Lion of the Blogosphere

The salary taboo

For Yakov, who thinks I’m “trolling” when I write that the people should know how much money other people make. This is something I wrote 11 years ago:

* * *

In America, it’s taboo to talk about your salary.

It’s a pretty strange taboo because most of the other taboos have something to do with sex. The salary taboo seems even stronger than sex taboos. Today, you turn on HBO and see gay men kissing each other on Six Feet Under [10 years later, you see gay men doing a lot worse on Sense8], yet the characters on the show never mention what they get paid, so someone watching the show who is thinking about entering the death care industry has no idea whether it’s economically rewarding.

Because no one knows how much anyone else gets paid, this assymetry of information benefits employers. Employers know exactly what people working for them get paid, and have a pretty good idea of what people at other companies are getting paid. The salary taboo gives employers an unfair bargaining advantage over employees, and employers already have a huge bargaining advantage on account of it being a lot easier for the employer to lose an employee than vice versa.

There has been much talk about how the top 1% is getting all the benefits of the economic expansion. Maybe the salary taboo is a big part of the reason. Because no one talks about salaries, no one realizes that someone with the same job skills received a 10% raise, so they don’t know to ask for one themselves.

If people really want to stick it to The Man, they’d freely and openly tell everyone how much they earn.

Bloggers can therefore do more for equality in America than any government policy. All we have to do is start a new trend in which we tell the world exactly how much money we make. Post it in your blogs, or leave a comment here.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 7, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Posted in Labor Markets

142 Responses

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  1. The salary taboo is a good thing if you have friends or family members who will be asking you for money.


    May 7, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    • Damn straight. I don’t certain irresponsible relatives with money problems to know how much I earn.


      May 7, 2017 at 9:24 pm

  2. l already share via glassdoor. Also, at Google I’ve heard that some people made an internal website where they allowed people to post their compensation (anonymous or not).


    May 7, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    • Yes, Glassdoor is an excellent source of information for certain types of jobs and companies.,13_IM615_KE14,19_SDJR.htm

      Ford Models allegedly make an average of $366/hour. I’m not sure how many hours a modeling assignment takes. A model who can bill 33 hours/week would make $600,000/year.

      • No way. Very few models are making that kind of money and they probably spend it all within 1 month. Maybe the Victoria’s Secret girls plus another 50 to 100 in the whole country.

        The best benefit for those girls has to be the access to hobnob with lots of rich men and be able to find and marry one that is somewhat young, decent looking and personable.

        Models get stuck with lots of expenses, too. Nobody wants to be subsidizing some ditzy diva models’s spending habits on cocaine, makeup, personal trainers, cosmetics, stupid pets, travel, clothing…. overpriced everything.


        May 8, 2017 at 9:03 am

      • How did you know that the previous occupant of my apartment has a stupid pet?

      • That’s stereotyping. Not all models do drugs, and not all models waste money. In fact, the ones that are on top 100, are the ones who got more jobs, and those are the ones who are more professional. One photographer told me the big difference between Gisele and others is that with Gisele you know what you’re getting, always her A-game, while with others it’s not as clear. My friend who’s in top 100 is very money-conscious, saves and is also thinking of going to college eventually. (probably not a good idea to do that so late in life, I think)


        May 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      • most models don’t book much work (youtube has many documentaries about this, and some models blog about trying to book gigs). it’s a winner take all industry.

        fun fact. anthony weiner got an amendment into the h1b legislation that allows fashion models “of distinguished merit and ability,” to get visas above the quota. it’s the best thing he’s ever done with his life.

  3. I have a coworker who is constantly bugging me about what I think the others at our firm make, since I’ve been there longer. I keep telling him I don’t know and don’t care, but he keeps asking. He’s very insecure about his compensation.

    Andrew E.

    May 7, 2017 at 6:57 pm

  4. Apparently there is an exception to the salary taboo if you are sharing for SJW-approved purposes:

    The downside to doing this is that your manager’s budget will be diverted toward lower performers, in order to make all of the snowflakes “equal.”


    May 7, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    • Google is definitely not about equal pay for unequal work, quite the opposite. There is a lot of sjw bullshit in the background but this compensation data spreadsheet is incredibly powerful and insightful.

      It accomplishes exactly with the Lion predicts as the playing field is now even. I’ve used it to pivot on location, job series, level, gender. Can calculate the appropriate distribution and figure out where you are in the bell curve. Can focus future salary negotiations on where you have slack to make up. Can figure out how much head room you have before needing a promotion. Can figure out the pay structure of the next level up. Etc.

      A concerned lurker

      May 7, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      • > Google is definitely not about equal pay for unequal work, quite the opposite.

        Ask any recent minority hire about their signing bonus.

        Companies like Google or Facebook can minimize the effects of their social engineering because they have unlimited funds with which to overpay the useless token hires. Normal companies with normal margins do not.

        At a normal company, annual raises are very much a zero-sum game with a fixed budget, so the dynamics will be different from what you experienced.


