A few weeks ago, I was out with some of these friends and we got onto the topic of jobs and money. Everyone — and I mean everyone — in a party of nine people was complaining about how they don’t get paid what they should. Normally, I say nothing about this topic — I know how lucky I am to have a job I like and be paid well — but the guy who had my position before me made 30K more than I do for less responsibility, so to contribute to the conversation I brought that up, and one of my friends RIPPED my head off. She works a shit job, six days a week for 12 bucks an hour. (For what it’s worth, I have always encouraged her to find another job — I send her job postings when I come across them — and to go back to school). She said I had no right to be complaining when other people make way less than I do, and she berated me in front of our other friends. I didn’t say anything at the time because I was uncomfortable.
It’s been a few days now and I can’t stop thinking about this. Was what I said so rude? I know it’s a no-no to talk about money with people, especially in any kind of detail, but what I said was vague and relevant to the conversation. I guess I just missed this lesson in the “how to be an adult” class. Is there a right and a wrong way to talk about money? — Mystified about Money Talk
You were not rude; your friend was. And you have every right to approach her and express how out-of-line she was and how much she upset you. You have every right to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do. Clearly, money and jobs are super sensitive topics for your friend right now, and clearly she resents that you are in a much better position than she is where both of these issues are concerned. Is it fair that she takes out that resentment on you? No! She sucks for berating you in front of your other friends like she did. But I’m not sure talking to her about it will make either of you feel better.
The problem is that your friend is still going to see you as someone who has it so much better than she does, and your expressions of anger or hurt feelings aren’t going to change that. If she already thinks you have no right to express any dissatisfaction or complaint about your job in any way, then she probably doesn’t believe you have any right to express any complaint about her complaining about you complaining. And doing so will likely just succeed in putting her further on the defensive and creating even more tension between you.
I say let it go and make a mental note to: A) limit your time with this person; and B) avoid conversations about jobs, career, and money around her. I’d also suggest ceasing with any advice or assistance you’ve been giving her in terms of finding a new job or career/academic path. She doesn’t want to hear it. She’s miserable, and the company and advice she wants is from other people she believes to be as miserable as she is.
As for whether there’s a “right” way or a “wrong” way to discuss money with people, I think you’re on the right track. Avoid specifics, particularly with anyone who may resent what you have. Don’t brag. Don’t put on airs. Don’t lie in an effort to fit in. When hanging out with people whom you believe to have less than you, suggest activities that are in everyone’s, or most everyone’s, budgets. Don’t place too much of your own self-worth or value on the amount of money you have or the quality of your possessions. Take pride in your accomplishments and the way you treat people. You can lose money and jobs and things, but your accomplishments and support system are yours for as long as you don’t take them for granted. I hope your friend figures that out sooner rather than later.
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cdobbs October 23, 2013, 9:14 am
LW you did nothing wrong….it sucks that you can’t contribute to a conversation about money without people tearing you a new one (not cool on her part)….just because you are in a different pay bracket should not automatically disqualify you from having an opinion….as a general rule i tend to avoid any conversation around money, politics and religion (unless asked of course)….personally i think how much a person makes is no ones business but there own….i know because i have a Phd people assume i am super rich and i have had friends assume i will foot more of the bill when going out….i have had boyfriends expect better gifts, stupid things like that….hell my own family expects me to pay when we go out to restaurants….not sure what my point is here….i guess unfortunately it is better to keep your money situation to yourself, but i do believe a true friend would be happy to see you doing well and being financially secure….so maybe avoid the bitchy friend from now on
Bunnycsp October 23, 2013, 9:32 am
She did do one thing wrong and that was not knowing her audience. LW, you are going to maneuver this your whole life. So with people who make less than you, just keep quiet.
honeybeenicki October 23, 2013, 9:45 am
It doesn’t seem like the audience as a whole was the problem. It seems like just the one friend. What if they were having an hour long bitch fest about money/jobs/etc? Is she supposed to sit there and say nothing?
Bunnycsp October 23, 2013, 10:10 am
It is like anything in life. Don’t say to someone who can’t have kids that you know how she feels because it took you three whole months to get pregnant with your 3rd kid. Don’t complain about your job to someone who has been out of work for a year. Don’t complain about a cold to someone with cancer. Don’t complain about how fat your are to someone fatter than you or worse, someone who can’t afford to eat. Look, sometimes you just can’t relate when people are having a hard time. You just listen and say you feel for them. You validate their feelings and nod. The LW shouldn’t feel bad for her success and the friend was clearly out of line with her response, but she should know who she is speaking to.
GatorGirl October 23, 2013, 10:12 am
Well with your model it sound like you can’t talk about anything with anyone…
honeybeenicki October 23, 2013, 10:18 am
SHHHHH! No Talking damnit!!
Bunnycsp October 23, 2013, 10:36 am
No, I think it is more that I target my conversations based on who I am with. Focus on what we have in common and not what makes us different. I have friends that I can talk politics and some I can’t. I have friends I can talk sports with and others it is celebrity gossip. I have some friends that are worldly and others that I can talk books for days.
GatorGirl October 23, 2013, 10:53 am
I mean of course I wouldn’t talk sports with a friend who hates it, but expressing one piece of job dissatisfaction with a group of friends who are all bitching about their individual job experiences…the rude chick was out of line. My SIL just got a great job, do I expect her to NEVER say a word complaining about it? Hell no. Her dissatisfaction/gripes/annoyedness is just as valid as mine even if she is making more money herself than our joint income.
Bunnycsp October 23, 2013, 12:13 pm
I hear what you are saying. But the difference is when you are talking to someone who is in a desperate situation. That is the way I am seeing this. It is one thing when you are talking to homeowners and one person owns a smaller house than another who owns a bigger. We are talking about one person who can pay his bills and one who can’t function under their current debt obligations.
GatorGirl October 23, 2013, 1:00 pm
Yeah…I don’t know where you read that the rude chick can’t afford to pay her debt…it says she works a lot and get paid little, but apparently she can afford a night out with friends.
Bunnycsp October 23, 2013, 1:54 pm
Well the LW said she could pay her living expenses and loans and was getting ridiculed for it. So I did context clues that the friend could not do those things.
honeybeenicki October 23, 2013, 10:16 am
I try to be sensitive to other people’s situations, but at the same time I’m not going to handle someone with kid gloves. If I’m having dinner with 10 friends and they’re all chatting and complaining and I’m sitting there saying nothing, damn right I might chime in like the LW did. Well, maybe not exactly like that. I don’t cater to overly sensitive people like the LW’s friend seems to be. And I get the pregnancy thing. I’ve a lot of people who know we’ve been trying say shit about not being able to get pregnant, but you know what? I’m a big girl and can handle it. It sucks for them just like it sucks for me. So then we have a similar ground to have a bitchfest together. I don’t think everything has to be a pissing match about how x has it so much better than y or z has it so much worse than both of them.
