I’m back, with thanks for your questions and thoughts on more of them…
5. What are your views on sharing salaries with coworkers? If a company tells you you’re not allowed to, is that legal? (Alysia, North Carolina)
In the U.S., it’s illegal—the National Labor Relations Act gives you the right to discuss your salary. When managers try to discourage it, sometimes it’s because they’re trying to hide an injustice, but in other cases they simply believe comparison is the thief of joy.
The latest evidence suggests that we might be focusing on the wrong kind of transparency. If managers took the time to establish and explain a fair process for determining pay, people would be much less concerned with comparing their outcomes. I explored that and more in a podcast on why it pays to raise pay: Apple | Spotify | Transcript
If your company is trying to prevent you from talking about pay and you don’t want to go straight to your legal rights, I loved a response from the early 1900s. When a magazine company tried to forbid sharing salaries, people showed up the next day with signs on their necks showing their salaries.
6. How to be and stay informed about the world’s events and not go down the rabbit hole of doom when there’s just so much going on and most of it’s not great. (Lisa, Pennsylvania)
I treat staying informed like a meeting on my calendar: I block out 15-30 minutes a day to read the news and learn from trends and people I follow. Along with choosing sources that are ideologically diverse, I also prioritize emotional diversity by actively seeking out information that’s uplifting. My favorite source of good news is Upworthy, and there are some others here.
7. I would like to know how to ask a good question? 😂 (Karrie, South Korea)
How about we trade places and you teach me? 😊
Some of my go-to resources on asking better questions:
8. OPEN OFFICES OMG MAKE THEM STOP PLS MAKE THEM STOP. (Anonymous)
I’m still crossing my fingers that the demise of the open office will be a silver lining of COVID. Some data points on why we need to close the door on open offices:
They’re unhealthy: open offices have 62% more sick days than individual offices. We’d even be healthier with group offices of 3-6 people!
They undermine productivity: it’s well documented that they disrupt focus and wreak havoc on privacy.
Although many people believe they’re good for collaboration, recent experiments reveal the opposite. After leaving cubicles, people had 70% less face-to-face interaction and sent more emails instead.
To the execs who think they’re saving money: have you actually done the math? I’d be shocked if the benefits of cheaper real estate outweigh the health, productivity, and collaboration costs.
Submit your questions below and I’ll pick some for the next round.