Knowing a Co-Worker Makes More Than You Crushes Your Soul

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Image by © Edward McCulloch/fstop/Corbis

Every time a colleague’s higher salary is disclosed, a little piece of your soul dies. 

At least that’s the story according to Slate. They’ve reported that a new study shows that people who earn less than their colleagues (and know it) report higher job dissatisfaction and are more likely to be seeking a new job than those who don’t know that their colleagues make more.

As for the people who are making more, knowledge of that fact doesn’t seem to affect their job satisfaction one way or another.

This information doesn’t really seem all that surprising to anyone who’s been a part of the rat race of corporate America; how do you know you’re succeeding unless you’re beating someone else? As Slate‘s Ray Fisman puts it, “we constantly judge our own accomplishments in comparison to others, and salaries serve as one ready benchmark.”

But if knowing that you make less decreases your job satisfaction and knowing that you make more doesn’t make a difference either way is there even a benefit to knowing the salaries of your colleagues?

Sheer nosiness aside, some argue that salary disclosure could foster “healthy competition” and increase productivity. Or it could just cause unnecessary (though possibly entertaining) drama around the workplace.

But really, do we need another reason to not like our co-workers? (NewsFeed would like to note that all of our co-workers are lovely. Salaries undisclosed.)