I’m sure you’ve heard, “How much do you make?” It’s a question that is asked everywhere, even in polite company. Asking someone how much they make professionally is absurd because that’s a level of personal information that generally isn’t shared with that outside of your inner circle.
It’s the same as asking about their family problems, and it is a way to garner more power in a conversation by having more private knowledge about someone.
When you ask this question, you assume that the person you’re speaking to can afford to give you an honest answer should they choose to do so, and that’s only sometimes true.
1. Because It’s Considered A Private Thing
It’s a private matter, like asking about their personal life or for the receipt for their grocery. And it can come across as nosy and intrusive.
If you ask someone how much they make, you’ll probably not get a very nice answer. The same goes if you ask them why they don’t have a job or what kind of job they want in the future — it’s none of your business!
You never know who might have financial problems, and it could feel like a slap to talk about money with them as they struggle to pay their bills.
It’s not your place to judge how someone else manages their money. You can’t possibly know what kind of financial situation they’re in, and it isn’t nice to ask them about it.
You may be wondering why I’m telling you this: You might think that asking someone how much they make would be helpful or even necessary—but in reality, it will make things awkward for both parties involved.
2. It Has To Do With Feelings Of Entitlement
Asking someone how much they make is an attempt to feel entitled to information that gives you an advantage over them. It has nothing to do with the actual value of their salary but rather your desire for power and control over them.
If you ask someone how much they make, this person will likely be uncomfortable answering because it feels like an invasion of privacy (and maybe even a bit accusatory).
This can lead to arguments about how much money someone makes compared to other people in similar roles or even at all–which is why asking shouldn’t be done in public places like restaurants or buses where people might overhear conversations between coworkers or friends!
3. Some People Feel A Sense Of Indignity If They’re Struggling Financially
You might feel like you’re being judged if you ask someone how much they make, but many people are sensitive about money. If a person has no money and can still take care of themselves and their family, it doesn’t matter what the person makes—they can still do it!
But when someone is struggling financially, there is a social stigma attached to having to ask for help from others. In addition to feeling embarrassed or ashamed by asking for help (whether it comes from friends or family), some people feel like they are being judged because everyone knows that “poor people” don’t make much money at all.
4. The Only Real Exception Is The HR Departments
You may have heard that asking a coworker how much they make is rude, but the truth is that it’s illegal for them to share their salary information. The only real exception is HR departments because, in that case, the law says you have to disclose your salary to them.
In general, if someone asks you what you make at work and you don’t want them to know the answer (for example, because it could be embarrassing), this can be considered rude behaviour by some people.
However, most people would agree that asking another person how much money they earn isn’t necessarily rude—it just depends on how much detail they want from their friend before telling them everything about themselves (and vice versa).
5. It’s Private Information, And Revealing It Opens People Up Too Many Issues
If you ask someone how much they make, it leads to a private conversation. It can be awkward, and if the person doesn’t like talking about their salary, it can also make them feel uncomfortable.
Many people don’t like to talk about money or even think about it too much. So asking someone how much they earn will only put them on the spot and force them into an uncomfortable situation that may not be worth it for either party involved.
So, if you’re out and about and see someone who looks like they might be having financial issues or are having trouble making ends meet, don’t feel bad asking them how much they make. It’s not a total violation of privacy nor the worst thing in the world to ask. It can be awkward, but if you think about it carefully before you do it, no one should have any real issues with it.
It’s possible to ask questions about money without asking for specific figures – for example, you can ask what their favourite part of their job is, or if they like the industry they’re in – but asking someone how much they earn is unnecessary and lastly, don’t be rude!