Is it beneficial to know how much your co-workers make?

The author asserts that although compensation inequities can foment envy, a culture of secrecy can do even more damage in the workplace.

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Money can’t buy happiness, they say.

I once worked for a Fortune 500 company. I started at the bottom. I climbed the ladder and eventually got promoted to a leadership position. I was thrilled, so thrilled I came in early, stayed late, started projects, volunteered for cross-departmental teams, took on additional responsibilities. I worked really hard.

I felt good about my job. I was happy.

Then I found out another supervisor—a lazy, argumentative, culture-killing supervisor—made about 50 percent more than I did.

I became a lot less happy.

I tried to forget it. I kept telling myself all that mattered was whether I was satisfied with what I made. I kept telling myself that what others earned was irrelevant. I kept telling myself nothing had really changed.

Everything had changed, because now I knew.

To my discredit, I never got over it. I couldn’t change how much he earned, but I could change how hard I worked. To my discredit, that did change.

I still worked hard, but not that hard.

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