        May 7, 2017 at 11:23 pm

      • Yeah, I saw an article about a ‘tragic death’ of the only magic negro on 5 continents that can code to a google required level. Apparently there was a bidding war for the pokemon among the tech companies as he was fully magical to boot, and not mixed race as usual.

        You see, affirmative action is a punishment against whites and is mind control sophistry to get them to commit seppuku and propel barbarians to the top under certain under types of barbarian.

        You see

        You See

        Never forget!!!

        The Philosopher

        May 8, 2017 at 6:15 am

      • Google unintentionally (and embarrassingly) approximates meritocracy. Here are the stats

        Note that this is in spite of the rampant sjw culture.

        The bar is high and any diversity exceptions are virtually nonexistent. Yes, interview process can be random and provide weird results. anecdotally the females I work with here are heads and shoulders above elsewhere. Minorities are so poorly represented that I have little experience working with him.

        I can vouch for the fact that many of my coworkers are literally the best (or top few) in the world at their specialty.

        Signing bonus is insignificant to total compensation packages. If you can’t or don’t perform there is little corporate sympathy. The bar is high to avoid bringing people on who are out of their league. If you perform you get rewarded, handsomely.

        A concerned lurker

        May 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      • > The bar is high and any diversity exceptions are virtually nonexistent.

        They handle women (and “women”) with kid gloves. But for a real treat, check out the BGN lists.


        May 8, 2017 at 11:02 pm

  5. Since I work at a public university in Canada, my salary is listed publically. It seems quite impressive in Canadian dollars. Not so much in American.


    May 7, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    • Just love the big “C” in front of the $. The French Speaking province is a total steal for anyone who earns American dollars and lives there. I love bookstores and the entire province is filled with them. Some of them even offer rebate points for anyone who make bulk purchases, even in used bookshops. For every book you buy, you earn $1. You’ll never find this in Meriprolestan.


      May 7, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      • > rebate points….For every book you buy, you earn $1

        You “earn” $1 huh? Points? That all sounds very prole to me.


        May 8, 2017 at 2:39 am

      • Canuckproles LOVE these goofy programs like “Canadian Tire money”. Time to move, JS.


        May 8, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      • JS, at $150-$200 a day u are a loser. How come you make so little?


        May 8, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      • By the way, proles like you don’t understand the concept of quality of life. The pursuit of high earnings for most people is often stressful and unhealthy.


        May 8, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      • I really don’t know what goes on in Anglo Prole Canada. But the bookshops in the French speaking part are quite interesting and classy.

        At least the rebate programs encourage people to buy more books and read. And I’m not talking about the behemoths found in the states like Barnes & Nobles. These are small businesses with a niche clientele.


        May 8, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      • Well, how much do your heavy hands make you a day, Yakov?

        My job is very low stress. All I do is stare at the computer all day long, making data entries for this company based out in NYC, including weekends.

        Remember, my money is pretax like Lion’s.

        And my rent is only C $750. Now work on the currency conversion:


        May 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      • I saw a movie on Netflix called Nuut #1 that I really liked. It starts as a one night stand that evolves in a long discussion with multiple subjects between a québécoise and an immigrant.

        I really liked it. The star, Catherine de Lean, was feminine, pathetic, sexy and debauched all rolled into one character. French movies have interesting female characters compared to Anglo movies.


        May 9, 2017 at 12:01 am

      • ‘All I do is stare at the computer all day long, making data entries for this company based out in NYC, including weekends.’

        You have self-actualization nicely, mate. A NAM can do it, but a freedom and adventure loving American prole would die from boredom and embarrassement. For a man to do data entry for a living he must be thoroughly feminized. Aren’t you an accountant with tons of rich American clients? When did you make the switch to data entry?


        May 9, 2017 at 3:48 am

      • I still have some of those clients. I cannot see them in person anymore.

        Accountants perform data entry, so what is your point.


        May 9, 2017 at 10:17 am

      • HVAC techs perform data entry too, but when describing my job I wouldn’t mention it. Accounting isn’t data entry, and certainly on weekends. You needed to move to Canada to do data entry? Lol.


        May 9, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      • TAXES,Taxes, taxes, unlike you who don’t pay any.

        And the demography, most Americans are just money maggots, and nothing else.


        May 10, 2017 at 8:46 am

      • A tax accountant who flees the USA because the taxes are too high and ends up doing data entry seven days a week for $150 a day? You the proverbial shoemaker without shoes. Lolz.


        May 10, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      • Yakov — when is your next sporadic or periodic HVAC assignment? You don’t even have a stream of steady income and you call me a loser for making $150 per diem.

        Again, if you read my comments from far back, I structured my business as a S-Corp where I’m the officer taking a meager salary — the only reason is because I was living in a rent stabilized apartment located in Astor Place – a very desirable area of Manhattan, paying next to nothing in rent and paying less in taxes. If I reported my earnings higher than the income limits, I would be paying a high surcharge and why do I need to throw more money away in rent and taxes. Furthermore, this S-Corp arrangement is a good vehicle for me to save money. The undistributed income is still sitting there. I made this sacrifice so I could live in Manhattan for dirt cheap while saving money.


