The $1 Million Career Mistake

Libby Kane

asking for a raiseAccording to a new survey by, most of us are filing “ask for a raise” into the same mental recesses as “exercise more” and “take a daily multivitamin.” That is, we know we should … but we don’t.

The survey, reported in MarketWatch, found that only 41% of employees are straight-up requesting more money, though 84% of employers expect that their employees will ask. Which means that employers are prepared to shell out more bucks, if only their employees would pull the trigger.

The problem is simple: If we don’t ask, we won’t receive.

Many of us stay silent because we worry about incurring the wrath of our employers, or even worse, being let go for our audacity. But we may be over-thinking things: The same survey found no employer that had ever fired (or demoted) an employee over a simple salary ask.

RELATED: The 10 Reasons You’re Not Getting a Raise

You might not think that small raises add up, but they do—in a big way. In fact, also conducted a study that determined that at the end of a 45-year career, asking for a 4% raise every three years from a starting salary of $50,000 instead of accepting a 1% raise every year with a starting salary of $45,000 will leave you over a million dollars richer by the time you bow out.

So go ahead, ask. And (hopefully) receive.

  • Erick

    I thought Raises were given based on performance evaluations. If the evaluations aren’t there, you have to do your own leg work and put together items to justify what you are asking for. I would be prepared with metrics or proof of progress made throughout a period of time before asking for a raise.