We all know it’s rude/inappropriate/awkward to ask a friend or colleague what he makes. And it could be bad for your mental health. (“I can’t believe that hack makes more than me!”)
On the other hand, knowledge is power: Are you being underpaid? Should you be pushing for more money? Is your market value higher than you thought?
Marc Salem — a body language expert and the author of The Six Keys to Unlock and Empower Your Mind — has a devious tactic that can help you get pretty close to nailing down the number.
It requires some math — and your friend will have to play along perfectly — but if you execute it well, you’ll get your answer.
“Tell him you’ve just read about an HR trick that determines how much more people should make for their age,” Salem says. Now ask him to take the first digit of his annual salary — let’s say it’s $72,000 — and multiply that digit by 5 (35), and then add 7 (42).
Instruct him to double the result (84), and add the second digit (2) of his annual salary. Ask him for the result. “It’ll be a 2- or 3-digit number,” Salem says. In this case, it’s 86.
Finally, tell him to subtract his age. (Example: 30.) Whether the final number is positive or negative (56), tell him that’s how much more he should be earning, in thousands.
The age request is just a diversion tactic. Meanwhile, in your own head, subtract 14 from the number he originally gave you — so, 86-14=72.
You’ll have to figure out whether he makes $72,000 or $720,000. “But if you know the person at all, that should be easy,” Salem says.
If your pal cocks an eyebrow at you, tell him you read the tip in Men’s Health, Salem says. Just say it seemed accurate to you, and you’re wondering whether it works for everyone
By: Markham Heid, photo: Thinkstock