        May 11, 2017 at 12:21 am

    • So what is it?


      May 7, 2017 at 10:54 pm

  6. Well here’s something different. A 50-year-old chick in a bikini shoots stuff with a Rustington 870 shotgun. I know, 50 years old, but yes, you would.
    It’s a longish video but watch the first 90 seconds or so and you’ll have seen enough.



    May 7, 2017 at 8:00 pm

  7. The wage collusion by Apple, Google, Netflix, etc changed some employees perspective. It’s common to see postings on Hacker News about compensation.

    JW Bell

    May 7, 2017 at 8:05 pm

  8. Salaried jobs are tightly banded. What any particular person makes is rarely going to be a mystery. You could pony up the cash and buy the exact same quarterly reports employers use to determine salary schedules. For almost all salaried jobs there isn’t really room for negotiation. The employer has determined what they will be paying for the role.


    May 7, 2017 at 9:39 pm

  9. Compensation doesn’t really tell us much about a person. Americans are judged by their credentials, neighborhood of residence, and their residence. That’s it!


    May 7, 2017 at 10:51 pm

  10. ‘Bloggers can therefore do more for equality in America than any government policy.’

    America is about opportunity to deferentiate yourself and do better then others, it’s not about equality. You wanna live in Cuba or North Korea? I don’t.

    That having been said, I had shared a cubicle with a moron that was working for the payroll department. So the moron had left for the day without logging off. I’d kept the session active until everyone went home and printed the payroll report. I also printed the salary history of all employees in the IT department including the mmanagement. Good for me! But I wouldn’t want this info to become public. Workers need to focus on their jobs and not on what others are earning. This isn’t good for business.


    May 7, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    • This comment on Zero Hedge sums up America, especially for proles and why they’re screwed!

      “First and foremost, where the hell can most people get out? The doors aren’t much more open for monolingual American(remember, our schools, unlike the rest of the world, don’t really teach second languages) paupers with no practical job skills (also product of America’s “great” education system) than they are for Ethiopians and Nigerians who at least usually speak the rudiments of two or three languages. Every nation except North Korea is eager to receive rich American tourists. Poor American job-hunters are another matter entirely. And in case you didn’t know, it costs $150 for a passport and another $200 in taxes for any flight leaving an American airport for a foreign country. Yes, Virginia, there IS an exit tax, as well as an entire range of techniques employed to keep American workers from getting away for anything but an expensive, limited-time vacation”.

      And remember what I said about the American flag. From the same commenter:

      “The American Flag is an aesthetic nightmare, and no, I don’t respect ugliness in any form”.


      May 8, 2017 at 12:13 am

  11. Software developer, $85k/y plus healthcare, 401k matching, other minor benefits. Pretty decent at my age.


    May 7, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    • Amusingly I’m the only one ITT including Lion who’s actually shared his salary.


      May 7, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      • $90/hr

      • My rate was $72.50 back in ’98.


        May 7, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      • That’s $90/hr 1099? Seems like NYC should be higher than that… you don’t get holidays, vacation, or deferred comp benefits.

        FWIW, a few years ago I did a short-term contract for $95/hr 1099. Was able to take about 1/3 of it as tax-free per diem — that’s where the big money is. My take-home on that gig was literally twice what it is now that I’m back on salary.

        From everything I’ve gathered developer rates haven’t budged in the last ~20 yrs. Partly because late 90’s were such salad days, partly because H1B scabs have kept rates from going up. I can only imagine what $90/hr would have been like in 1999. Wow.


        May 8, 2017 at 12:08 am

      • I currently make about US $150-200/per diem in Canadian soil, free lancing. Chump change in the states, but not bad in Québec. Monthly rent is C $750, which is dirt cheap.

        I really need to get dual citizenship to exploit this and become a tax cheat legally.


        May 8, 2017 at 12:08 am

      • $90/hr and 1099, so that’s pretax money.

        I’m guess Lion isn’t working remotely from home. He needs to be in the office where there’s no autonomy.

        There are not many expenses to write off when it comes to tax time.

        I’m guess he’s saving a lot of that money anyway. So he will be paying a lot around April 15th.

        Not fun is all I can say.


        May 8, 2017 at 8:49 am

      • @JS

        “I currently make about US $150-200/per diem in Canadian soil, free lancing. Chump change in the states, but not bad in Québec. Monthly rent is C $750, which is dirt cheap.

        I really need to get dual citizenship to exploit this and become a tax cheat legally.”

        No you need to renounce your American citizenship to escape the onerous double taxation and FATCA reporting requirements.

        With the cynical attitude it’ll probably be no philosophical or emotional sacrifice to hand in the Yank passport.

        Otherwise always enjoy the energetic (and perhaps exaggerated) cynicism JS writes.

