A very strange thing happened recently. I was attached as a financial planner to Mr. X for around a year. He called me and said that he is out of job and wanted to discuss few things. I fixed up a time with him. What surprised me was the reason he was forced to part ways with his employer that he actually led a group of employees, to disclose their CTC or in other words the salary they get. There was an argument in the office that management was paying less to women and middle-age employees and to prove that he volunteered that everyone should disclose their packages. He was spotted by management as the leader of this group and he was asked to leave.
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Question– Is X wrong in discussing his salary with his colleagues?
Answer– Although law of country does not restrict this, but if the Terms of Employment that you have signed (and sometime if you have not signed, but culturally if it’s a set norm) with your employer make you withhold this information, one should not reveal it.
What else one should not reveal? Apart from the general nature or behavioral things like your ugly past (if you have one), your gravest mistake (highlighting that you are prone to committing blunders), your boozing habits (the out of control ones), your stud personality (date n hate style of being in relationship), marriage woes (Hitler in-laws or divorce inclined spouse), crush over the Photostat girl etc etc … there are some things of financial nature also, that you should not tell your colleagues. These are:
- Salary: like the example above, salary is not to be discussed in office. Apart from salary the year end incentives, bonuses, esops or raise – even in percentage terms should not be discussed. One must confirm the organizational policy and culture followed by the management. I would also suggest that you should not boast your family income or show off your spouse income.
- Debt Obligations: Everyone has a house loan and a car loan. Till this it’s ok to share, but if you have loans above this limit, it is better not to disclose. In case you are debt ridden by responsibility or by ignorance, it’s better not to wash dirty things in open. I remember a colleague (when I was in job) who took a huge sum of personal loan during his marriage. Half the people in the office gossiped that his parents do not support him (yes it’s a curse in India- parents are bound to support although kids may choose to do otherwise, and if they do so the responsibility again lies with parents as society attributes this as fault in upbringing).
- Any Sob Story of money loss: Ok you were in credit card debt and collections departments landed at your office or residence or you lost 80% of your portfolio in 2008 market crash, but why you have to tell your own story to teach juniors to be prudent in life. These stories about you taking a bad decision are actually destroying your impression. Yes they may be true and you might have a positive end with these stories, but office is not a place to show heroic side of you over issues that everyone faces.
- Any Scheme to Trap: Surveys have proved that majority investments decision, the information starts from office. So offices or colleagues are bound to discuss investment opportunities. It is better to refrain from unqualified advices. In case you have a financial planner and you have already on track with a financial plan, you have no reason to waste time. You can assume yourself in safe and trustable hands. Also if you are no expert please avoid advocating property investments, equity tips, multi-level schemes or holiday memberships.
Dear reader, office conduct is a big subject and depends on person to person and organizational culture. But few measures can save lot of energy waste. And as always recommended, financial planning is way to financial freedom. Even your smartest boss can’t guarantee that. Please share you views & experience on this. …& you can share this article in your office 🙂