First Person: I Don't Need to Know How Much My Coworkers Make

Yahoo Contributor Network

Like many of my peers, I spent some time job searching during the Great Recession. While networking with other professionals, I heard that some companies have an open policy where any employee can find out about another employee's job performance review and salary. I personally was put off by the policy. It made me wonder whether transparency in the workplace has gone too far. It also made me grateful to work for a company that respects employee's rights to privacy.

Saving face at the office

I recently read an article by The Wall Street Journal about private-sector firms that reveal all information about the company's financials including individual pay. According to experts, the sharing-all approach builds trust among employees. However, I think it would lead to workers feeling resentful. I'd be embarrassed if everyone knew I received a 2 percent bonus, while my neighbor in the cubicle next door received a 5 percent bonus.

Taking a break from reality television

While reality television shows and Facebook can be entertaining, it's not healthy for people to share every intimate detail of their lives. I think people need to separate entertainment from the workplace. I like working in a work environment in which personal boundaries of privacy are still respected. I grew up attending an open space concept elementary school in Maryland in the 1970s. I can attest to the fact that the hippie experiment was a failure. If anything, the experience left me with social anxiety.

Celebrating individual creativity

I think talk of work that is becoming more "collaborative" is not inevitable as much as it's a passing trend that emerged out of the millennial generation. Generation X supervisors and managers who had to train Generation Y in the workplace know that the real value comes from an employee who can be independent and creative. Most Gen-Y employees have now evolved to the point where they don't need as much supervision, training or collaboration.

I know I couldn't work for a company that posted my salary or performance review with as much thought as a person posting pictures or comments on Facebook. When I was a supervisor, I believed in praising openly, but providing "constructive criticism" in private. Truth be told, I never thought criticism was as much of a help to the employee as much as a way for me, as the supervisor, to vent. I know I respond better to encouragement and praise when I'm doing a good job. Perhaps we should all go back to being silence more often. When my boss is silent I know that either everything is fine or something is wrong. The beauty of the silent treatment is that I have the chance for introspection so I can figure out the problem myself and solve it. I don't need my shortcomings posted on the company website for all to see.

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