        On the other hand I don’t think it’s really exaggerated at all… Tip of the iceberg in fact…

        No exit indeed…

        The Yank establishment that holds itself as the center of the world keeps us ignorant and useless to global markets.

        Even in retirement…

        Those medicare $$$ are useless overseas, where they’d go a lot farther than in the US. Let the taxpayer and the expat retiree both profit from health care arbitrage…. Nah. Screw the expat traitor. Double taxe & onerous accounting and reporting rules. It’s that or Yank-approved God’s waiting room in South Florida.

        Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

        May 8, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      • In Nordic countries, tax returns are not private but rather a matter of public record.

        Perhaps it’s not a bad idea? Don’t make punitive taxation of the wealthy, but rather let shame of being greedy beyond good taste regulate the massive differences in how the economy’s strongest compensate themselves.

        Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

        May 8, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      • Wow, that’s a great idea for two reasons. (1) you know everyone’s income which prevents value transference; and (2) it deters cheating.

      • Ikea is Swedish and has non-profit status. Yeah, you say taxes are a matter of public domain, but you sure can navigate around that. Same it was before 1987 when people would incorporate in the US. 94% marginal tax? Nobody paid that.


        May 8, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      • Sharing our salary income isn’t the most interesting thing to know.

        The yields on real estate investments of Petit Rentiers with whom I’m acquainted make the six-figure salarymen & dot-communists in my prosperous left-coast metropole look like minimum-wage serfs.

        Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta

        May 8, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      • Something is rotten in the state if Denmark.

        A lot of snitches and people are dealing in cash. Sick place, if you ask me.


        May 8, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      • I currently pay no tax (with the exception of social security/medicare) on my American income earned in Canadian soil. There is an IRS rule call the Foreign Income Exclusion up to ~ $100K, not taxable if one is living in a foreign country for at least 330 days.


        May 8, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      • “No exit indeed…

        The Yank establishment that holds itself as the center of the world keeps us ignorant and useless to global markets”.

        Most Americans are monolingual and most Americans are poorly educated. Where they’re gonna go…Hotel California – “We are just all prisoners here, of our own device”


        May 9, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    • Exp & metro?

      $85k w/ 6+ yrs exp in Silicon Valley: meh. $85k w/ 2 yrs exp in fly-over: congrats, enjoy it man.

      IOW, how much of the median house in your area does that buy: 50%, 33%, 10%?


      May 8, 2017 at 12:20 am

    • 120/hr-175/hr, no benefits (range across current customers). Gross about 365k per year (about 300k after expenses). Live where all of you would consider flyover country. Engineer, but also do some sales and some technical management (the latter is certainly odd for a contractor)

      Some Dude

      May 8, 2017 at 7:24 am

      • You can live like a king in flyover country with that much money. Assuming that you want to live like a king.

      • I wouldn’t. The amenities in flyover suck!


        May 8, 2017 at 8:16 am

      • I love Pennsylvania. Is it flyover?


        May 8, 2017 at 8:44 am

      • Like a king or like people used to live – wife stays at home and kids can roam the neighborhood safely when you’re surrounded by doctors and business owners.

        One of the nicest things about my setup (a lot of hours, but fairly flexible) is it allows our family the opportunity to travel, which is what I think is the ideal setup – live in flyover, but lots of quick getaways to the city and a few nice vacations a year (some of which are nearly free due to the beach / lake houses). The flip side is when I took the in laws on a cruise this winter, I still needed to put in 2-4 hours a day to meet deliveries.

        Some Dude

        May 8, 2017 at 10:56 am

      • Quite a number of readers on this blog have no immediate family members, heirs and love ones or true friends — there is absolutely no benefit in terms of striving towards a lucrative career. Perhaps one that has status to differentiate from the Average Joe Prole.


        May 8, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    • $30K right out of undergrad Comp Sci w/ a large defense contractor as a jr. software engineer in 1986.

      E. Rekshun

      May 8, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    • Well, it is different here, But I make 500,000nis a year, as a EE engineer.
      but taxes eat about 200,000, so it comes out 300,000.
      But hey, it includes health insurance!


      May 11, 2017 at 8:01 am

  12. Daniel

    May 7, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    • There are more Chinese in America than ever and more are on their way, now that Jared Kushner & Co want to entice them to come into the country with investor money in exchange for luxury condos.

      Where’s Steve Bannon to stop this? Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. This is a slap in the face to all the proles who voted for him.


      May 7, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      • Damn!


        May 8, 2017 at 12:25 am

      • This articles causes the most outrage from Americans:


        May 8, 2017 at 8:24 am

      • “There are more Chinese in America than ever and more are on their way, now that Jared Kushner & Co want to entice them to come into the country with investor money in exchange for luxury condos.”

