Emily Dreyfuss is completely aware that one would be breaking the "last great taboo" by agreeing to talk about one's salary. Out loud. With other people. But in an essay for Wired spun out of the fact that others are now doing just that on Twitter (see #talkpay), Dreyfuss writes that "salary transparency, and a culture in which workers feel comfortable sharing such basic information, is crucial to closing the gender wage gap." She's experienced this firsthand. Dreyfuss herself lost out on quite a bit of money over the years because she didn't know how much others made and didn't know she should negotiate. Then a male colleague finally filled her in on how much he made in a job he was leaving and she was taking over: His salary was $35,000 more than her offer.
She admits she felt "incredibly pissed off," "cheated," and "undervalued"—but also "eternally grateful" to him for opening her eyes to her self-worth. But while Dreyfuss is open about what she previously made—$50,000 at 24 as a copy editor, for instance—she confesses that she hesitates to divulge what she now makes at Wired (and, indeed, she doesn't in the piece). "I'm scared to be out there alone," she says. "Now that I've gotten to a leadership position at a job I truly love, I'm a hypocrite. I don't want to piss anyone off," from her colleagues to her employer. Still, she knows opening up would be the best thing for most people in the workforce, and the silence is "stupid" anyway. "We're kidding ourselves if we pretend that work does not exist primarily to put money in our pockets," she writes. Read Dreyfuss' entire piece here. (Read more opinion stories.)