Yes, You Can Celebrate a Raise & Not Piss Anyone Off

Celebrating a raise is not like celebrating your birthday—you can’t invite everyone to the party. 

But after months—years, even—of hard work, how do you give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back without making others feel less than stellar about their own work? Promotions at work are public knowledge, and most co-workers will be happy for your deserved success. However, raises, bonuses, and the like, are often not shared for understandable reasons.

Here’s how to celebrate your well-deserved success without bumming out the person typing away next to you at work.


There are people in your life who will always be happy for you, but total transparency when it comes to talking money with co-workers is tricky. It’s also still considered taboo in most workplaces. There are parity arguments to be made for salary transparency, but things can get awkward pretty fast when co-workers find out you’re making more than them. Even if it is deserved, you don’t want to become the pariah of the coffee pot talk.

"Things can get awkward pretty fast when co-workers find out you’re making more than them."

If there is someone in your office with whom you engage in reciprocal sharing, meaning you share you salaries with each other, then by all means share! Research has shown that transparency among female co-workers helps in salary negotiation.

However, you don’t want your salary to become the point of reference for raise meetings. (Nor should anyone use, "Well, I know that Jenny makes X,” as an argument for a pay increase.) Though perfectly legal, it may cause your boss to think you’re unprofessional and could affect future raises. There are subtle differences that contribute to pay variances, unseen by co-workers but acknowledged by bosses.  

If you decide to share, it’s like Pandora’s box: That information is out there and alive. There’s no telling who will find out or what damage it might do, and, ultimately, your boss is the one who has to deal with the aftermath.


Sharing is caring—most of the time. If you and your closest head out to dinner and drinks to toast your successes, consider resisting the urge to share on social. Most of your co-workers, and likely your boss, follow you. While you should be able to revel in your raise, remember there are polite ways to do so.

If you do want to share, consider a post that toasts to all the successful women in your life. Post a specific honor or milestone you reached at work that’s not tied to a dollar sign. You should be proud of your hard work, but keep in mind whose eyes are on your social.


But only once (okay, twice). You deserve to have a little fiscal fun, but you don’t want to celebrate your raise by upgrading your life. In fact, financial advisors agree that it is a mistake to upgrade as your salary increases. The best way to celebrate your raise is by banking on your future.

That means saving up for bigger life purchases. The average pay raise in both 2015 and 2016 was 3%, and 2017 followed suit. You may not be able to purchase a home by 30, but you definitely won’t be looking into mortgage options if your rent increases every time you are rewarded at work. Be smart. Be save-savvy. Get that bag you’re eyeing, and then plan on contributing more to your 401(k).