        I guess it’ll screw up some people by raising the price of real estate. But overall, it can’t be a bad deal for US nor the Chinese. The Chinese get to have some money outside of China, since it’s very risky to have all your wealth there. The US gets to tax the real estate that’s not even used. Some local will be happy (due to more funds) and some won’t due to increase prices of real estate, but overall it’s a win-win


        May 8, 2017 at 12:58 am

      • Many of them are coming to America, because it sucks to be well off in China. The air quality is poor and every place reminds you of a crowded Chinatown. Most importantly, their schools are no good, because they implement a rote-bureaucratic system of learning. Not that American schools are superior, but they bring life to these kids.


        May 8, 2017 at 8:22 am

      • JS. You are finally losing it. Instead of losers south of the border who cross the Rio Grande and mooch off of the system, or the foreign refugees who also mooch off of the system, these Chinese are bring their capital to this country.

        If there was one category of foreigners we should be embracing with open arms is these Chinese with investor visas. I came as an H1B in this country and even I think these investors have a bigger right to be in this country than even the techies.

        What beef could these proles have with the chinese investor visas. and even if they do who the hell even cares. That’s like asking a trailer trash their opinion on some dish they serve on Nobu restaurant.


        May 8, 2017 at 2:00 am

      • There are already many Chinese in Middle America, and their population is growing.


        May 8, 2017 at 8:14 am

      • Kushner is definbitely a lot closer to his own fathers beliefs and personal attitude on the future of the human race, than Trump.

        Kushner’s dad blackmailed his brother in law and sent the sex tape of him doing a hooker he hired to entrap him to his sister.

        Our elite are wonderful pro-people people.

        Wonder where they get it from?

        The Philosopher

        May 8, 2017 at 6:23 am

      • “Many of them are coming to America, because it sucks to be well off in China. ”

        this reminds me of a ny times article from around 10 years ago about how americans are so rich our 20th percentile was equal to western europe’s 50th, and india’s 95th.

        i couldn’t find the original article, but i’m sure the great recession has changed things if the study were updated.

      • JS, ever had the feeling you’ve been had?


        May 8, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      • It is a really bad idea to encourage Chinese investors. They have ruined Vancouver. They have all sorts of devious ways to avoid tax while taking advantage of the best public schools and universities (and free health care in Canada) They will bleed you dry.


        May 8, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      • Yes, and they offer no interesting culture to native White people. At least with Middle Easterners, even Muslim types, you get to smoke hookah, taste a piece of baklava, watch belly dancing and learn Arabic.

        Québec is lucky not to attract them. Now that we have floods throughout Canada, they are not affected, because the most French Canadians don’t welcome them in the 1st place.


        May 9, 2017 at 12:09 am

      • A lot of Asians have contempt for Euros finding them childish. Further, many, Japanese excepted, don’t feel the need to play by the rules. Notice how many Asian restaurants and businesses only take cash. Tax officials assume they are being had by Asian businesses.


        May 9, 2017 at 12:24 am

      • The Chinese are a lower class if you compare them to the Japanese. They always had a lower morale. And these people still bring up WWII and what the Japanese have done to them.


        May 9, 2017 at 10:11 am

    • There is no benefit to the 99.9999% of non real estate owning people of dirty Chinese money entering US capital markets. There is no benefit to asset prices being artificially bid up. All it does is make it hard for Americans to buy.

      No one has a “right” to be in America.

      Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lapdog

      May 8, 2017 at 9:24 am

      • American elites import south of the border types to render native NAMs obsolete, and they bring in Chinese and their stash of cash, as a buffer zone to keep poor proles at bay. There’s a Darwinian society for you.


        May 8, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      • I didn’t say that they had a right to be in America. I said they have more rights than h1bs, definitely way more right than refugees, economic migrants from south. IF u are going to let foreigners in, they should be in front of the line. That’s all.


        May 8, 2017 at 2:05 pm

  13. Linkedin has salary survey data which indicated that as a Sr. SW Developer in Portland metro I should be making at least $120k + bonus.

    Last week I got a raise to… $120k + bonus. W/o having seen the salary data I would have been forever wondering whether I had screwed myself with poor negotiating at my initial hire.

    It turns out I had, and apparently they were happy to underpay me as long as it seemed like I was going to let them. I overcame it by doing great work to make myself valued by the company, and then being confident to ask for raises that I knew would put me inline with the industry average.


    May 7, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    • I’m getting paid quite a bit more money than someone with my title is supposed to make according to Glassdoor.

      • Glassdoor is $10K or more too low for all the positions I’m familiar with.


        May 7, 2017 at 11:35 pm

  14. A good employee is harder to find then a good employer. Good employees have the upper hand once they prove their mettle, or at least this is what I think based on my experience. All the boss wants is for you to make him look good and make him money. It’s easy to please a boss.


    May 7, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    • This is only true for roles where work is directly linked to revenue generation.

      Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lapdog

      May 8, 2017 at 9:27 am

  15. Are salaries beta? Don’t alphas “eat what they kill”?


    May 8, 2017 at 12:43 am

    • Totally. If you don’t earn commission or have a serious equity stake then you don’t have a real career. Only cost center schlubs earn straight salary.


