Man furious when he finds out he makes less with his degree than coworkers without a degree

Lefty Graves

** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I worked for a major corporation for several years. One of my coworkers was the "systems analyst," and he had a master's degree in computers and mathematics. The rest of us didn't have a degree and were all in support positions.

One afternoon the man came storming into the office holding a piece of paper and waving it around while yelling at the boss. Finally, he told the boss he needed a raise because he knew he made much less than the rest of us.

The paper he held listed what each employee earned monthly, and he was at the bottom of the list. So he ranted and raved at the boss and sent out a mass email to tell all of us that he deserved to be paid more than we earned and demanded that each of us pay him a sum of money each month to help him recoup the difference.

Of course, none of us were about to give him any of our hard-earned money, and when the boss realized what the man had done, he wrote him up and told him that if it happened again, he would send him to Human Resources for a long stern talking to.

The argument continued for days around my coworkers and me, and we were all tired of hearing it. Finally, the boss had had enough and called Human Resources to come in and have a long talk with the man. After the Human Resources personnel arrived and talked with the man, everyone was called into a meeting.

The man sat disgruntled at the side of the table while Human Resources informed all of us that talking about what we earn with one another is taboo. They also told us that if we were caught discussing our pay with one another, it was grounds for termination.

I suspect that Human Resources looked into what the man was earning, but we never heard another word about it. The man never discussed it again. He continued to work there for another year before he was promoted to another department.

What do you think? Was the man right to let everyone know he was earning less than we were earning? Or should he have dealt with the situation quietly and without our knowledge?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming & more. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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