Workers Share Their Salary Secrets, By Lauren Weber and Rachel E. Silverman, The Wall Street Journal
During the early 2000s the rule was never discuss your salary with your co-workers. Today, with younger employees joining the work force this rule has changed, and people are more willing to talk about how much money they make (or not).
“At Brian Bader’s orientation for a tech-support job with Apple Inc…three years ago, he says, human-resources managers ran down the list of guidelines workers were expected to follow. Don’t use explicit language on calls with customers. Treat other employees with respect. And, he says, they told the assembled recruits, don’t discuss your pay with co-workers.
That last requirement backfired. It just made me more curious, said Mr. Bader, 25 years old, who had been offered $12 per hour. Throughout the day’s breaks, he surveyed his new colleagues about their wages, and learned that everyone was earning somewhere between $10 and $12 per hour. Apple declined to comment on internal policies.
That information became the basis of his decision to leave his job just three months later, after he realized—thanks to the performance data managers shared with their teams every week, detailing such metrics as how many calls each employee had answered and problems solved—that he was twice as productive as the lowest performer on the team, yet earned only 20% more. It irked me. If I’m doing double the work, why am I not seeing double the pay? said Mr. Bader, who is about to graduate from California State University, Sacramento.
Comparing salaries among colleagues has long been a taboo of workplace chatter, but that is changing as Millennials—individuals born in the 1980s and 1990s—join the labor force.
Accustomed to documenting their lives in real time on social-media forums like Facebook FB -3.25% and Twitter, they are bringing their embrace of self-disclosure into the office with them. And they’re using this information to negotiate raises at their current employer or higher salaries when moving to a new job.” Read more…
Directions: Have students study the photo and describe what they think is happening in the picture.
Directions: Have students read infer the meanings of the words (in bold) from the article.
- Don’t use explicit language on calls with customers.
- That last requirement backfired.
- He surveyed his new colleagues about their wages.
- It irked me.
- Comparing salaries among colleagues has long been a taboo.
Questions for Reading Comprehension
Directions: In groups have students discuss the following questions.
- What were the three guidelines Brian Bader read at Apple’s orientation?
- How did Brian find out how much money his co-workers made?
- Why did Brian quit his job at Apple?
- Give two reasons why are people more willing to discuss their salaries today.
- In your opinion, is discussing your salary a good idea, or a bad idea? Provide reasons why.
- explicit |ikˈsplisit|-adjective-stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt: the speaker’s intentions were not made explicit .
- backfire |ˈbakˌfī(ə)r|-verb [ no obj. ]-(of a plan or action) rebound adversely on the originator; have the opposite effect to what was intended: overzealous publicity backfired on her.
- survey verb |sərˈvā| [ with obj. ]-• investigate the opinions or experience of (a group of people) by asking them questions: 95% of patients surveyed were satisfied with the health service.
- irk |ərk|-verb [ with obj. ]-irritate; annoy: it irks her to think of the runaround she received.
- taboo |təˈbo͞o, ta-|-noun ( pl. taboos )-a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.
Questions for Reading Comprehension
- Don’t use explicit language on calls with customers. Treat other employees with respect. Don’t discuss your pay with co-workers.
- Throughout the day’s breaks, he surveyed his new colleagues about their wages.
- Brian discovered that he was twice as productive as the lowest performer on the team, yet he earned only 20% more.
- Today younger individuals ( born in the 1980s and 1990) are joining the work force and they are accustomed to sharing their personal lives on social media forums such as Facebook and Twitter. They are bringing this “self-disclosure” attitude to the work place. In addition, they are using this information negotiate raises at their current employer or higher salaries when moving to a new job.
- Students’ choice.