      May 8, 2017 at 6:49 am

  16. Sharing income is very important – how else would I know what professions I should encourage my kids to go for? Most of my friends/relatives will tell me how much people in their professions make, eg specialist doctor $x, accountant with own firm, $y, etc.

    The only reason I got into my current industry is because people shared how much they made, and the ease of moving from one income bracket to another.

    I think people should also be honest about the flexibility/hours/stress/growth-potential involved in their jobs, as a counterpart to the income they earn.


    May 8, 2017 at 1:43 am

  17. Two points:
    1) As an employer I concur that I do worry my employees may talk around and find out the competition pays more, and
    2) I disagree that employers are in a better bargaining position than employees. In booming economic times–as is the case currently in British Columbia–employees are in a much better position, and can often bargain employers over a barrel.


    May 8, 2017 at 2:35 am

    • What is booming in BC other than housing costs?


      May 9, 2017 at 9:48 pm

  18. Due to a couple of layoffs and blown opportunities, the “Great Recession,” crushing competition, and my own risk aversion, my salary today is exactly what it was in 1998.

    E. Rekshun

    May 8, 2017 at 5:25 am

  19. Several years ago, for a special project, the super-administrator of my employer’s ERP gave me read-only permission to view all employees’ salary data. I finished the special project almost ten years ago, but the super-administrator never removed my permission. I can see salary, overtime earnings, all pay deductions, wage garnishments, sick and vacation time earned and used, etc. for all employees. Sometimes when I bored, I take a peek.

    Smartest Woman on the Internet

    May 8, 2017 at 5:34 am

    • Details?

      • Aside from just a very few, the salaries aren’t out-of-whack or unfair. The most shocking tidbit is the amount of paid sick days off from work more than a few (mostly female) workers eat up year after year, the same ones; and nothing seems to happen.

        There was a case of a senior executive being kept on the roles for nearly a year, collecting full pay, after he left day-to-day employment until he reached age 65 and Medicare eligibility. And a situation where a couple dozen old-time retirees were kept on the group insurance plan for ten+ years in total contradiction to corporate policy. And a case where the company continued to pay a mid-level manager for twelve weeks after he consumed his sick days so he could recuperate from knee surgery. (He didn’t purchase the company-sponsored short term disability or long term disability insurance.) All of these arrangements were kept secret and one wouldn’t be able to see evidence unless he could see the payroll data.

        Smartest Woman on the Internet

        May 8, 2017 at 11:23 am

  20. The best profession are often hidden. For example, who knows that most harbour pilot in the USA, who are employees and not business men, make more than 500K a year. Read this :

    In France, it’s much more (7 figures), and more difficult to get it, and nobody knows. The reason is that if people knew, they would loose the money, because except for sport people, it’s not really competitive and many people could do the job for much less.

    Bruno from Paris

    May 8, 2017 at 5:42 am

    • Same thing with, for example, longshoremen. And to a lesser extent firefighters and police officers, though people like the kind that read a blog like this are well aware of this scam on the taxpayer.

      Mid-level management in Fortune 1000 corporate America pays very, very well.

      Also, dermatologists, podiatrists, etc., etc.

      many people could [and would] do the job for much less.

      E. Rekshun

      May 8, 2017 at 11:08 am

  21. For example, the 58 San Francisco bay pilots were paid 26.3 millions since 2006 and they campaigned for a rise in 2015 and got it. The minimum salary is now 500K for them and i haven’t checked the average (it mus be in some legislature documents). The working condition is one week on, one week off and a retirement of 200K a year after 20 years of service.

    In every country, they are some incredible jobs like that. In spain, for example, air traffic controller, who are public employees, made 380K a year on average, some going up to 900K, working less than 3 days a week.

    Bruno from Paris

    May 8, 2017 at 5:54 am

    • People who work in IT get paid very well in Spain, with 6 figure Euros, and they work no more than 30-40 hrs week. Unlike in the states, a career in IT usually sucks, when it comes hours and it’s also low status.


      May 8, 2017 at 8:41 am

      • This can’t really happen when your competition is putting in a greater effort.


        May 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      • Besides your field of work and careers involving “dirty hands”, proles are being out-competed in prolier, white collar fields like IT and Accounting. Hispanics and Asians are replacing them. The elites see fit and they’re untouchable with their careers in high finance, academia and the media, because they are off limits to everybody else.


        May 8, 2017 at 5:40 pm

  22. Never forget!!!!

    The Philosopher

    May 8, 2017 at 6:07 am

  23. When is Lion going to disavow the KKK?

    The Philosopher

    May 8, 2017 at 6:24 am

  24. The salary taboo exists because it does have to do with sex. A lot of a man’s long term value is wrapped up in his earning capacity. Asking a man his salary is like asking a woman how many sex partners she has had.


    May 8, 2017 at 9:09 am

    • True that.


      May 8, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    • Status is linked to sex perhaps even more so, and yet job titles are public.


      May 8, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      • You have to know someone’s job title (in order to know what work to give them). You don’t have to know someone’s salary.

