What To Do When You Make More Than Your Colleague (And He Knows It)

Old Coins, originally uploaded to Flickr by underactive.Reader G wonders how to deal with a coworker who has become angry and nasty after discovering a salary difference…

After months of looking for a job and interviews, I finally found another job as an attorney at a small firm. Previously I had worked in another small law firm where I gained substantial litigation experience. On my first day at the new firm I learned that the firm had hired another associate who graduated the same year as myself. I learned that this associate had less substantive experience than me, was making less than me (he asked for less during interviews) and his billing requirement is less than mine. Once he learned that I made more, billed more and was treated as a more “senior” attorney this associate began making disparaging statements to me, where on several occasions the associate has mentioned that it is ridiculous that I am making more than him etc and the firm’s decision makes no sense. This associate also attempts to undermine my opinion and knowledge in every chance he gets. It has become very unpleasant and he reminds me of the super-competitive people in law school who just did not know how to have a normal conversation. Every time I try to work with him on a project, he uses it as a way to tell me that he is smarter and more knowledgeable than me.

I know I should not let his issues bother me, and I am very confident in my work. However I think I need to address this with him somehow. Do you have any advice on what to say to him exactly? I don’t want to create a hostile environment since this is a small firm, but I cannot let this continue any further.

I’m afraid you’ve discovered one of the cardinal rules of life:  DO NOT TALK ABOUT MONEY.  True, some firms are lockstep, and there is a sort of freedom when everyone knows what everyone’s making.  But every other job in the world?  Make like The Go-Go’s and keep your lips sealed. (Pictured above: Old Coins, originally uploaded to Flickr by underactive.)

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, though, I think you’ve got a few options. [Read more…]