Imagine this choice: Keeping your salary as is, or taking a pay cut to help a few colleagues keep their jobs. Just how far are employees willing to go to help their co-workers during tough times?
Apparently, only so far. About 25 percent of folks who participated in our NBC News State of Kindness poll conducted online by SurveyMonkey and are employed either full- or part-time said they would be willing to take a pay cut if that meant a co-worker would keep his job. Nearly 20 percent said they would not voluntarily have their pay docked to save the job of a colleague.
Are we all a bunch of Grinches? Not necessarily.
The majority of folks (55%) said it all depends on the situation, such as which co-workers would wind up staying employed (that could mean bad news for those toxic colleagues, so you better be nice, not naughty).
More from TODAY.com:
What's better, money or a nice boss? NBC News survey shows what we really think
Kind candidates? The presidential candidates you'd most want a drink with are...
To tip or not to tip? NBC poll finds young people are more generous
The amount of the pay cut would also be a deciding factor, according to our poll participants. (We may be generous but we probably don't want to give up 50% of our pay for a colleague.)
Survey participants made one thing very clear: they really, really think their colleagues are nice folks, with a whopping 90% they saying their colleagues are either "somewhat" or "very" kind.
Apparently, kind colleagues can be found across the U.S. About 90% of participants from big cities, small cities and towns, rural areas, and the 'burbs all think their colleagues rock in terms of kindness.
When it comes to taking a pay cut, overall, men were much more likely than women to say they would take a pay hit — 32% to 21%. But again, it depends on the situation, with nearly 60% of female participants gauging their decision on context, versus slightly more than 50% of men.
The number of digits on your paycheck matters, too. Thirty percent of those participants who make $100,000 or more every year said they would take a pay decrease to help a colleague, but only about 20 percent of those earning less than $50,000 per year would do the same. Nearly 30 percent of those smack in the middle, earning $50,000 - $99,000 a year, would give up some of their hard-earned dollars to help a colleague keep their job.
Family matters, too. Our survey results show that 30% of parents said they would take a pay decrease to help a colleague, while only 20% of participants without children would do the same.
Employers may be happy to learn the holiday party doesn't seem to be the Bacchanal that it was back in the day. (Mad Men fans may remember the episode "Christmas Comes But Once a Year," during which ad exec Roger Sterling ordered a colleague to make sure the holiday bash was more "Roman orgy," than "convalescent.")
Only 4% of poll participants said they planned on drinking too much at their company holiday party this year, and only 3% said they were going to kiss a co-worker. Slightly more than 10% are probably going to take a selfie with the boss. (Participants weren't asked if that picture will be used as a bargaining chip for a future pay raise.)