        It’s also possible that there is less variance in status from job titles than there is variance in salary.


        May 9, 2017 at 2:46 am

  25. O/T:

    Yuval Harari on a world without work and how games could solve the issue:

    Simba of the Blogosphere

    May 8, 2017 at 9:13 am

  26. i agree with lion. the unintended consequence of requiring publicly traded companies/non-profits to disclose executive salaries is an increase in executive salaries.

    maybe that will happen to the rest of us.

  27. For all the loudmouths here who are bashing Trump for not “keeping his promises” on immigration, here is an in depth analysis of the ongoing destruction of the immigrant community being waged by the Trump admin:

    Otis the Sweaty

    May 8, 2017 at 11:14 am

    • You need to quantify this.


      May 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    • Trump may get rid of lower tier immigrants from south of the border. But the rising tide of East Asians and Indians — as technocrats, this he will not stop.

      America is now a well done steak!


      May 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      • JS finally said something I agree with. I see no more reason to give our country away to smart immigrants than to dumb immigrants. Smart immigrants feel they’re entitled to live in America. But I don’t see them giving their countries away. And we shouldn’t either. We should throw them out.


        May 8, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      • Sure throw them out. But allow Microsoft, Intel, and other companies to move divisions after divisions overseas. Inbred middle America doesn’t have enough workers to fill up the IT departments.


        May 9, 2017 at 12:07 am

      • wt wrote: “. Inbred middle America doesn’t have enough workers to fill up the IT departments.”


        You are saying Americans aren’t smart enough to do IT?
        America invented computers while Asians were hoeing rice fields.


        May 9, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      • Anglo-Phone Canada will become a British Columbia in its entirety very soon. The prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are already swelling up with the demographics that one finds in the techie centers of San Francisco or Redmond, Washington, just a stone’s throw away from where you live.

        The general consensus of Québec is that the province is inhabited with xenophobic, French-Speaking losers, who live on welfare subsidized by the rest of the country. Yet, Québec is a lot prettier and culturally induced than anywhere in America or the rest of Canada. Strange indeed!


        May 10, 2017 at 12:50 am

    • You need to quantify this.

      Oh he’ll quantify.

      This is a man with his own polling index; one that brings with it hypnotic power over millions of nerds.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      May 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm

  28. This is a good theory but I don’t think it will catch on.People who make too much generally feel it/know it and are scared and people who make too little also felt it/know it and are embarrassed.

    27 year old from sailers

    May 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    • Right. Its like trying to an effort to achieve looks equality. Nobody wants to think of themselves as and subsequently admit that they’re ugly. Its a truism that everyone in America thinks they’re middle class. Efforts to address the elephant in the room provokes psychic pain despite any possible positive outcome.


      May 8, 2017 at 4:11 pm

  29. I’ve worked in HR at 3 different small/mid-size software companies. I could go right into the HRIS system and see what everyone $$ made. It’s not that exciting or mysterious, really.

    It’s pretty much exactly what the Internet would predict, based on role, region, years of service. And it’s true that knowing how to negotiate salary and ask for more does make some difference, but even that falls along predictable lines..

    I’ve worked in HR at a monster Fortune 25 tech company also, but companies of that size normally have an HRIS system that is more secretive about $$ salary, with various permissions/roles built into the system.


    May 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm

  30. OT: Miami Herald, 05/08/17 – Woman slammed to ground and tossed into water in Broward pool party video

    Wow! 68-year old White woman violently assaulted, dropped on concrete pool deck, and tossed into the pool by a young black male. The video is shocking.


    Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators are looking for a young man caught on video slamming a 68-year-old dog-walking woman onto concrete before tossing her into a pool…two residents and their dogs entered the pool area around 6 p.m. Saturday to stop the party with what she estimated to be 200 young people…

    E. Rekshun

    May 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    • Again, one must earn enough to move away from poor people! Or, more specifically, earn enough to move away from the kind of people that host 200+ people pool parties on Sunday nights! This took place at the “Players Place” townhome develeopment in N. Lauderdale, about 15 miles northwest of Ft. Lauderdale Beach. Zillow lists four of these 30-year old townhomes for sale at $159K – $169K. Twenty years ago this was a reasonably decent area. Now it’s hugely congested, ’80s era condos, townhomes, and apartments that were advertised as semi-luxurious 20 to 30 years ago. N. Lauderdale is now over 50% black.

      E. Rekshun

      May 8, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    • TNB. And I love that term “young people” Durn 5 year old Japanese immigrants at it again…


      May 9, 2017 at 12:34 am

  31. The point i wanted to made is that there are three types of profession with very high revenues, and for none of those categories would sharing the information on pay help to get those very high salaries:

    – the one where you need very rare qualities mostly in sport or where it depends on being chosen mostly artists.

    – the famous one where there is a lot of competition based on skills and “status” : LBO, hedge fund, quant trader, strategy consultant, top law firm, some physician specialties, major airline pilots, tenured professor ….

