Earlier I was reading some of the comments on I Will Teach You To Be Rich where people list their salaries/incomes. I felt myself getting jealous over the high salaries I saw in comment after comment.
If you’ve never read that particular blog, hop over and check out the comments. It’s an interesting experiment where people list their salary information and their feelings on the topic of seeing others and sharing their own income.
Jealousy Over High Salaries
Quite a few people in the comments of I Will Teach You To Be Rich listed high salaries. This is to be expected on a blog that teaches you to maximize your earnings in pursuit of a comfortable financial life. It’s not a place where lots of underachievers and low wage workers hangout.
Commenters making less hefty salaries (though completely livable with budgeting skills) expressed jealousy at some of the high salary numbers.
Here are some of the interesting comments from the question Ramit posed: “And tell us what you think about seeing other people’s salaries. Anxious? Relieved? Jealous?”
- “I’m mostly jealous when I see these salaries.”
- “Jealous, definitely. But I guess people living in SF have much higher expenses as well…”
- “I do feel jealous of all the 100k people on here, but it confirms my decision to look for financial advice on this site.”
- “Oh and seeing these other salaries makes me a bit jealous since a lot are stating they are younger them me and make significantly more.”
- “Wow, are you ever right about salary discussions making you feel bad about your life!”
My Experience With Being Jealous Of High Salaries
I admit, I felt jealous seeing some of the numbers too.
Oh, you’re my age and earn three times what I do? Jealous.
Oh you’re younger than me and your starting salary was a number I’ve never earned? Jealous.
You’re making more than I can ever imagine myself making? Jealous.
Of course I know that this jealousy is unreasonable. We’ve all got different lives and have made different choices. My personal choices have not led me to a high paying career. I didn’t study for a high paying career and even though I’ve changed my original career plans to something slightly higher paying than journalism, I still don’t expect to earn the same amount as doctors or software engineers.
I can still make changes that will affect my income, and this blog has helped grow my income, but overall I simply have to accept the fact that my choices are why I do not have a high income.
Jealousy can be a useless emotion, but sometimes I find myself getting jealous of high earners in real life too. I admit it.
A great friend of mine makes much more money than I do by working in a technical field and routinely getting paid for working overtime. He makes a lot of money and is constantly paying for our activities because he’d rather have us come along than do things himself. While I’m grateful of his generosity, I sometimes get jealous of this situation. It would be nice to not have to worry about the money and be able to treat friends myself. His salary affords him a lifestyle I sometimes dream of having while mine just affords me the basics right now.
However, I have to keep in mind that my salary is reasonable for my line of work. I don’t work in IT or finance so it’s unlikely I’ll pull the salary of a software engineer or banker any time soon. If I want that higher salary then I need to make changes to my line of work and skill set. Salaries generally match the skill and demand for the work done.
I’ve recognized that I am jealous of other’s salaries but not enough that I’m motivated to change my line of work. I’m happier working a lower stress job with a median income because that better fits my needs. I’m not getting rich right now but I am comfortable and I appreciate the ability to earn a living doing work I enjoy. I’ve always been focused on achieving a good work/life balance and that means I won’t be bringing in the top dollars. I’m okay with that.
What To Do About Jealousy Over High Incomes
So what can you do if you see these higher salaries and get jealous?
First, accept the emotion. Figure out what it is trying to tell you. Does the jealousy mean you want a different career? Does it tell you about something you are missing in your life? Root out what your jealousy actually means to you.
Next, make a plan for change! If your jealous over high salaries means you want to earn more money yourself, then you need to make a plan to earn more income. This might mean you need training for a new job or a promotion in your current field. Or maybe it means you need to start a side hustle to earn more money beyond your full-time job. Spend some time thinking about ways you can earn more that would improve your life.
Lastly, compare yourself to yourself only. Comparison is the thief of joy and that is never more true than with money and income. When thinking about your salary try to only compare yourself to yourself. Are you doing better than you were last year? Are you doing better than you were ten years ago? This is what really matters. It’s much better to look at how far you’ve come instead of comparing yourself to a stranger on the internet who make more money than you do!
Are you happy with what you earn for the work you do? Are you jealous of other people’s high salaries?