An Open Letter To My Rich Boss Who Is Cheap As Fuck

Below is a letter I wrote to my boss years ago. I was scared to share it even when I stopped working for him. I’m not scared anymore.

Dear Boss,

I would like to start out by saying that I really do like you; you’re a great person, and I think in other circumstances, we’d probably be friends. In fact, most of our conversations seem like that of friend-to-friend instead of boss-to-subordinate, and I think this is the root of the problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy your open, tell-all abilities, and the informal way that we speak to each other, but at the end of the day, you are my boss, and the casual hints about your wealth do not go unnoticed. And considering our closeness in age, they frankly do not make me feel very good about myself.

I understand that it’s not your job to build me up, and it’s common knowledge that you make significantly more money than I do. But after a recent conversation, it became obvious that you don’t even know how much money I do make. While I thought my salary was dictated by you and based on my value to the team, it turns out that my take-home pay is simply an inconsequential number delegated to me by HR with your blind stamp of approval.

This is a shitty pill to swallow, but it was even shittier to hear you giggle and admit that you didn’t know my salary. While your “ballpark range” may be accurate, please think about this next time before you flaunt your season tickets to the opera in my face — because no, with my paycheck, the season-ticket holder price is not reasonable nor does it “pay for itself.”

It’s very clear that you’ve worked hard to get to your current notch on the totem pole, and I’m not writing to complain about my unfair lot in life. In fact, you’re one of the smartest people I know, and I think you that you and your wife deserve to be in the $231k-$413k tax bracket. (Oh, if you’re shocked that I know what tax bracket you’re in, don’t be — you shared this information with me last week when I asked about my W2 forms.)

You made smart decisions in life and saved most of the money you made, which I truly admire. What irritates me is that I know how much money you’ve saved because you tend to drop subtle hints or tell personal stories that vaguely or (very, very specifically) illustrate your wealth. You know, I think it’s amazing that you paid off $200k of law school loans with your wife after only three years — bravo! Considering I’ll be paying off my Master of Arts degree for the next nine years, I’m truly impressed. You have such a talent for humbly dropping these financial tidbits about yourself and somehow not sounding like an asshole — it’s a real art.

But sometimes you do sound like an asshole. The comment about the opera, for example, or your exaggerated guffaw upon learning that I’ve never been to the yacht club — it’s pretty difficult to not sound like a douchebag when you’re making entitled comments like that.

The essential dichotomy about you, however, is that you are extraordinarily cheap. You’re so proud of how cheap you are that you wear it on you chest like a badge of honor, and hold it over my head to torment me. You are genuinely averse to taking vacations, because you’d rather “spend your money on saving”; you haven’t bought a new car in eight years because you think they’re a “bad investment”; I’m pretty sure you became a vegetarian just to cut down on groceries. Listen, I know we’ve been over this and I agree — it’s much better to spend money on a few great investments rather than on just anything. But let me just clarify that a sailing club membership does not qualify as a “sound investment” in my book.

I guess I might be coming off as whiney. You’re only five years older than me and spend your summers at your house on the Cape, and yes, I’m 100% jealous. But this is not the purpose of my letter. Just like I’m sensitive to the financial, familial, and relationship struggles of my friends, I’d like you to show me some sensitivity towards our enormous financial differences, or even just a general sense of awareness. Don’t tell me that you spend $200 on an exclusive monthly gym membership, and then give me shit for taking one SoulCycle class every now and then. Don’t passive-aggressively comment on how well I must be paid to be able to attend the monthly happy hour with our colleagues.

Like I said before, you are one of the most intelligent and financially savvy people I know — so please spread the wealth and share some realistic tips with me, instead of questioning how I can afford a long-weekend out of town. Just because I don’t wear my cheap-y attitude on my sleeve, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make fiscal sacrifices in exchange for splurges.

You don’t know what I gave up in order to attend that SoulCycle class, and you don’t know how long I saved for my long weekend getaway. Let’s face it — you don’t even know my salary.


Your Skint Subordinate

*Norah prefers to use a pen name.

Image via Unsplash

  • Phinks

    LMAO to the person who wrote this, whats the point of this post..? you’re just complaining and whining gtfo here.. LOL

    • Carolina Dietrich

      I think it is totally fair to share this letter. For one, someone else might be able to relate and are relieved that someone else was able to put these frustrations into words. Or someone who might have insensitive habits of flaunting their wealth may read this and become aware of how others who make less feel about the imbalance. Thank you, Norah, for this post. I loved it.

      • Mj D’Arco

        Oh please. This whole attitude of watch what you say because it might hurt my little feelings needs to stop. grow up it’s not the worlds job to worry whether or not you’ll be offended.

        • Mary

          Honestly, I don’t see this as a complaining because that person was insensitive, so much as a warning to that person that their insensitivity has consequences. Their employee lost respect for them, and if they keep belittling people around them they’re going to lose a lot of potential contacts along the road.

    • Jax

      Her feelings were hurt because her boss said he’d paid off 200k in loans in 3 years? That is an amazing financial feat. How is mentioning that “somehow not sounding like an asshole”?!?