    – the hidden one : based on the information being secret and “status”. They can be very boring : patent attorney in many countries, pharmacist. The difference with the second one is that there is less competition because they are less known but they pay very well or have bigger job security. The pb with those, it’s that when the information get well known, they become more competitive to get into and at the same time the pay go down. That’s why it’s good to be member of a clic of informed people to be able to find them and do what it takes to be suitable from a young age. After 28 yo, it is often too late ….

    Bruno from Paris

    May 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    • Good points.

      E. Rekshun

      May 9, 2017 at 10:37 am

  32. To feel those 3 categories, think about when when you go to a big city you don’t know. The best places are generally either on admission only, or out of price or secrets. For most people there is no point in knowing the first two categories and as for the third one, they disappear when they become more known like an auto-destructive information.

    Bruno from Paris

    May 8, 2017 at 4:48 pm

  33. 57.5k as a postdoctoral researcher. Wife makes 50k as a postdoc in a different group. Would be decent money in flyover country, but unfortunately we’re in one of the most expensive cities in the US.


    May 8, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    • The world is a big place so why do you subject yourself to this kind of torture. Furthermore, most of your fellow Americans are obnoxious, self-absorbed and uncultured. I refuse to network with any fellow Americans outside of the country. They are bottom of the barrel among civilized people.


      May 8, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      • Shorter JS: “I am unemployed.”

        Panther of the Blogocube

        May 10, 2017 at 10:51 am

  34. The best thing is to limit ones satisfaction with even less than one has. But even this temperamen is largely given, so i don’t see any way to improve ones fate subjectively and be more happy with work. I wouldn’t even recommend stoicism.

    Bruno from Paris

    May 8, 2017 at 4:53 pm

  35. $250K before bonuses. Lighting my Cuban cigars with $100 bills…


    May 9, 2017 at 12:31 am

  36. I make low six figures as a lawyer and my wife brings in about 45k, in a “hip” part of flyover country. With a family, it’s still a struggle. On the other hand, I AM RICH – because I work from home and have many hours to myself.


    May 9, 2017 at 8:42 am

    • There aren’t many hip places in flyover country. Not counting Chicago, there’s Ann Arbor in Michigan, Madison and quasi-Milwaukee in Wisconsin and Minneapolis in Minnesota. Perhaps Detroit will become the up and coming Brooklyn of the Midwest, once the riff-raff has been swept away for good.


      May 11, 2017 at 12:40 am

      • You’d be very surprised. People are fleeing the coasts and bringing the dead-eyed artisanal cocktail culture to mid-sized cities across the U.S., where cheaper rents/houses have allowed the NPR-centric culture of fancy IPA’s and snazzy restaurants to proliferate. You can now enjoy a shade of Brooklyn life in smaller flyover city.


        May 11, 2017 at 10:15 am

      • No thanks for me. I like culture sophistication and America does not have it.


        May 11, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      • Surprisingly, even a guido like Tony Bennett said that America is a cultural desert. That was in 2006, today is worse.

        Dark Age, Medieval Europe gave us beautiful cathedrals and spiritual music. Americans churn out garbage. We are worse than a dark age.


        May 12, 2017 at 12:32 pm

  37. I probably make 60-70K as a lawyer with my own practice, but I am working less than I could because I have a small child who I like to spend time with. I have a pretty good work / life balance. Considering my flexible schedule and hours, it’s a pretty good deal, but I think I am doing better than most similarly suited people in my area.


    May 10, 2017 at 11:03 pm

  38. I believe the salary taboo originated with the old WASP upper class. This class practices understated wealth and has a strong taboo against discussing one’s wealth or income. There are two purposes to this:

    One is to avoid arousing the resentment of lower social classes.

    The other is to signal higher social status than gaudy new money arrivistes through demonstration of superior taste and refinement.

    This filtered down the social ladder and is now obviously maintained owing to its utility to managers and capitalists. Speaking as an employer myself, I very strongly discourage employees from discussing their wages with each other as it would quite obviously lead to incessant demands for not only wage increases but “fairness”.

    Feminists have the same insight as Lion on this matter and are trying to make salary information more transparent in order to eliminate the mythical pay gap.


    May 11, 2017 at 11:16 am

  39. In my late ’40s, I realized that I did not want any of the promotional opportunities that were available to me at my employer – each involved significantly more headaches, hours, responsibility, and risk for negligible more salary, There was limited opportunity above the next level. I’m like a specialist, and an expert at what I do. I have plenty of autonomy and minimal work stress; benefits are excellent but my salary will never reach six figures. My career plateaued before age 50 but I can probably hang on as long as I want and continue to fatten my nest egg. About five years ago, I decreased my work week to four days, along w/ a 20% pay cut. Every weekend is a 3-day weekend; and, in fact, I’m enjoying another one right now!

    E. Rekshun

    May 11, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    • This is smart, if you can afford it.


      May 11, 2017 at 9:04 pm

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