Raise versus Root Canal

When it comes to asking for a bump in pay, some employees would rather do the latter or other not-so-pleasant tasks instead.

The fear of going to the dentist is real for many Americans –according to WebMD  between 9 and 20 percent of Americans avoid it because of anxiety or fear.  The desire for a raise is also real for American employees, yet some workers would rather sit through a root canal than sit in their boss’ office to ask for a raise.

The staffing firm, Robert Half wanted to know employees’ level of confidence and their attitudes about a variety of career and salary topics so they surveyed 1,000 U.S. workers. While close to ninety percent (89 percent) of workers believe they deserve a raise, only just over half (54 percent) plan to ask for one this year according to the survey. Instead of asking for a raise many workers would rather engage in notoriously not-so-pleasant tasks. Some of the preferred tasks are jaw dropping – literally.

  • 32 percent of workers would rather clean the house
  • 13 percent would rather look for a new job
  • 7 percent would rather get a root canal
  • 6 percent would prefer being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The fact that some employees feel more comfortable engaging in harder, not-so-pleasant and time-consuming tasks than engaging in a few minutes conversation about a raise with their boss is surprising. Assertiveness, one’s ability to negotiate and their overall performance on the job together play a role in whether they get a raise or not.

“Self-confidence is the foundation of a successful career,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half says. “Your professional growth and earning potential depend not just on the demand for your skill set, but also on your willingness and ability to negotiate with current and prospective employers.”

Sixty-six percent of workers say they are more comfortable speaking in public than they are asking their boss for more money. If their request is denied some employees say they would either wait for the next performance review to ask again, some would ask for better perks and some others would look for a better job elsewhere. The latter is in line with the findings that 1 in 3 employees say they may walk away for better income if their employer fails to compensate for what they believe they are worth.

While confidence and one’s ability to haggle are important when doing the asking, Consolidated Credit’s President Gary Herman says, knowing your worth is also vital.

“Don’t let fear of getting told no hold you back from asking for a raise,” Gary Herman, President of Consolidated Credit encourages. “With such a positive economic outlook this year, you can’t afford to allow yourself be intimidated into settling for what you have and not asking for more. Know what your work is worth and make sure your employer compensates you accordingly.”

Do employees know their worth?

It looks like researching how much they’re worth is easier to most people than asking for what they’re worth. Fifty-nine percent of professionals say they have checked their salary against market rates within the last year, 20 percent have done so within the last month while 27 percent have never checked.

For those who have checked McDonald says good job. As for those who haven’t you may be doing yourselves a disservice.

“If you don’t know the average pay rates for people with your skills in your city, it’s hard to make a compelling case for a higher salary,” McDonald says. “Those who don’t do their homework often veer to one of two extremes – either they don’t negotiate at all, or they demand too much. Professionals who back up their request with data and point out the value they bring to the firm are likely to have more productive discussions with their manager.”

Negotiating of any kind is no easy feat. Still, as uneasy as the practice may make you feel, haggling for a deal on a new car or better prices on fruits and vegetables at the market, or a reduction of APR on a credit card, can save or earn you some extra bucks.

If your salary barely covers your everyday expenses there are steps you can take to make ends meet. As you work on cleaning the house and on mustering the courage to ask for a raise, pay a visit also to your financial house – your budget. If you’re in debt, try to get out.

Although getting out of debt means not only spending wisely and saving more, but also earning more, you can make room in your budget meanwhile. If the majority of your debt is credit card debt, while we can’t ask your boss to give you the pay you deserve, Consolidated Credit can negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to lower your interest rates. The results are usually a 30 to 50 percent reduction on interests. To find out how we can help you, dial 1-888-294-3130 to speak with a certified credit counselor. You may also request help here.

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April Lewis-Parks
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