Bunnycsp October 23, 2013, 10:46 am
It isn’t catering to people as much as realizing that sometimes your complaints might hurt your friends. Like if the friend is living at home and drowning in debt, then the LW chimes in that she should be making more. It makes her friend’s situation seem even more pathetic. If a girl says she is fat at 125lbs, what does that make her friend who is 180lbs? It could be just a thoughtless comment or it could be a backhanded comment.
Becboo84 October 23, 2013, 2:42 pm
I agree with all of your comments 100%. You sound like a very considerate friend!
kerrycontrary October 23, 2013, 9:16 am
This could’ve been written by me. I have friends who are very resentful that I got a job in my chosen field with a fair salary. But guess what? I stayed in a city because there are more jobs there. I temped while I was unemployed to gain more experience. I volunteered and I applied to about 80 jobs before I got ONE job offer.
You’re friends shit job and shit pay are her fault. Yes, the economy has been rough for the past few years, but the LW and I (and all the other gainfully employed 20 somethings out there) are proof that it is possible to find gainful employment in a lot of areas of the country. I don’t mean this to sound insensitive to those who are struggling to find work, I used to be there. But I think during the recession I ran into two different types of people: those who were like thomas the tank engine and just kept trying, and those who basically decided to blame society and the economy for all of their problems instead of looking at what they can do to improve their life situation.
Anyways, your friend is lucky she said this to you instead of me because I would’ve read her the riot act. I personally stop hanging out with these people. And while they are your friends, part of your early 20s may include making new friends who have a more similar lifestyle as you.
Also, don’t talk about money, ever. I don’t tell any of my friends what I make.
Christy October 23, 2013, 9:34 am
Yes yes yes yes yes. I’m lucky in that my friends from grad school (same one as Kerry) don’t really vocally resent me? I’m always careful to couch my job success in luck and privilege. Because I *was* privileged to get the internship that led to this job, and I was lucky that it happened to be in a library when I wanted to go to library school. So I’m very careful to couch it in those terms.
But you know what? It’s not just luck and privilege. I did bitch work for two summers and all grad school, interning. I worked for this. And I’m NOT in the exact field I went to library school for – I wanted (then) to be an academic librarian, and let me tell you, working for the government is not like that at all.
But I am lucky that my friends are mostly positive about their situations, or else they’re so depressed that they don’t hang out much. (Does that sound bad? Because 1. It’s true and 2. I’m in a bad mood and don’t give a shit.) So they’re generally happy for those who’ve had good luck.
And yeah, I never talk about income.
Christy October 23, 2013, 9:35 am
But I *do* think LW was slightly insensitive to everyone’s job situations. Complaining about her good job does seem to be in poor taste when her friends are making $12/hour.
Lily in NYC October 23, 2013, 10:08 am
That is very unfair. My best friend works in finance and is married to a gazillionaire. She’s allowed to complain about her job with me because IT IS ALL RELATIVE. People with money have problems and feelings just like everyone else and they shouldn’t have to pretend everything is fantastic because god forbid a jealous friend can’t handle their own envy. OPs friend was being a big baby.
kerrycontrary October 23, 2013, 10:10 am
I’m in the “its all relative camp”. I mean the friend had every right to complain about her 12/hour pay, but it wouldn’t be acceptable for the LW to say “well people in Malaysia are making $2 an hour”. It doesn’t make anyone feel better. So I think everyone can complain about their situations with some sensitivity to everyone’s lifestyles.
honeybeenicki October 23, 2013, 10:19 am
I want to be married to a gazillionaire. Can that be arranged?
Lemongrass October 23, 2013, 10:38 am
Me too. My husband has even agreed to divorce me so I could marry a rich old guy as long as I keep him on the side.
Morgan October 23, 2013, 10:59 am
I’m so glad my bf and I are not the only couple to agree to that 🙂 Alternatively he’s going to marry a rich old lady and keep me on the side. The old ladies he works with love him; its a pretty fool proof plan.
Christy October 23, 2013, 10:24 am
Sorry, I’ll clarify what I meant. Everyone can complain about their jobs, but I don’t think your friend in finance should complain about her pay specifically. Like, if you’re going to complain about it, you should acknowledge that you’re still well-off, overall.
I certainly wouldn’t complain about my pay, but I would complain that my coworkers make around twice what I do, and I don’t know that there’s room for advancement within my office. But I wouldn’t use specifics, and I wouldn’t give dollar amounts, just percentages. That seems much more relatable to me.
meadowphoenix October 23, 2013, 12:39 pm
It seemed less like she was complaining about her pay, and more that she was complaining about sexism, in the form of a wage gap. I think she should get to complain about sexism regardless of what she makes.
Copa October 23, 2013, 11:14 am
Did anyone ever watch or read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch? For some reason this comment reminded me of his quote that “luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” That quote is how I think about the job hunt. As much as it drives me crazy to see unemployed 20-somethings NOT take iniative when it comes to job hunting (be proactive about YOUR future, people, even if you’re only making minimum wage until you turn over the right leaf!), I find it equally exhausting when employed 20-somethings with decent jobs act like they got to where they are *exclusively* because of their hard work and fortitude. It’s a balance, and I do think luck has a lot to do with it regardless of effort.
This isn’t directed at you, Christy. It’s just a general thought. As someone who worked hard to find a good entry-level job in her field (hooray for unpaid internships and temping!), I truly do believe that luck has a LOT to do with where I am right now.
kerrycontrary October 23, 2013, 11:28 am
Oh yeh I definitely feel lucky to have my job. Especially because I didn’t even apply for it, a random recruiter saw my profile on LinkedIn (but I did take the initiative to cultivate a detailed LinkedIn profile).
Fabelle October 23, 2013, 9:55 am
The economy IS shit, though. That’s a reality. Jobs are paying shittily (the jobs in my field that I apply for sometimes advertise as paying LESS than what I even make now, as a receptionist) & companies are not giving benefits if they don’t have to. There’s also the problem of companies hiring on temps only, so there’s no job stability. It really sucks out there. And some fields it is tougher to find good work in.
Obviously, some people complain & complain & do nothing to change their situation, which is annoying, but some people are having a legit tough time (cough cough cough, I may be projecting, obviously)
kerrycontrary October 23, 2013, 10:05 am
Yeh I get having a tough time. I mean I came out of grad school with high five figures of debt and no job in sight. Most of the positions I applied for required a masters and 1-3 yrs of experience, and were paying like 30 grand a year. I get it. But I just kept doing more and more to get a job. And I see a lot of people who would just rather say “well the economy sucks” then look at how they can improve their situation. Or I know people who will bitch about their salary/lack of jobs, but aren’t open to moving at all (you need to go where the jobs are).
