On Disclosing Our Salaries
Post from June 18, 2020 (↻ May 27, 2021), filed under Everything Else.
For a year now I’ve been toying with the idea of publicly disclosing my salary, as well as my financial assets.
Not because of me—who’s well and grateful—, but because I’ve come to believe that this step, if taken by others, too, would be a step towards more transparency, and be helpful for more and for many.
Of course, disclosing salaries would be just one option for more transparency. It seems particularly powerful, however.
It seems helpful and powerful and we seem to fear it.
We might not like what we see—and that’s the point.
We might not like what we see and therefore desire to change it.
That change might not necessarily mean that everyone goes after the rich (whatever that means).
It might mean that we take action to take care of those who have and get too little.
To pay them more.
To pay them more justly.
To pay them more because they are, no matter how strange this may sound in this day and age, our brothers and sisters.
Fellow humans who are important.
An earlier version of this article hung this all up under the umbrella of distribution, distribution problems, transparency. That was probably a bit fancy.
I still like the idea of me and of us disclosing our salaries and assets.
Yet I’m not going to take action right now. I was ready to raise this with my former company’s management, but it’s not on my agenda to do right now. On my agenda it needs to be, though, because I also stand for transparency with my employers. It may also need to be on the general agenda because legally speaking, many people, at least in Germany, may not be allowed to publicly share their salaries. (Respective contract clauses are not useful.)
Yet, again, this should not prevent me from keeping with the idea, and sharing it. Here it is. I don’t know whether it will blossom.
Figure: More transparency for more boredom. (Copyright King Features Syndicate, Inc., distr. Bulls.)
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
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