Most believe that this is an invasion of privacy and a fact that needs to be kept from nosy people because they fear people’s envy and their evil eye. Others keep their salary secret to avoid being asked for money. The best way in their opinion is to lie about it and give a lower figure.
Lina Essam, a Jordanian employee at a private medical center in Jeddah, said that her mother’s friends are constantly needling her about how much money she makes. “I joined a marketing firm as a trainee after graduation for SR2,000 a month. My mother did not want to say how much I earned because she was afraid her friends would make fun of me. She imagined they would think, she graduated to earn such a small salary,” said Lina.
She said that these nosy friends did not give up and even called the marketing firm to find out how much her salary was. The firm did not give them the information. “But that they went this far was highly annoying,” said Lina.
Nahed Matar, a Palestinian teacher at a private English school in Jeddah, also said that she suffered from intrusive people who kept asking her about her husband’s salary.
“After I got married, my husband asked me to quit my teaching job because I only made SR1,000 a month. Soon after I resigned, my friends asked how much money my husband made because they thought it had to be huge if I could resign. I was very annoyed because it was none of their business.”
She said that she did not like anyone to interfere in her life, yet her family and friends were curious by nature. “They kept on asking about my husband’s salary until he got the evil eye. His salary was reduced and because of their envy we are now going through a tough financial situation,” said Nahed. Since then, she decided to be rude and to simply say, “That is not your business!”
Amnah Ismail, an Egyptian employee in an advertising company, said, “It is natural to be curious but people should differentiate between curiosity and being intrusive. I have this problem with some of my colleagues. But I don’t let on because I’m sure that they would make a fuss if they found out I’m making more than them.”
And it goes both ways. She said she was devastated when she found out that some of her colleagues received a higher commission for the ads they brought in.
Eman Al-Ghamdi, a medical student at King Abdulaziz University, also said she always lied when someone asked her about her salary.
“My mother is a general manager in the Ministry of Education. Most of my colleagues and friends keep asking about my mother’s salary, especially when they see my fancy car and my lifestyle. I tell them my mother’s salary is SR3,000.
“As a student I receive SR1,000 a month. When I get good grades, the university pays me another SR1,000. All my relatives keep asking me how much I saved since I joined the university. I always tell them I spend all the money on clothes, books and medical equipment,” she said.
By DIANA AL-JASSEM