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Ask Sherry: How do I deal with negative people regarding what I earn?

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

You can ask any question using the form here.

Hi Sherry, I’m curious to know how you deal with nosy and envious people. I’m talking about the type who prod about your salary or ask about your job title in order to gauge how much money you make (in real life).

I’m currently working on my career so this doesn’t apply to me, but previously, when I was at school or in my shitty commission-based part-time job, when people stick their nose and ask “what mark did you get?” or “how many sales did you make?”, it really annoyed me beyond belief. This irritates me so much! At school at least, only two things came from it: People either mooched or they envy you and didn’t return the favor in providing help when you needed it. And at work, it was constant badgering about the sales (which was tied to our measly commissions).

People love to compare themselves to others to know where they stand.

I’d even go as far as to say I am no different. I love net worth benchmark posts like What should my net worth be?… and ….. What should my net worth be in Canada?

I like to know where I am in the sense that I know whether I am doing better or worse so I can push myself to do more and be betteror feel happy that I am on the right track and in the right spot.

The bad part is when people use that natural, primal urge to know how they measure up to others, in a negative way and feel — as you said — jealousy or wanting to be a mooch..

I remember that in one of your posts where you showed the Burberry trench coats you bought, someone was virtual-vomiting at how much you spent and people wondered whether you give to charity.

I remember that. The trenches are awesome though amirite?

Love the belt on that one, I wear it so often, look!

And this black one I LOVE!

I did feel the sting of that, it hurt because I don’t feel the need to brag about donating as much as I do to feel good about myself. I do it for myself and it shouldn’t matter to anyone else (and it doesn’t).

Everyone should just be happy that people make good money, and by making good money, they can donate even MORE of money because their income has gone up.

In another “money-diaries” post that you linked, about an investment banking MD in her early 30s making $1.5m, the cancerous comment section of the article had lots of women (and maybe even men) stating how it was ridiculous for one person to make so much money and how she should be giving more to charity. Well, you get the picture.

Yeah I avoided the comments on that. I think she makes a great amount, she has obviously earned it in the sense that she is clearly NOT WORKING 40 hours the way that I am. She is working double even triple the hours and getting compensated for it.

And who are they to judge that she should give MORE to charity? It’s her money, she can do as she pleases with it.

Even though I’m not making as much as you or that MD, my view is simple: If you’re poor and unhappy, then do something about your situation instead of sitting on your ass and complaining about other people!

Applicable to a good chunk of people, yes, but not all situations 🙂

My gut feeling towards these idiots is to just tell them to mind their own f***ing business. But I think that the better route is to tell them bluntly how much I make (in the future, when I’m hopefully making money) and then go on a spiel regarding: hard-work (literally) paying off, how they should focus on themselves instead of comparing, how money doesn’t buy happiness, etc etc…Just give them a taste of their own sanctimonious medicine.

But would it make you feel better? Ask yourself that before you get angry about it. Think about it — you are getting angry over something that in the end, doesn’t matter

Do you really want that emotional vitriol inside you, making you angry, and keeping you angry all day and even for the next week or so when you remember it… for nothing?

Don’t focus on them! 🙂 Focus on you!

It doesn’t matter to you.

Sorry: before I forget, I’m actually writing to ask you how you deal with this and what your opinion is regarding stupid leeches who suck the life out of other productive members and have nothing but negativity to contribute to society *end rant*

If people have the guts to ask me flat out what I make, I tell them*…

* As long as “them” doesn’t mean anyone I currently work with or I feel cannot handle it without having it come back to bite me. I keep my salary to myself at work.

They can guess all they want. I just smile and say nothing. I don’t confirm anything.

If it is friends, family members (again, certain ones…) — I tell them, and make sure to say at the end: “Remember, this is when I actually work. I don’t make money when I take days off, vacation and when I don’t work.”

Frankly, the long and short of it is this:

Your money is your money.

You do with it what you want.

Enjoy it, spend it, but be conscious of what you are doing with it or not doing with it.

Ignore the haters. It’s not their money.

The best response is when they ask questions that you just don’t want to answer, is just to smile and stay silent.

It irks them beyond belief. Drives them NUTS.

Or, if you like them, and think they are being genuine, tell them the truth.

Truly decide for yourself, but don’t give them the information (information is power after all), without making the conscious choice to do so rather than out of anger or frustration.

Anyway, I’m here. I’ll back you!

Where do you buy shoes for Little Bun? Looking for good recommendations for toddler shoes.

My partner goes to Adidas and we buy the velcro shoes so we don’t deal with shoelaces.

VELCRO ONLY. They sort of look like this – Adidas Unisex Superstar Sneakers

Okay, we’re delaying all this BS about learning how to tie knots etc etc…. but I am not going to deal with this #%(#%#@…

We just recently picked up a Pre-school pair here from Puma: Red

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.


  • Gail

    People always compare and make nasty remarks. I was a low-paid teacher, and they often asked me how I could stand the salary? Why was I letting them cheat me? Etc. Well, I am smart, and I could have earned higher pay at another job, but I LOVED teaching, and my husband earned a good income. It worked for us in numerous ways; it was my CHOICE. It was not a default; I was not taking an “easy” job (Don’t get me started on what it takes to be an effective educator); I was not in default mode selecting a career.
    It’s the same thing as what you get at high salaried jobs, People are people!

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