And yet slowly but surely, it seems, that taboo is being broken down by a new generation of workers. Forget talking about our sex lives. The modern woman is talking about money.
And why wouldn’t she be?
Talking to a colleague can help pinpoint the going rate or range, particularly in newer industries, or creative fields, where there isn’t a precedent (or information on websites like Payscale or Salary.com). For younger workers, one of the ways of moving up is often to take on additional duties, only to then realize, as one friend recently did, that you won’t necessarily be paid for the work.
(That friend, who is preparing to negotiate a raise during her annual review, as many of you may now be, told me she had collected the salaries of five of her peers in five different departments, each of whom has a full-time job that encompasses some of the work she has taken on. Each of them makes more money than her.)
And, of course, there’s that whole wage-gap thing. How can you know you’re being paid less than other races or genders if you don’t know what your colleagues make?
“My personality is not to look at it, not to think about it. It’s not my goal in life to become rich, and it’s not what drives me,” said Lotte Marie Allen, 31, who works in arts education at the School of Visual Arts in New York. “But I know that, especially for women, money is one of the necessary things to talk about — like broccoli or something.”
And so, like anything, she has practiced. She said that she and a friend recently shared their salary figures during a walk in the park by her home. “I have a very close inner circle of friends,” Ms. Allen said. “I talk about money, politics and sex with them all the time.”