Banana October 23, 2013, 2:45 pm
Clover December 30, 2022, 6:35 pm
I blame society AND I keep trying to make it work. Both are necessary to operate as a compassionate human while also valuing yourself. When I think of my friends who are lost in careers and jobs they don’t like, completely discouraged that they will ever be able to make it out, that tells me a story of hopelessness. People don’t get to that point for no reason, and they deserve compassion and to be seen as equal members of society. I deeply love all of my friends who are still stuck in jobs they hate with a mindset that they won’t be good enough to try to pursue their dreams. At the same time it does hurt me when they take resentment out on me. I came from severe poverty and abuse, escaped and took on massive debt just to survive. But I pushed through 4 years of college while working fulltime, survived 2 hospitalizations after an abusive relationship, and paid for therapy I couldn’t afford for 6 years to get to a point where I make enough to live and now work in a field that gives back to exactly the kind of situation I came from. I just got a promotion, and I want to celebrate, but I’m celebrating alone because my closest friends are people with this mindset. It hurts, it makes me angry at them. But reading these comments make me realize that this issue is really nuanced. My coworkers are happy for me, my bosses and mentors are celebrating. It’s a work from home job though so it makes it a bit isolated still. All of this is to say there is so much to be grateful for when you arrive at financial security. It’s okay if that part of you is self validated though or validated by people who have the space to be happy for you. Whether the original commenter chooses to remain friends or not with the girl who did this is up to them but I think it’s really good to consider how socioeconomic status can impact mental health. Boundaries are also important, so choosing not to talk about money with this person would be a good boundary. It’s also okay to just listen, ask questions and validate them. I have to practice this, it’s hard to have the emotional energy to do it when my daily life is filled with pouring it out. That’s why it’s also very important to surround yourself with positive and uplifting people who do have the emotional space to celebrate with you. I’m at a point where I need more of those people in my life and it’s hard to let them in due to that past feeling of being “othered” from them. If you have positive supports to lean on, lean into them.
veritek33 October 23, 2013, 9:19 am
My best friend is a pharmacist and her husband is a doctor and they make more money in a year than I would in 5……but it doesn’t matter. A good friend doesn’t make you feel bad for making a lot of money, or making less money. When I look at her huge 4 bedroom house compared to my tiny 750 square foot house, yes, I get jealous – but she went to school for 7 years! She earned her house and her income and I would never begrudge her that. I got my degree in 3.5 years and found a job I love – it’s just never going to make me rich.
My BFF knows that I struggle financially sometimes, so she knows that suggesting shopping trips or far away vacations is not a good idea. And I know complaining about money in front of her will just make her feel self conscious about the successes in her life.
You should tell your friend that how much money you make is none of her business, and that it makes you sad you can’t even join a conversation. She was rude, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of your successes.
bagge72 October 23, 2013, 9:36 am
No what is funny? My best friend is a doctor, and his wife is a pharmacist!
bagge72 October 23, 2013, 9:49 am
ktfran October 23, 2013, 10:11 am
One of my closest friends in Chicago is a pharmacist and her husband is a doctor too.
veritek33 October 23, 2013, 11:25 am
I think those types are just drawn to each other! They think very similarly and are a great couple, so maybe those career types are perfect together!
TECH October 23, 2013, 9:28 am
A good friend will be happy for you and your successes. You weren’t rubbing anything in — you were just trying to be a part of the conversation. Honestly, your friend lacks maturity.
Everyone is allowed to “vent” about their jobs sometimes — regardless of how much money they make.
GatorGirl October 23, 2013, 9:30 am
Shit like this is exactly why I refuse to participate in money conversations. My mom doesn’t even know how much I make. Your friend was definitely the rude one, but I would just never ever engage in these conversations. Not worth it, IMO.
Copa October 23, 2013, 10:47 am
Agreed. I told my dad how much I make and swore to myself I’d never tell anyone again (the obvious exception being if I were sharing finances with a husband or SO). It’s just nobody else’s business.
LW, the “right” way to talk about money is to NOT discuss it. I’m not trying to fault you — one of my best friends started a new job a couple months ago, and somehow the conversation led to me yapping about my 401(k) in front of my friends who I assumed have these benefits, but none of them do. I felt like an asshole. But, my point is, now you know how weird it can get, so in the future I think all you can do is be more mindful. Your friend didn’t react appropriately by any means, but generally-speaking I think talking about jobs/money/benefits with friends can be a touchy subject.
GatorGirl October 23, 2013, 11:02 am
Haha, yes my husband is the only one who really knows how much I make, and only because we file our taxes together. (Or I should say will be, we haven’t yet because we haven’t been married that long yet!)
Lemongrass October 23, 2013, 9:31 am
Guys, I made a terrible friend-financial mistake. My best friend, we grew up together, blahblah, is a single mom with no financial help from the dad or her parents. Putting herself through school and working and taking care of her daughter. Before I had E I paid for everything because I knew she couldn’t. Gas for her to come see me (3 hour drive), restaurants, all her maid of honor expenses including the bachelorette party. I didn’t mind because we could afford to do so but now we could but it would strain us. I think it has nailed the coffin on a already fairly dead friendship.
Christy October 23, 2013, 9:37 am
Can you clarify? Was the mistake paying for everything?
(Also I never followed up before, but I really appreciated your SAHM response earlier this week! Thanks!)
Lemongrass October 23, 2013, 10:13 am
The mistake was paying for everything. I feel like I set a standard that I can’t meet anymore and now I don’t know how to hang out with her anymore because of it. I’m not upset over it really because she’s been a fairly crappy friend for the last few years but it’s not something I will ever do again.
And I’m glad I could help answer your questions!
Fabelle October 23, 2013, 10:47 am
I wouldn’t worry about keeping up with your standard, unless she really IS shitty, non-understanding friend. I go through periods like this with my friends— one dude used to pay for EVERYTHING when we first met, because he was rolling in money & I was in college, unemployed. Then he fell on hard times, & I wound up paying for everything. Saw him last week, & he paid for everything & we laughed about how things go in cycles. So maybe think of it like a turning wheel? (Of course, only works if she thinks similarly…)
bethany October 23, 2013, 10:14 am
Yeah, I need clarification, too? What did you do?
I have a friend whose husband makes a decent amount, and they always buy me dinner when I come over. It makes me feel a little weird, but I just roll with it. I buy tons of stuff for their kids and send them cards with $$ for holidays and stuff, so maybe they feel like they’re paying me back?
Christy October 23, 2013, 10:20 am
Hah, whenever I would go out to eat with my bff and her then-bf, he would always pay for my dinner. I didn’t understand it, but I definitely just rolled with it.
Amanda October 23, 2013, 9:34 am
LW, please follow Wendy’s advice. Personally, I do not discuss my financial status with others, including how much I make, my savings, investments, potential new job salaries, etc. That is private information between my husband and I. If someone goes fishing for this information (my Dad most likely), I am very aloof and don’t engage them at all. That’s what works for me, but find what works best for you.
bagge72 October 23, 2013, 9:42 am
Unfortunately I think your friend is fed up with you, either because she just doesn’t like you anymore, and is jealous, or you talk about money a lot. Either way I guess it is best just to bring her to group friend status, and don’t share you life anymore, because if she was your real friend she wouldn’t be that pissed at you. Also my friends who make gross amounts of money never talk about it, well I HAD one who talked about it all of the time, and we all hated him, and it was awesome when he got fired from his VP job.
honeybeenicki October 23, 2013, 9:49 am
I started a new job just over a year ago and still go back to my old office (a few blocks away) regularly to hang out with my friends from there on my lunch. I try to not talk about my job because they all hate their jobs and the pay is not terrible, but definitely not good. And I love my job and make slightly better money than them (not great, but it puts me solidly in middle class instead of lower middle class). But even seemingly harmless phrases (or lack of phrases) like when one person says “I suppose we should all go back to work” and I don’t bitch since I love my job, there is a certain person who every time will say “Oh yeah, I forgot, hbn LOVESSSS her job” or something like that.
