Woman Shares The Tone-Deaf Response She Received From Her Boss After Admitting That She's Struggling With Money

Her boss tried to be "relatable" but failed to realize that her attempts were coming across as insincere and unempathetic.

Two young business women chatting during work break standing in modern office fizkes / Shutterstock

As the heightened disconnect between how much productivity working-class Americans are doing and the money they are actually making continues to rise, many people are finding other ways to supplement their income. Solutions often vary between finding a side hustle or looking for employment elsewhere with a higher salary — but others are simply choosing to ask their employer point-blank for a raise.


Such was the case for a woman named Maryanna Chewning, who explained in a TikTok video that she'd been discussing how little she makes at work with her boss. Instead of receiving a promising response, Chewning was disappointed in her boss' reaction.

Chewning shared the tone-deaf response she received from her boss after admitting that she's struggling with money.

Chewning explained that a few weeks ago, she'd been discussing with her boss how much she struggled with paying for basic necessities like groceries. This was because she wasn't making much money in her position, and she was clearly trying to start a conversation about the possibility of receiving a pay raise or a promotion.


Unfortunately, Chewning is not alone. According to a report by Credit Karma, which polled more than 2,000 adults, nearly two-thirds of American workers said their pay is not adequate to cover the rising cost of inflation. Similarly, in a separate survey by LendingClub, roughly 62% of the U.S. population is living paycheck to paycheck.



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Broaching the pay raise conversation at work can be incredibly daunting, especially if you don't know what to expect from your boss. Chewning's boss, for example, only replied in a tone-deaf manner.


"She told me that she paid for all of her kids' private school. She's paying for all three of her kids to go to college. Her husband is a lawyer, and they live in a multi-million dollar home, and she was telling me if she didn't have to pay for all of that, she would be rolling in the dough right now."

boss and employee talking aldomurillo / Canva Pro

Chewning knew that her boss was only trying to relate and point out that everyone was struggling with money in their own way. But paying for your child's private school education and eventual college tuition is not the same as having student debt up to your eyeballs. It's not the same as making less than $30,000 a year and having to figure out a way to budget that so you don't have to drink water for dinner.


"I am $30,000 in debt from college. My parents have an extra $30,000 in college loans because I couldn't take out more than $30,000 to pay for everything. So, it's not the same," Chewning insisted. "I also know she was just trying to relate to me."

While Chewning struggles to pay for groceries, her boss pays for her kid's school out of pocket. One of these issues can be easily solved — her boss can enroll her children in public school to save money, while the other is a necessity to live. 

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This type of response from a boss is why people are afraid to ask for raises in the first place.

This nonchalant, "trying to act relatable" attitude from a boss can be extremely disheartening to hear, especially since Chewning was genuinely trying to have a professional conversation but was instead indirectly told that she should suck it up because everyone is also "struggling." However, her boss's definition of struggling is rather different than that of the majority of the population.


Instead of empathizing or expressing concern that an employee is coming to you with the devastating news that they are essentially living paycheck to paycheck, Chewning's boss just further widened the gap between her privileged life and the reality of her employees' struggling experiences.

Chelsea Fagan, the CEO and co-founder of the media startup company The Financial Diet, became the perfect example of a humble and compassionate boss after admitting that she has a $90,000 salary and earns the fifth most at the company.



She explained that her decision was a selfish choice but that more executives should do it, too. Fagan doesn't agree with the idea that an average executive works harder than a person being paid minimum wage at that company.


"You can't relate to people; you can't understand people. I'm already pretty different than a lot of family, friends, and people in my life. How much more removed from normal life do I wanna be?" she questioned. "Anything I want, I can have, and the idea that you should always be striving for more money is one of the reasons why Americans are often so unhappy, even when they do have money."

Instead of hoarding money and squeezing employees, employers should be more willing to compensate fairly and address issues with an actual solution. 

Trying to be "relatable" to employees who are pleading for a pay raise isn't going to pay their rent or buy them groceries.


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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.