We Know Asking for a Raise is Scary AF. Here’s Why You Should Do It Anyway

how to ask for a raise
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Here’s a question for you. Which would you rather do: ask your boss for a raise or get a root canal?

If you said “get a root canal,” you’re not alone. Employment agency Robert Half says 5% of the 1,000 people they surveyed recently said the same thing.

We’d also rather get audited by the IRS (4%), look for a new job (14%) or clean our houses (36%).

Robert Half researchers say 44% of the people they interviewed plan to ask for a raise this year, primarily because their compensation no longer matches their job duties.

But they also note “only 46% of professionals felt confident when asking for a raise.”

Well, aren’t we a bunch of nervous nellies? I know I am.

If the thought of asking for a raise terrifies you, I hope it helps to know there are people out there just like you.

Why We’re Raise-Seeking Scaredy Cats

LearnVest’s Marisa Torrieri says there are several reasons employees are reluctant to ask for a raise:

  1. You’re afraid you don’t deserve more pay. If you believe you aren’t as valuable as your co-workers, I urge you to read up on impostor syndrome.
  1. You’re afraid of rejection. If so many people weren’t, meeting people sure would be easier. Torrieri says even though being told “no” is a drag, it “doesn’t mean the topic is off the table forever.”
  1. You’re afraid to negotiate. Whether it’s over a car or job benefits, bargaining for what you want can be grueling. The key is to learn how to negotiate effectively.
  1. You’re worried you’ll lose your job. Fair enough, but don’t let fear stop you. Research shows that pretty much never happens.

Why We Need to Suck It Up and Just Ask for More Money

It’s easy to slip into avoidance mode and skip the raise discussion during your next performance reviews.

Here’s why that’s not the best idea.

“People who are hesitant to talk about compensation may reduce their earning power – not just in their current role but also with future employers,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half.

For one thing, raises give job-seekers an edge during salary negotiations with a new employer.

Furthermore, getting paid what you’re worth helps close the wage gap.

Some experts say failing to negotiate your first job could cost you more than $65,000 in the long run.

What Are You Waiting For?

Arm yourself with these salary negotiation strategies and tips, then set up an appointment to speak with your boss.

You got this.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wonders if her editors will be expecting a meeting invitation once she files this story.