourself, well except you are not human. You’re going to ponder and wonder why they did not deem you’re not good enough to make the same salary as your coworker. In other words, if you are like me, you’re going to get super emotional and are going to feel every single feeling under the sun. You’ll cruise from anger to grief to depression to confusion to, finally, complacency. You’ll come to the realization that there is almost nothing that can be done about the situation, so eventually, you’ll just have to move on.

It’s allowed to feel on top of the world
On the other hand, what if it turns out that you are the one making more than your coworker? Well that’s a totally different kettle of fish.  You’re going to feel like the most valuable person (MVP) on the block. You will feel amazing, cool and smart. You will be quick to assume that your boss thinks you’re just the best person that’s ever worked for them. You know what? It doesn’t matter if it is true or not, what matters is; it’s just what you think.

Your productivity will be affected
The bad news is, if you find out you are making less than the people in the office, the tendency that your productivity will drop is very high. You’ll begin to wonder why you’re even bothering coming into work at all. Your productivity might hit rock bottom because you might even start calling in sick when you’re not sick at all (we caught you, y’all think the bosses did not know right? They’ve been here before) or even going out for lunch and never returning to the office and skipping the rest of the afternoon.

You’ll begin to wonder why you put in so much effort; why you try so hard to be impressive. If your colleague makes a ton more than you do but seems to be putting in zero effort in and is just generally lazy about work, you might be even more upset because why do they deserve the extra money and you don’t? The whole scenario reminds you of one of those times when knowledge is definitely not power and ignorance is definitely bliss. Deep down, you will miss the good old days when you had no idea what anyone made and you didn’t even care.

You will annoy your boss
Whether you’re making more or less than your colleague who sits opposite you, there’s no doubt about it, you’re going to start annoying your boss. If you make more than everyone else, that could turn you into an arrogant and cocky fellow who thinks more of himself than he actually is. If you make less, you’re going to whine and cry about how undervalued you are; how much you need a raise and how you have plans of leaving the company. Either way, you’ll definitely make an enemy out of your boss. And trust me, that is not a good move.

The truth is when you whine about how unfair life is, your boss might not sympathize. They’ll just remind you that this is 2015 and there are people out there looking to have your job for an even lesser pay. If there’s one thing that bosses hate, it’s super whiny employees. So please don’t whine.

People always say that there are two things you should never talk about during a polite dinner: money and politics. Politics can raise a lot of dust and cause a ripple effect you don’t want, so you probably don’t want to chat about that, but money causes envy, malice and hate.

The above listed are just a few of the ways that knowing your colleagues’ salaries can affect you. You might be less or more productive, depending on the individual. But other than that, it’s probably best if you don’t go into salary details with your colleagues. It’s much better to be in the dark. You’ll be happier that way.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Elliot Burlingham


  1. ty

    October 23, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks! But what about advice on asking for a raise? Gender pay gap etc.?

    • Curiousshe

      October 24, 2015 at 5:35 am

      I think the best way to do this is after a performance review. If after a performance review, your boss says you’ve done phenomenal work etc etc, then at that point, mention the possibility of a raise. Say something about doing research and finding out that people doing the same work with your qualification are getting paid more. And since you’ve done really good work so far, you think it’ll be only fair to get paid higher etc etc.
      This is just how I would go about it though. It’s actually what I plan to do after my next performance review. I feel like I should be getting paid more lol.

    • ty

      October 24, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Thank you for this 🙂

  2. Mabel

    October 23, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    This knowledge always stir up bad feelings. I remember when my sister found out a guy who was hired after her was making about 10k more, she was so angry and upset, worse the company was constantly harping how they didn’t have the money to increase her pay and had her working like a field hand She quit not too long after that.

  3. a

    October 23, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    BN, hi, I think pls your site is running a script that causes the system to hang. If you can help, please do.

  4. 2015

    October 24, 2015 at 6:10 am

    I totally understand this .I was in the same boat some 7 years ago, found out people who werent delivering half of what i was where earning more and i went berserk .I felt cheated and resigned same month…HR refused to accept resignation…i was so bitter i didnt accept new offer .Fortunately got an offer from a someone who had always admired how much energy and zeal i put into my work each time he comes to do business and i didnt even realise he took cognisance….landed me another job in his Bank and the rest is history.

  5. Saminu Eedris

    October 25, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Woah! This is serious, i better not start asking so i won’t end up in any of the above mention categories…I think i prefer being in the dark than knowing how much my collegue is making.

    Thanks for sharing these amazing stuff, Stay Blessed.

  6. I just discovered this

    October 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    ….. and I am super angry seeing that there seems to be a lot of lazy whiners (who earn more than me) working around me, But God dey…. new job in the horizon soon by God’s grace.

  7. Tosin

    October 27, 2015 at 5:18 am

    pretty funny

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