I admit, I’m very curious what my co-workers make, but after dwelling on the fact, it really doesn’t matter. I would imagine that many people are always looking over their shoulder wondering how much their co-worker makes. It’s simple, they make more than you! Is that a good thing? Of course it is. Believing that a co-worker makes more than you should motivate you even more to do a better job and get noticed by others. Celebrate the fact that you are underpaid!

Think of it this way, companies are now, more than ever, looking for ways to cut operating costs. I would suspect that this happens in Human Resources to determine the highest salaries in the given departments in the company. They have a meeting with each manager and ask, who has been doing a good job, who is the hardest worker and who would be hard to replace? Wouldn’t you think they would look at who is doing the best job? (Remember, that’s you!) Sometimes I feel that people tend to get too comfortable when they make a lot of money and that their job is always safe. As we’ve seen already, that hasn’t been the case.

Let’s be realistic, there is a reason why salaries are not public knowledge (for most companies). Jealously would reign supreme and work ethic would suffer for those who know they make a lower salary than their peers. Face it, you can’t control what others make, so why stress over it? Only you know what you make, and you are in control of it. By performing well at work it will increase the likelihood of a raise each year.

Do you believe you should make more at work? Guess what, if you happen to know what a co-worker makes (maybe it’s a friend who disclosed it to you), you can’t go to your boss asking for more. It just doesn’t work that way. You’re not supposed to know, so that ammo won’t work. What you can do is volunteer for more projects and go an extra step to get noticed instead of just doing your typical daily tasks. Make notes throughout the year so when you have a review, you’ll have specific items to bring up. Doing things that save the company money is key.

While your co-workers salaries are not up for debate, industry average salaries are available for comparison. Check out Monster.com or Salary.com for salary wizards to get an idea of you’re ‘worth’. Remember to be level headed about salaries. We’re going through some tough economic times. I’ve already been informed I (and our entire company for that matter) will not be receiving a raise this year, but I’m very thankful I’m still employed and that our company hasn’t made any cost cutting measures.

So word of advice, don’t actively seek to find out what your co-workers make. It will do more harm than good. Do you know what your co-workers make?

Stupidly Yours,

Matt