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Software Engineer Called Out For Answering Honestly After Jobless Cousin Asked What Her Salary Is

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There are very few topics more divisive than money.

No matter who you’re with, the minute money comes into a conversation, it’s all but guaranteed there will be awkward silence, jealousy, or even resentment.

When the extended family of Redditor 0reo5 learned of her current salary, it resulted in a less-than-harmonious family Christmas, along with plenty of tension.

Concerned she may not have behaved appropriately, the original poster (OP), took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) asking fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my cousin my salary when he asked?”

The OP first revealed she did not come from money, but thanks to her job she found herself  in a position to give her family somewhat nicer Christmas presents than usual.

“For my (24 F[emale]) entire life, I’ve never had much money, so for Christmas I would always get my family cheap or do-it-yourself (DIY) presents.”

“This year, I have been at my job for about a year (software engineer) and I could actually afford some nice things for people so I spent a decent amount of money on my immediate family.”

“My immediate family exchanged presents on Christmas eve this year (Dad, Mom, lil Bro & me).”

“I bought my brother (19 M[ale]) a nice alienware gaming laptop because the laptop that he was using for school was my old one (that I used all through school) and was in bad shape.”

“He is a computer science major, just like I was, and I knew how much he needed something that was going to last.”

“Plus he can get some stress relief by playing games on it.”

The gesture was greatly appreciated by the OP’s immediate family, but it left her extended family rather stunned.

“Christmas day, we went to my grandparents house and my brother was telling my Uncle and my cousins about the laptop at dinner.”

“My cousin (22 M[ale]) looked up the laptop on his phone and saw how much it was and told everyone.”

“My uncle said that it was nice of my parents to buy my brother such a nice laptop, and my dad chimed in and said that -myname- bought it.”

“My cousin asked how I could afford to give such a nice present and asked how much money I make.”

“I told him a ball park number and my Aunt said that I shouldn’t be making that much money just to play on the computer all day.”

“I got defensive and said that I worked really hard to get my job and I deserve it.”

“That night my uncle called my dad and said that I was being inappropriate at dinner and shouldn’t be ‘flashing money around’ when I know that my cousin is unemployed and having a hard time.”

“Am I the a**hole for answering the question?”

“I probably should have made a joke about it, but he came off as serious like he may have wanted to pursue a software engineer career so that’s why I told him.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

There was overwhelming agreement amongst Redditors the OP was in no way the a**hole in revealing her salary to her family.

Several pointed out the OP’s cousin asked her a question, which she gave an honest answer to leaving her no need to apologize, particularly after her aunt insulted her.


“Not only is your cousin an a**hole so are his parents, they asked you answered”

“Not your problem they didn’t like the answer and it made them petty and jealous (which is evidently clear from your aunt’s comments).”

“If they bring it up again just say ‘well you asked me, what Is the problem now are you jealous or something?”


“It’s not as if you came in wearing a big sandwich board ‘Starting salary: well into six figures!'”

“If your cousin didn’t want to know, he shouldn’t have asked.”

“And if he did want to know, your aunt and uncle shouldn’t be inserting themselves into the conversation.”

“Maybe, as you say, it will inspire your cousin to get into software engineering himself.” -SamSpayedPI


“Your cousin and his parents are both severely out of line.”

“Discussing pay is a good thing!”

“Everyone should have realistic expectations about how much each job pays.”

“All you did was buy someone a nice Christmas present that they’ll definitely enjoy, and answer a question you where directly asked.”

“If he didn’t want to know, he shouldn’t have asked.”- Zinthr.

“NTA, if anything you gave him something to strive for.”

“You should give your aunt a crash course in what you do.”

“Software engineering is f*ing HARD.”

“You know she wouldn’t last two minutes.

“‘Playing on the computer’- screw that!” –bot_bot_bot


“You did nothing wrong in answering a question your cousin wanted the answer to.”

“I will never understand why people ask a question and then complain about the response.”

“Also awesome gift idea, I’m a Computer Science student as well and know all too well how much easier university is with a good setup”- snitflip.


“Your cousin asked the question.”

“Just because they don’t like the answer doesn’t make you rude.”- Apprehensive-Owl4635.

“NTA – the rule is: never ask a question if you’re not prepared for the answer.”

“Also, they are the rude ones for assuming your parents were the ones who bought it because they didn’t think you could afford it.”

“They don’t want to talk about money, yet they brought it up.”

“Do they get upset at restaurants when they get the food they ordered?”- bwb888.

Several also pointed out the behavior of the OP’s aunt and uncle was clearly jealousy, which she did not need to feel guilty about.

“NTA your aunt and uncle are jealous.”

“Enjoy your hard earned money!” – DelurkingtoComment

“Well it sounds to me like some jealousy on your aunts/uncles behalf and childish to be ridiculing your job.”

“If they ask and you’re ok then tell.”

“It’s very kind of you to be thinking of your bro.”

“You always have to tread lightly in these situations so you don’t make your folks seem stingy or upstage them but other than that, NTA.” – aircool_ads

Others warned the OP to expect to be asked to financially help her cousin going forward.


“But be prepared for any future instances where you’re asked to help out this cousin because he’s struggling.”

“You’re allowed say no OP.” – SailJazzlike3111

It is rather hard to understand what the OP’s cousin, aunt and uncle were trying to accomplish by asking her that question.

And it’s hard not to assume their need to insult and criticize the OP wasn’t simply jealousy on their part.

At least the OP’s generosity wasn’t overlooked by her brother or her parents.

And here’s hoping this rift in the family can be happily resolved.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.