Lily in NYC October 25, 2013, 11:12 am
Or maybe OPs friend is over-sensitive.
honeybeenicki October 23, 2013, 9:42 am
I don’t think you were rude at all. I think you were trying to join in a conversation, which is generally what people do in a social situation. Your friend is the one who is rude. If she’s not comfortable with her financial situation, that’s her problem and she was passing it off on you. I would follow Wendy’s advice on this one.
And can I just say that it drives me nuts when people pull the “other people have it so much worse so you aren’t allowed to complain” thing? It really annoys me. It means that there is exactly one person in this whole world who is allowed to complain. It drives me nuts. The fact that other people make less/are in more pain/have a shittier situation/have it worse in general does not really lessen what’s going on with the person. I understand it is good to keep it in perspective, but I really hate when people make it seem like it’s not ok to vent if someone else has it worse.
KKZ October 23, 2013, 1:47 pm
I saw a quote not too long ago…
Saying that you’re not allowed to complain because some people might have it worse is like saying you’re not allowed to be happy because some people might be happier.
thewriteway October 23, 2013, 3:00 pm
Seriously! I am hoping to get a new job within the next 1-2 years, and my family and some of my friends get offended when I say that because “I have it good” and “work for a good company.” First, it’s not their job to begin with, so they don’t really know what I put up with daily. Second, I hate that because I happen to work for a well-known company, that people act like I am never allowed to have another job and should just stay put indefinitely. Never mind the fact that I want to achieve goals that my company can’t help me with…I should just stick around and not look for better, right?
j2 October 23, 2013, 9:46 am
Envy will suck the joy out of any friendship.
The only thing I have seen work was when the individual stressed that he/she had simply gotten a lucky break and was now worried about screwing it up.
Some folk seem able to “forgive” luck, just as they might still enjoy a friend who won a couple hundred $K lotto.
Fabelle October 23, 2013, 9:47 am
It sounds like you ~know~ not to talk about finances with these friends, but you slipped up hoping to just add to the conversation? (Which, I don’t blame you, if everyone was talking about it!) Your friend was rude to totally attack you; I probably would’ve turned the “you have no right to complain thing” back onto her, because I hate that line of thought (like, if you have certain privileges, then you aren’t allowed to complain. Fuck that, none of us should be complaining then, as long as we have food & shelter, or something, huh?)
But okay, WWS especially regarding the trying-to-help thing. Don’t send jobs to these people. It will only stoke their resentment— they’ll feel like you’re pitying them, & then they’ll feel pressured to succeed in their application (if they do apply), & if they don’t succeed, then they’ll feel even worse. Let them figure out their own shit, & don’t talk money.
Christy October 23, 2013, 10:27 am
I think “stop trying to help” is good advice for friends in general. Listen, if you keep sending job postings/breastfeeding advice/homeschooling advice/wedding advice/relationship advice to a friend and they keep not listening, STOP SENDING IT. It’s not working, and it’s only building resentment.
jlyfsh October 23, 2013, 10:36 am
Yeah I kind of wondered if her response had to do with frustrations in regard to that as well. Not that it makes it ‘ok’ because I mean you can’t just rip your friend a new one every time they frustrate you. But, I would definitely back off. And her not acting on the announcements, etc doesn’t mean that she’s not trying either. Just because you think a job offer looks perfect for someone doesn’t mean it translates well to what they’re looking for or what they’re qualified for. Even if you *think* it does.
But, yeah the friend in the letter obviously needed to check her response before she acted on it! No yelling at friends, even when you want to send daggers at them because they complain about something you find ridiculous. Because, I mean we’ve all had those moments, right? But, we don’t actually act on it!
othy October 23, 2013, 11:52 am
I think the stop trying to help should be ‘stop giving unasked for help’. I have a good friend who has been looking for work since he graduated a year and a half ago. He’s frustrated with the search, but doesn’t want any advice with job hunting. However, he has explicitly asked for anyone who knows of any job postings in his field to send them his way. I think there is a big difference between that and sending suggestions about grad school to a friend who is struggling.
Morgan October 23, 2013, 9:57 am
Your friend was wrong to snap at you; it sucks that the guy in the position before you made so much more than you and, in that respect, it is important to talk about money and know what fair pay in your industry is, so that you can make sure you are being paid appropriately. If everyone was bitching about money, your contribution was a totally valid one, and not one you should feel bad about.
I don’t think your friend snapped at you because of what you said. I think your friend snapped at you because a) She’s been trying and failing not to resent you for your success (giving her the benefit of the doubt here. Could just be a biotch) and b) The job ads and tips you’ve been sending her have brought her to a breaking point.
I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you mean well. But unless she came to you and asked you to teach her your job having ways, I can see where the constant tips and advice and suggestions to get a new job or go back to school can seem like nagging. Especially if she hears it from her family, I can get her not wanting to hear it from friends. And I can also see how she might think you see her as your pity project; your poor, underemployed friend who you have to send job postings to because she can’t find a job herself.
Even if that’s so far from your intention (the beginning of the post makes it seem like you are well aware that you are in a very good place compared to many of your peers), I can see someone already down on themselves and their situation taking your well intentioned advice and help that way.
Love, an underemployed, but very glad to be employed, twenty something.
Violet October 23, 2013, 1:22 pm
I am glad you brought this up, Morgan. Yes, the friend was terribly rude, but if she doesn’t go seeking your advice about her career/financial situation, it’s best not to keep offering it. Especially since not everyone is always in the right financial place/frame of mind/place in life to go back to school, which doesn’t always guarantee a better place on the money spectrum, anyway. Just playing devil’s advocate.
Becboo84 October 23, 2013, 10:04 am
Clearly, your “friend” was way out of line to berate you in the manner that she did. However, and I’m obviously in the minority in thinking this, mentioning the fact that the person who held the job before you made $30,000 more than you was probably insensitive. The implication with that statement is that your salary is fairly large.
If your friends are making $12/hour and are working fulltime, they’re making less than $25,000/year (aka less than the extra money taken off of your salary).
Fabelle October 23, 2013, 10:21 am
Ah, that’s a good point. Not such an innocuous statement then, really.
