In a live radio interview last year about my book, the host asked me:
"So, Anita, how much do you make writing your syndicated workplace column?"
Thankfully, you couldn't see my reaction, because I have a feeling my face sort of resembled a landed halibut. But after a moment's hestitation, I answered him in a round, ballpark-figure-sort-of-way.
I thought of this as I read The New York Times story that noted younger workers don't really have a problem telling someone else what they make, and even financial adviser to the huddled masses, Suze Orman, chimed in that she thought fessing up to what you make is a good idea.
My parents were very closed-mouthed about their income, and the only reason I ever figured it out was because I snooped into their income tax report sometime in high school. My own kids don't have a clue what my husband and I make, although with the way we constantly yell at them to turn out lights "because it costs money!" and "No, you can't have the new Wii...do you think we're made of money?!" I'm sure they think we make about $450 a year.
Should we be discussing salary with our kids? What about with our work mates? Orman thinks it needs to be out in the open, claiming it will help level the playing field and get rid of income disparity. Younger workers claim they have no problem with it, and is part of their willingness to be more transparent.
As for me, I have to say that when the the radio host admitted that he doesn't make any more than I do as a workplace columnist, I felt better. But am I going to tell my kids our annual income? Probably not. I'm not buying a new Wii anytime soon.