Money at Work

Money matters in the workplace is a tricky affair. Whether it’s giving or receiving, expect some level of the unexpected! Here are some anecdotes.

Scenario 1: It’s not so small after all!

At one position, there was a high level of camraderie between the staff and team lunches were common. It wasn’t unusual for folks to get each other’s lunches. One time, I was short on cash at a “cash only” diner. Someone offered to spot me the few dollars I needed to complete the transaction. The trivial amount and lack of an explicit contract had me believe I’d return the favor later. How wrong was I. After a week, I was asked to pay what I owed. I was a little stunned and quite embarrassed. But such is what happens when expectations don’t align.

Scenario 2: You can’t handle the truth!

Somehow I was able to find out the salaries of two people I worked with; one was a comrade and the other was a colleague. The comrade was more skilled and experienced but was underpaid in comparison. Once, the comrade and I had lunch and the inevitable topic of compensation came up. I don’t recall the exact flow of the conversation but it came down to them wishing to know the salary figures I knew. They insisted they were mentally prepared and could handle it. When I disclosed the figures, it was clear they were not. Knowing the pay disparity flipped a switch in their head. Some folks can take it but most cannot.

Scenario 3: Do the homework!

If you want to maximise your earnings, you have to put in the extra effort and do the research. Once a financial advisor of sorts showed up at work. They insisted that since we were young, we should invest our 401k in an aggressive manner. I listened to them and it did not go well at all. Later on, I switched strategies and found a significant improvement in my earnings. Relying on others is dangerous especially when there’s nothing at stake for them.

Bonus Scenario

On another occasion, a coworker informed me that I should take advantage of a certain work perk. I felt it was confusing and since I didn’t understand it, I shied away from it. Months later, I figured it out but it was too late. I *still* don’t want to think about how much money I lost because I wasn’t willing to take the plunge sooner!
Later, I saw other coworkers go through the same experience. I tried to convince them but they didn’t want to deal with it.
It’s not easy to convince people to do something they perceive as difficult.

 Date: October 10, 2018
 Tags:  thoughts money

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