Julia October 23, 2013, 10:33 am
One more minority vote here that LW’s comment was an insensitive “my glass slipper is too tight” complaint that clearly struck a raw nerve with the friend. Also agree the friend was out of line to berate LW in front of everyone else. A few tangential points:
*It sucks that the guy before you was making $30k more than you, but there are a lot of reasons that discrepancy may be appropriate. For example, if he’d been with the company longer, had more education or experience, or negotiated a higher starting salary.
*Your careers are just beginning, and may take lots of twists and turns. You could lose your job tomorrow (although I certainly hope you don’t!) and your friend could find a job making 5x what you make now. So just… be gracious. Appreciate what you’ve got and try to be sensitive to the struggles of others.
Copa October 23, 2013, 11:29 am
Obligatory Friends reference for any other fans out there…
“Oh, no! Two women love me. They’re both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet’s too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight!”
mrmidtwenties October 23, 2013, 11:00 am
I’m gonna join the minority camp, your friend was inappropriate and so were you, she shouldn’t have snapped, but you shouldn’t haven’t complained about making 30000 grand less.
Copa October 23, 2013, 11:36 am
Agreed! I think we can all agree that the friend was out of line, but I don’t think LW’s remark was the brightest. Some comments about money are worse than others, but a comment like this one would still make me roll my eyes because I think it sounds braggy — and I’d feel that way even though I’m gainfully employed in my chosen field with decent pay and benefits.
Grilledcheesecalliope October 23, 2013, 11:43 am
Finally, I agree. I wish I made more and I think I deserve to make say 15k more but when talking to friends who make somewhere between 18 and 22k that would be super insensitive to say. Saying you wish you had more of something tbe person you’re talking to doesn’t have or has way less of is just kind of rude.
bagge72 October 23, 2013, 1:34 pm
Yeah I guess that would be like my doctor friend who is in his first year of his knew job after his fellowship, started complaining that the guy he replaced because he retired was making 100K more than him. I’d be like well, it would take me at least 3 years to make what you make in a year so boo hoo, but I wouldn’t tear him a new one in front of everyone. I think the LW needs to understand there is a huge difference between trying to find a job in your field, and already having a good job in your field, and working your way up.
Northern Mermaid October 23, 2013, 1:38 pm
Yep! I’m with all of the minority voices here. Your friend was rude to tear you a new one, but that just smacks of the humble brag. I moved to a place where there are lots of job, have a degree, and nearly 10 years of experience in my field, and still can’t find a full time job with benefits and I make around 26k a year, and am paying for an advanced degree. So………it sucks out there and it sounds like the LW seriously lacks empathy.
Lily in NYC October 23, 2013, 10:04 am
Wendy’s response was right on, but I just want to add that you should never feel guilty or apologize for being able to support yourself financially. And if someone ever uses the passive aggressive line on you: It must be so nice to have XXXX(insert nice thing here) – just respond, “yes, it is nice”.
kerrycontrary October 23, 2013, 10:08 am
omg my boyfriend’s mom does this, even though they aren’t struggling at all. Like my sister wanted to get a nanny, and she was like “it must be nice to be able to afford a nanny” and I said “yes, it is, that’s why they waited to have children and saved a lot of money in the meantime”. Or she’ll say “it must be nice to able to afford a cleaning lady”. Yes, it is nice that my mom can afford a cleaning lady instead of spending 4hrs each Saturday cleaning their house.
AliceInDairyland October 23, 2013, 10:13 am
Yes! I wanted to add something like this in but I felt like my response was getting rambly. But with these sorts of things you have NO idea what is really going on/what happened/what that person did to get to that point in their life. Maybe your mother never goes on vacation ever or hasn’t been out to a restaurant in a long time so that she can prioritize a cleaning lady. Maybe someone had to work nights for a long time or double shifts for years before they got to a place where they had a job that made them happy and paid well. Or maybe they just “got lucky” or maybe they had a combination of being smart in decision making and was in the right place at the right time. Fact of the matter is, you have no idea how that person got into that particular position and you have no idea what else is going on in their life.
kerrycontrary October 23, 2013, 10:23 am
Yeh its frustrating when someone says something about my siblings or my parents. Like my parents worked 60 plus hour weeks their entire lives, and they still do. So yeh, they have better jobs and higher pay then a lot of people but that’s because they work a LOT! And my siblings went to law school and my sister went into the freaking military to pay off her debt and drives an old car and doesn’t own a home. So if she wants a nanny? bully for her!
Jamie October 23, 2013, 1:13 pm
I have a friend whose parents died in a car crash when we were in elementary school and she had a trust fund from the life insurance. When she was in college, an acquaintance said “it must be nice to have a brand new car. Wish my parents would buy me one.” She was just… “I would prefer to have parents than a car, but thanks.” When she told me that 10+ years ago, I’ve always tried to remember that you never know where people get their money and why they make their spending decisions. Helps me not judge.
sophronisba October 23, 2013, 10:37 am
I think not saying anything at all was absolutely brilliant! She exposed herself to everyone there with her jealous tantrum and it is always best to not engage the unreasonable in an argument. When they finish their tirade, nosy question, offensive statement, it’s: raised eyebrows….beat….beat….and turn away to talk to someone else.
katie October 23, 2013, 10:51 am
um…. during a conversation about money woes, and how bad the economy sucks, bla bla bla- you added in how the guy before you made significantly more and you got yelled at for it? that is a legit thing to add to a conversation about how shitty the economy/job market is. it doesnt even matter how much you make, thats just a general comment on the culture we are in now.
i dont get that. and i disagree with whoever said above that is actually WAS such a big deal. the proper response should have been something like “wow, even your job’s salary got wayyyy cut! see! its everywhere!”
i dont get why money is always such a huge thing. i dont care about talking about money. ill talk with whoever about it.
AliceInDairyland October 23, 2013, 9:54 am
I think that these discussions should just never happen in a group setting. Ever. It’s one thing for a one-on-one conversation to trail into talking about jobs/money/financial stuff because it is hopefully supposed to be a safe space and a private conversation. But a group complain-y fest? There are just too many variables related to all of these things that can’t be explained or discussed in a group setting where things are bouncing back and forth all the time.
I can’t even talk about money because I don’t make anything, but for a few years in there a lot of my friends (and I) were applying to professional programs and there was a lot of that same tension. I got in a year earlier than is typical (3 years of undergrad instead of typical 4) and quite a few of my friends did not get in to their programs. Sometimes in group settings it turned into a bitch fest and these conversations would go on and on and on. My technique with these people was to NEVER give advice unless asked about something specific, and then when someone would say something mildly disparaging “Well of COURSE you didn’t have any trouble getting in…” I would just say something about how I had a lot of luck and apparently made the decisions that were right for me. And pretty quickly I dropped the friends who could not separate my success from their self-perceived failure.
There are friends out there who will understand that everyone’s life path is different, and one person’s success is not in direct opposition of another person’s feelings of inadequacies. I had friends who were genuinely thrilled for me to get in, while I was genuinely sad for the people who did not get in. Those are the people you want to keep close to you.