      I don’t think I understand this post at all. Questioning someone about how they spend their money is super crappy as is laughing at someone for not having the same experiences as you, but the writer is also saying that she wants realistic tips. Some of the things that this “asshole” boss says are realistic tips, like brand new cars are typically bad investments if you’re hyper concerned about saving. So bizarre. And being “cheap” is typically that your average person builds wealth.

      Also if you’re someone’s subordinate at a big company, your boss likely has no idea how much you make. That’s not strange or weird that your boss didn’t know.

      • Phinks

        LOL her feeling got hurt..? by someone telling her they paid off 200k in loans in 3 years bahaha this is funny, so what if someone paid of 200k in loans in 3 years that not even her loan, that’s nothing to do with her, its none of her business, why she has feeling for that ..? looks like shes just jealous that someone was able to do that, ( if i know someone is making 6 figure salary its not a surprise to me or even amazing to pay off 200k in 3 years ) shes just a whine lil bitch LOL it’s tough world we live in princess survival of the fittest .. instead of whining do something about it use it as your motivation to be better or quit your job.. LMAO

        • Jax

          Yeah. Writer is a liiiittle too sensitive for sure, and seems to be viewing the successes of the boss as her own failures.

          I think I disagree with one point you made, paying off 200k of loans in 3 years is pretty baller. And it’s not possible if you’re at or near 100k, you would have to be above that by quite a bit. At that level 1/3 of your income goes to taxes. So that would mean you would have absolutely no money left over to save or to live on for 3 years if you were at 100k. Even if you were at 200k you are still probably sacrificing a lot, assuming that you are saving at all.

          • Phinks

            well i didn’t say her boss is making just 100k thats why i put 6 figure that could mean anything from 100k to 999k and im guessing her boss makes more than just 100k base from what she said.
            ” your wife deserve to be in the $231k-$413k tax bracket. (Oh, if you’re shocked that I know what tax bracket you’re in, don’t be “

          • Jax

            No, you didn’t. However, you said “if i know someone is making 6 figure salary its not a surprise to me or even amazing to pay off 200k in 3 years”. 100k is a 6 figure salary. As mentioned above, it is literally impossible to pay off 200k over 3y with 100k (6 figure) salary. And that’s nice about the OP’s mention of the tax bracket, but I don’t think you can assume that boss has always been in that tax bracket or was even in that tax bracket for the years he paid off debt. And even based on that I also wouldn’t assume that his salary is astronomical either, because that is assuming that his wife’s salary is not. Either way, it is still an impressive feat. If everyone could do it, they would be doing it.

  • Mj D’Arco

    Articles like this are why millenials have such a bad reputation. Whine whine whine. Booo my boss is flaunting his wealth boo he makes more than me boo. Instead of whining how about doing something more productive that will get you to his pay level.

    • J

      Uh oh. Boss? Is that you?

    • Irina

      I Kindly ask you not to read one person’s article as a statement of a “generation”.

    • Duskpunk

      It’s not that he’s flaunting his wealth, it’s that he’s being judgmental about his employee’s spending choices AND the fact that she’s never done/can’t afford some of the things he does without having any idea about her financial situation or priorities. It’s rude, and it’s unhelpful when you make judgments and offer advice or criticism without knowing the situation someone’s making their decisions on.

      It’s not whining and I really feel like people have seriously forgotten what whining actually is. If she were whining, she’d be complaining “If you think I should buy season opera tickets or go to the yacht club regularly, then PAY ME enough to afford it!” But that’s not what she’s doing. She’s calling out the passive-aggressive humblebragging and superiority complex and the speaking from ignorance.

  • HL

    Your boss sounds tactless and I get how frustrating that can be to deal with, but I think there was a real missed opportunity to take the high road here. Instead of turning your experience into a piece about how to deal with unprofessional behavior from superiors, or how wealth bragging and belittling the salaries of others is indicative of deeper insecurities and not to take it personally, you chose to bash someone behind their back on the internet. I really wish people wouldn’t use public forums to air their personal grievances with specific individuals. Even if you keep it anonymous, it is still petty, passive aggressive, and unproductive and it only leaves me with the sense that there is more to this story than comments about wage disparity. I’m sure it was cathartic for you to write this, but I think venting of this kind is best kept in the privacy of close friends or a journal. It doesn’t accomplish anything beyond affording some short-term gratification.

    Be the bigger person.

  • Jessica

    What a whiny, pointless article. I’m sorry to break it to you, dear, but your mistake was getting a Master of Arts…

    • junior kroma

      I’m going to assume you understand that a MA doesn’t mean she got her degree in Art…

      • Jessica

        No kidding. She mentioned her degree in the article…

        “Considering I’ll be paying off my Master of Arts degree for the next nine years, I’m truly impressed.”

        • Katherine Stephens

          Hilarious…loved it. Love your money advise…and your sense of humor

        • junior kroma

          lol *sigh* u can get in a MA in English, History…or any other subject that doesn’t require maths….But let’s just leave it there.

  • Magical Unicorn

    Wow the comments are so mean, not used to this on TFD.