Sue Jones October 23, 2013, 11:16 am
This is hard because 20s and 30s are when the “great divide” happens re: career choices, jobs, marriage, kids, all of it can change friendships. People on a great professional career track are going to have a different life and opportunities than people working $12 an hour. It is hard and I watched it happen in my own life, (though grad school keeps you poor for a while…) While I never had these confrontations like you did, it is just sort of a natural thing that someone making less money can’t afford to go out, go on expensive trips, etc. And once I had a kid, I felt “poor” again because all of our extra income went to baby stuff, childcare (a biggie!) and I just didn’t feel like going out as much. Now I see it in who can or can’t afford music, dance, ski lessons, nice summer camps for their kids and who can’t.
Lynn October 23, 2013, 11:17 am
This is something I will never understand. Why do y’all talk about money? I hate money conversations. It’s no one’s damn business to know I make X salary and so-so makes Y. The only reason I know some people from work’s salaries are because they talk about it, and quite frankly I think it’s tacky. Extremely tacky. My parents know how much I make. That’s it. My close friends and I all know about a general ballpark figure about each other, but that’s all. I don’t discuss money matters. Because shit like this letter happens.
Lynn October 23, 2013, 1:37 pm
And I have more thoughts… why would you make the 30K comment? Seriously? Why? That wasn’t necessary at all. All I can think of is that you not-so-secretly want your friends to know how much you make.
Story… An ex-boyfriend of mine makes six figures (on top of a bonuses that happen several times a year). I do well for myself, but deeefinitely not that much, and where we live, his salary at 26 puts him in a really nice position. Not long ago, I had some stuff come up and had some unexpected expenses… I was a little panicky, and he knew this. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering, but still gave me anxiety. Anyway, he didn’t know my salary, but he made certain I knew his (big effing turn off… but he wasn’t lying either though, I caught a glance at a pay stub deal on his kitchen counter). So during the time of my little situation… we are hanging out, he asked if I had gotten my financial deal straightened out… said I was still a little eh, but it was going. Well then he throws a bitch fit about something at work because something happened and he wasn’t going to get his XX,XXX bonus that month, you know, on top of his six figure salary. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Who does that? Needless to say, I’m kind of glad we’re over.
I am very happy he does well for himself, but this is why I’m not a fan of talking about money… you never know what kind of position people are in or the unexpected things that happen. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and being chewed out for your good situation or feeling jealous toward a friend bc they do better is a really shitty feeling. When the ex was going on about his bonus, I felt like crap because all I could think was, “Wow if I had just a percentage of that I can make this other issue go away right this second” … and I was jealous. And I didn’t like feeling jealous about money, and I didn’t like that he felt the need to say what he did. I understand him maybe feeling comfortable talking to me about it, but considering what he asked right before… it sucked.
KKZ October 23, 2013, 1:52 pm
Why make the comment at all? Because it was the topic of conversation and the only way the LW could relate to it. Yeah, a faux pas on her part perhaps, but I can understand why she would make the comment at all. Social settings and whatnot. What’s the alternative, get out her phone and start Facebooking because the conversation is no longer relevant to her?
Lynn October 23, 2013, 2:04 pm
In my opinion, that was a big faux pas. She played the numbers game, and to me that really isn’t cool at all. Surely she gave thought to what she was going to say prior to saying it.
Bittergaymark October 23, 2013, 3:38 pm
bethany October 23, 2013, 3:44 pm
Yes. Simply saying “the guy before me made a lot more, it’s so annoying”, would have been FINE. Saying he made 30K more? Obnoxious.
Christy October 24, 2013, 8:21 am
Yes! I think the issue is giving actual dollar amounts. Generalities are relatable, but the AMOUNT itself makes it offputting.
thatgirl October 23, 2013, 11:57 am
Jealousy sucks….when you feel it, and when it is directed at you. LW, you did nothing wrong, at all. Just because you are in a better position doesn’t mean others get to try and minimize your issues. It shows what kind of friend this girl really is, and that sucks too.
AKchic October 23, 2013, 12:07 pm
For what it’s worth, I’ve got a friend like yours. I love him to death, but he resents like hell that I dropped out of high school while he stayed, went military, went to college, and still can’t get a decent job and I’ve got a steady job. I can’t move from my job without taking a paycut, but he doesn’t see that. He just sees that I’ve been working for 5 years at the same company and that I’m “successful” compared to him. Every now and then he’ll call me “career woman”.
If you value the friendship, you just have to let it go. The bitterness isn’t your burden, but the friend’s. The friend embarasses him/herself whenever they act that way, not you. By not rising to the “bait”, you not only take the high road, but you allow them to compose themselves and move on (if they so choose). If it gets bad, excuse yourself and leave. Luckily, my friend’s bitterness doesn’t manifest itself other than the occasional “career woman” comment that I can handle.
Your friend was wrong. Calling her out on it won’t help any.
Lucy October 23, 2013, 12:15 pm
LW, you weren’t wrong, but you were tone-deaf given the group you were with. I was in a similar position to you in my group of friends back when we graduated into a recession in the 90s. When they complained about their lack of jobs or poor prospects, I kept my mouth shut, because honestly, any complaints I had paled next to what they were facing. Of course they also made an effort not to complain very much, because after the first 10 minutes, it makes for boring conversation.
That said, your friend was way out of line to publicly upbraid you. Jealousy and bitterness don’t bring out the best in most people, and your friend doesn’t seem to be mature enough to know that her feelings are her problem to deal with. If she’s a really close friend, I would say something to her about how upset you were, instead of just doing the slow fade. Friends deserve honesty. But at the same time, you might want to acknowledge that you are very, very lucky and you appreciate that.
Also, stop sending her job postings. It smacks of condescension.
Bittergaymark October 23, 2013, 12:49 pm
Um, I disagree with Wendy and many of you. What the LW did was VERY insensitive and frankly out of line. It showed rather poor judgement.
Analogy. A few weeks ago I was out with several of my best guy friends. Running a tad late, I arrived in the middle of conversation. The topic of hair was being discussed and everybody was lamenting theirs. Boy, can I relate to this!! I don’t know what to do about my hair right now! It’s long on top, three to four inches… And I like the look, but the problem is it is so thick it’s often bushy and out of control! My stylist wanted to use a thinning sheers on it — but I know that will just make it even puffier in two or so weeks. Other problem? My hair grows insanely fast. This means an amazing haircut only looks that way for two weeks, tops. Ugh! So maddening!! I often fucking HATE my hair! Just like my friends hate how their own hair limits their style options.
Yet I said NOTHING about my hair. Zero. Zip. Nada. I instead bit my lip and remained silent on this burning issue even though more than anyone I needed to vent.
Because ALL of these friends are rapidly going bald.
Christy October 23, 2013, 1:16 pm
GREAT comparison! I completely agree.
Northern Mermaid October 23, 2013, 1:40 pm
What BGM said times a billion.
Grilledcheesecalliope October 23, 2013, 1:50 pm
Omg I agree with BGM. But yeah LW you were insensitive and honestly if you were sending me unsolicited job postings and the complained about how you only make way more than me and wish you made as much as some guy who nade way way more than me, I might have snapped at you to.
katie October 23, 2013, 2:11 pm
Hold on though- can I just point something out?
“so to contribute to the conversation I brought that up”
She wasn’t complaining or bitching or whatever about this. She was adding to a conversation. And what she had to say was relevant, and goes along with what everyone else was saying.
Bittergaymark October 23, 2013, 3:00 pm
Really, Katie? Think about it.
“Omigod. 12 dollars an hour!”
“12.25 for me.”
“I only make eleven.”
“And no benefits for all of us!”
“We are so, so underpaid!”
LW. “Wait. Underpaid you said? Omigod! Me too! I realize none of you even work in your chosen career or have health, dental, vision, paid vacation or 401Ks… But…I just discovered that the guy before me– ugh, the one who had probably been there for years made 30,000 more than me in salary!”
Several friends groan.
“What? Thirty thousand dollars is a big deal to me. That’s like — what? — $5,400 dollars more than some of you will make in an entire year! Hell, for some of you it’s an even greater disparity as you only make eleven an hour and my calculations are based on twelve…” Voice trails off amid harsh angry glares.
“Fuck off!” Closest friend gets up from the table in such a rush several drinks go flying as she storms from the (un)happy hour.
Stunned, LW calls after her best friend. “What? What?!” Baffled, she glances around the table at the eight remaining rather hostile faces. “What?” She asks all of them cluelessly. “What?”
katie October 23, 2013, 5:33 pm
no. they werent talking about their specific salaries…
“people was complaining about how they don’t get paid what they should”
what she said wasnt out of the blue or insensitive. what she said is a part of the overall conversation about how salaries are declining- everywhere.
Lucy October 23, 2013, 4:11 pm
Ha! This reminds me of my dad faux-complaining my whole life about how his hair is so thick he is constantly having to have it thinned out. I am sort of surprised no one has ever smacked him down for that.
kare October 23, 2013, 4:31 pm
My dad does this too! But not in front of my 27 year old brother who is balding from a combination of maternal genes and stress.
Samantha October 23, 2013, 12:55 pm
LW, Wendy’s advice is really smart. I have had to stop talking about work when I’m with my friends. We’re mostly in entertainment-focused careers, so money is tight, and it’s rare that anyone is where they want to be. I’m the “lucky one,” except that the company I work for is driving me insane with how it’s run and how the CEO merges his personal and business affairs. But I say nothing, even though it makes me feel really lonely sometimes, until I’m with my friends that either make more than me or work in a completely unrelated field. People can be really mean when they’re unhappy with their situation. I would work to make new friends in your professional field, or people who are professional-tracked in general, because, quite frankly, it is BS that someone would make that much more than you with less responsibility. It’s not unreasonable to want to be heard and feel valid in a friend conversation, and you’ll get better at navigating those conversations. I’m sorry your friend reacted so horribly.
kare October 23, 2013, 1:11 pm
I’ve been on both sides of this. I agree that it’s not appropriate to snap, but money is a sensitive subject. When i graduated, I had two degrees and an awesome GPA but had a crappy retail job that I hated. I was paying bills while my boyfriend at the time had zero bills, did way worse in school, got handed a job because the person was friends with his dad and bitched about how he was only making $52,000 a year. Boo fucking hoo. So yeah, you can be underpaid in your industry and that sucks but it’s a lot worse to barely be able to make ends meet.
Now I have a decent paying job and do not bitch about anything to my friends. Yeah I’m making about $20k less than average for the field, but I’m so grateful I can pay bills and have extra money that I wpuldnt dare say that to people that I know are struggling.
Also, the sending job postings, etc, probably doesn’t help. I get that you mean well, but these things might be making her feel worse. You might a) send her something not related to her field/requires higher qualifications/otherwise out of her realm or b) send her things she does apply for but doesn’t hear back about. Either way, when I was in that situation things like that made me feel worse. It made me think “do they really think I’m not spending all my extra time looking for a better job? Do they think I’m just sitting here bitching and not doing applications until my eyes bleed?” Obviously some people have no desire to change their current situation, but many people don’t want to say “out of 60 applications, I got one interview”. The whole situation is a minefield. Going forward, I’d tell your friend “hey I saw this posting for x company about y, do you want me to send it to you?”
HmC October 23, 2013, 1:15 pm
Eh, I don’t know. On the one hand I don’t talk about money because it feels tacky and braggy. And I certainly wouldn’t specifically refer to my salary in a mixed crowd. But with a close friend, I wouldn’t expect them to bite my head off over it either. Yes one should be aware that money is a sensitive topic, but I still have high standards for close friends and that includes not taking out your insecurities on me or being resentful of my success.
Lyra October 23, 2013, 1:23 pm
I’m in the camp where both parties were out of line: the friend and the LW. The friend was out of line for snapping in public, but the LW was out of line simply by bringing it up in that particular situation. If the LW is sitting comfortably but the predecessor made $30,000 more…that’s a considerable salary.
Money is a touchy issue, especially if you’re talking to someone who may be working their butt off but not getting much out of it, like this friend may be doing. My best friend has been working temp jobs in her field for 3 years now. She has great experience, great references, but is stuck at a $10-$12 per hour job until she can break through and get a salaried job. She has worked her ass off to get that experience, but just hasn’t gotten an offer yet. She is barely scraping by. As in, after her bills are all paid she literally has zero money left.
Also please stop sending her job postings. It sounds like she almost resents you because of it. I’m sure she’s job searching herself — it’s almost like a slap in the face to have a friend try to “help”.
Tread carefully next time money comes up.
bethany October 23, 2013, 1:54 pm
I get where both the LW and her friend were coming from, and I think they were equally rude/unthoughtful in this particular situation. It would have been fine to talk about how you’re sick of your job, or overworked or hate the people you work with, but this is a classic “know your audience” situation. You shouldn’t have discussed money with them, and your friend shouldn’t have made a stink about it.
Next time just say nothing.
KKZ October 23, 2013, 1:59 pm
I get massive privilege guilt when discussing not even money, but lifestyle issues. For a while we were renting my in-laws’ old house which was this super-nice 4-bedroom (way too big for us) with basement and bar and everything, and I was actually embarrassed about inviting some of my college friends over sometimes. Even without *discussing* money, it just felt so… conspicuous that we were doing well financially (even though we only had that house because we got a family rent discount, it would have cost a fortune in rent on the open market). So whenever I find myself talking about money/income/lifestyle, even without any concrete figures, I couch it in language of “thank goodness, we lucked out,” etc.
And I can’t even do the “I worked a bunch of shit jobs to get where I am” speech, because I didn’t. I had a couple shit jobs, but not for very long, and even those shit jobs weren’t so bad. I landed a sweet gig at the newspaper while I was in college (mostly thanks to connections with newspaper folks) and that stuck for a long time, and then I moved directly to the company I’m with now. My husband and I have had a lot of just plain dumb luck to get where we are, and we recognize that.
Our close friends are all cool with it, everyone knows the situation, it’s mostly with acquaintances, old friends we haven’t talked to in a while, or new friends we’re just getting to know, that it just feels so AWKWARD.
Kathy November 5, 2013, 5:28 pm
I appreciate your ability to recognize that you lucked out. I was on the opposite end of the spectrum and it is very frustrating when people who had a lot of help/dumb luck/whatever try to take credit for it all. With that said, as long as people recognize that they had all that help and therefore had a distinct advantage over me, I believe that even though they never got to “prove” their ability to make their own way with zero help, that probably many of them could have. I have a lot of friends with good jobs and money and what have you because of their family situations (and coworkers, too)….and I can tell that even if they grew up with nothing like I did, that they’d be doing really well and could’ve done it on their own. Long story short, as long as people give me the respect I deserve for having those obstacles I had, I give more privileged people the respect their did for their own innate abilities and work ethic. Pretty much rich or poor or whatever, if you respect me and are humble then I will return the favor, even if you have a ridiculous house and car and designer everything at the age of 25.
I wouldn’t feel awkward or bad about it if I were you. The people that treat you poorly simply for what you have aren’t ever going to change, no matter how much you explain to them the things you stated above…best to weed them out! 🙂
starpattern October 23, 2013, 4:00 pm
In my opinion, it makes a huge difference whether you actually dropped that 30K figure, LW. Did you say, “I found out my predecessor made more than I do for less responsibility,” or “I found out my predecessor made $30K more than I do for less responsibility” …?
I mean, in a conversation about how everyone deserves more pay for their hard work, the first, I think, makes sense when you are reaching for a way to contribute to the (awkward, probably boring) topic. Your friends already know your general financial situation (comfortable) so there is no need to ignore it. But dropping specific numbers – especially such large ones – is rude as a rule and certainly insensitive to those who don’t make nearly as much. If it was the latter, don’t sweat it too much, but do take note for next time, and definitely take Wendy’s advice.
AliceInDairyland October 23, 2013, 4:19 pm
I’m with you in that I’m not 100% sure that she actually dropped the number in conversation, and that would make a huge difference.
starpattern October 23, 2013, 5:15 pm
Yeah, to me it was unclear whether she actually said it to her friends or whether she was just including it as part of her explanation to Wendy.
katie October 23, 2013, 5:36 pm
i dont think it matters… it is hugely telling, and adds to the overall conversation about salaries being lowered that the person before her made SUCH a huge amount more then she does. if anything, she was only helping along their bitch-fest.
sobriquet October 23, 2013, 4:01 pm
Yeah, it was rude of you to say what you did, but it was also rude of your friend to BERATE you about it and rude of your entire friend group to go on a money rant that not everyone could relate to. Next time say nothing or try to commiserate with them about THEIR situation. Money is a tricky subject, but no trickier than weight or relationships or any number of other topics. You wouldn’t tell your overweight friends that you really wish you could lose 3 pounds and you certainly wouldn’t forward them weight-loss advice. You wouldn’t complain to your (miserable) single friend about how HARD it is to pick out the perfect wedding dress, either. And you really, really shouldn’t have complained to 9 friends who probably make less than $30K about how you wished you made $30K MORE. I know you didn’t say that, exactly, but that’s how it came across.
When discussing salary in the future, I think it’s best to stick to percentages instead of actual numbers. That guy who used to work there made 10% more than you, you got a 15% raise, etc. And please, stop forwarding your friends job offers or giving them career advice. It’s just adding insult to injury.
SasLinna October 23, 2013, 4:19 pm
There’s probably a backstory here that’s more important than the actual comment you made. You mentioned that you encouraged your friend to go back to school or find another job. Stop doing that. Unless a friend actively asks you to comment on their job situation, you shouldn’t say anything. It’s inevitable that the “encouragement” comes across as criticism, especially from someone who’s more conventionally sucessful. Maybe it really is your friend’s fault that she still works a “shit job” (hey, at least she’s got a job), but if you think so, keep it to yourself, and 100% so. Anything else just poisons the friendship.
quixoticbeatnik October 23, 2013, 4:44 pm
Your friend was way out of line, LW. It’s one thing if she had talked to you calmly and rationally about how your comments and job ads make her feel (if they were making her feel shitty) in private, but to yell at you in front of all your friends? That’s shitty. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that I think you intended for your comment to seem like, “Oh I don’t really make that much money, the economy is so bad these days! The guy before me made way more than me!” You weren’t trying to rub it in their faces, I think, but these friends are just so miserable and unhappy with their low-paying jobs that I don’t think they can be happy for you or commiserate with you. All they hear is “blah blah blah I have a good job and even with a 30k pay cut I still make way more than you do!” And that’s something to keep in mind for the future, that these friends will find it very hard to celebrate your successes because it reminds them of how badly they are doing. Perhaps that won’t always be the case.
Honestly, I think we could use more conversations about money. I wouldn’t talk about money to anybody who wasn’t one of my best friends, but I don’t mind telling them about my salary and what I like to spend my money on. We do try to remember that we all have different spending priorities and different budget/salary priorities. One of my best friends is a teacher and actually is paid pretty well, but because of her student loans doesn’t get that much, so she has to bartend as a second job just to pay some of her bills. Hopefully once she pays off some of her loans and stuff she will do better but for now it’s hard. I’m starting my new full-time job Monday and I’m really excited about it. I’ll have a good salary (especially without any debt at all), good benefits, a good schedule, and it will be a great starting point for my career in the field that I went to school for. While I am super grateful and thankful for my parents’ support all through college and me looking for a job – so that I didn’t get any debt, but I always had a job or two – and I know that luck plays a part in it, but it’s also like, I got that job on my own. I didn’t have to network to get it, I applied for it and interviewed for it and was offered the job – and this is after having several part-time jobs and two internships that gave me the work experience I needed (one was unpaid and the other one was, surprisingly, pretty well paid) – so I’m going to own it as something that I worked hard for. Yes, luck does factor in, but I worked hard to get that job. I applied for dozens of jobs, got a part time retail job while finishing up my supplementary certificate and looking for full-time jobs, and that effort finally paid off. I’m going to be happy and thankful about it.
Sorry, rambling thoughts. There are so many factors in all of this that I am thinking of. Luck, hard work, the right time, the right place…..I’ll stop here rather than continue.
BreezyAM October 23, 2013, 5:07 pm
I actually totally disagree with Wendy.
The LW’s response was bragsplaining and totally insensitive.
cristina Aguero January 21, 2021, 4:42 am
Haber I think that it is not bad for a lot of money you have if you really would have to stay but it is not to be selfish, much less just that for everything you have to ask and we can not keep things quiet, if it really is your friend he would be glad of you of your work and everything you have achieved so far, it is very important that you help him to find other jobs. But do not stop asking something that is good for you. If your friend says something to you, ignore it or it is envy of you or it does not want good for you. I hope you get it.