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Unconventional Advice For Creatively Getting A Raise

A new and fresh approach to improving your personal bottom line.

Nir Bashan headshot
Nir Bashan
Increasingly large columns with increasingly large sums of money on top.

There are tons of books in the marketplace that are geared toward helping you get a raise at work. At last count I took a look on Amazon and found over 2,300 of them. And that was just in the last two years! While most of these books have the same tired advice, I will attempt to offer something new and fresh on this topic. But spoiler alert: you may find the advice unconventional.

Because it is so easy to blame others when we don’t get a raise, I collected three tools that we can do ourselves in order to position us for a raise. This is not theory or feel-good stuff – it’s three practical tools I have found that are virtually all but guaranteed to get you a raise. And they can easily work to also get you to the next big spot in your career. So here are three creative ways to get a raise at work:

1. Quit Complaining About What’s Wrong

I have hired over a thousand people in my career. I have handed over raises to quite a few of these thousand – and to some? Well, they never managed to get a raise. One of the things that pretty much guarantees that your boss or manager or supervisor will not give you a raise is when you make you mission at work to be a constant “complainy-pants.” It is easy to point out what is wrong. Anyone can do that. It is in our human condition to complain and point out things that are not working. There is a biological reason for this – it is what kept us alive 30,000 years ago when we were living in caves. Yet today? Not super helpful to work. And here’s the thing:

Anyone can point out that something sucks. But few people can point out how to solve it. And those are the people who will get a raise.

Quit complaining about what is wrong at work, and instead get creative. Point out constructive ways you can help solve what sucks at work. When you can do this consistently, you will find that getting a raise comes easily.

2. Don’t Be Entitled

Anyone can feel as if they deserve a raise. I woke up this morning and showed up to work. I need a raise now please. It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of entitlement. You have some experience in the field or perhaps you went to a good school, or you made the sale this quarter.

 The thing is, if you expect something just because you have done your job, then most managers, bosses and owners just see that as simply part of your job. Nothing less, nothing more. The thinking goes like this: You managed to complete that sale? Well, your job is in sales. So great: you did your job. You managed to have experience in the field? Then great: that’s why we hired you in the first place: Now go do your job. None of these things in and of themselves necessarily qualifies you for a raise.

Getting a raise requires creative thinking. Instead of being entitled and expecting someone to give you something, look at what you can give instead. Instead of expecting something, contribute something. When you do this consistently at work, it is hard not to get noticed and you will be rewarded with a raise.

3. Be Cool. Be Very, Very Cool

People often forget that the boss is a person too. They hold up their manger on an unrealistic pedestal and often forget that managers and leaders have feelings too. They are human beings with the same emotions that everyone on earth has and deal with things in the same way that every human deals with them. Sometimes on an even keel. Sometimes not. Just because they are the boss doesn’t mean that they are superhuman or do not get angry or sad or irrational from time to time.

So just be cool. Really. Just be cool.

Get creative when things go wrong and keep your cool. Instead of running to your boss every time the coffee machine breaks, screaming that you need your caffeine, try to fix it yourself. Instead of getting mad each time your Teams/GoToMeeting/Zoom/whatever doesn’t work, try and fix it yourself instead of running to your supervisor, throwing up your hands and saying, “I can’t work like this!” so everyone in the office can hear. Trust me: This has happened to me and it won’t get you a raise. 

Be cool and try to fix things that go wrong yourself. If you maintain calm on a regular basis while all else around you is chaotic, now that is an in-demand work skill! And it’s so easy to do – just don’t get consumed by the drama or emergency of the moment. Keep your cool and be cool -- believe me this will be noticed and eventually lead to a raise. 

I understand that the above three tips were perhaps not exactly what you were looking for and a bit unconventional. But when we view the world with creativity and innovation, things that we thought we knew sometimes become unfamiliar. Yet if you follow all of these tools you are pretty much guaranteed a raise. Because in each case – you will show initiative. And that is the one fool-proof way of consistently receiving a raise no matter what product or service industry you are in. And if you don’t get a raise by practicing the above as a matter of course, perhaps it is time to look for somewhere else to work.

This article was originally published in the Mortgage Banker Magazine August 2022 issue.
Nir Bashan headshot
Nir Bashan

Nir Bashan is a Top 100 nonfiction book of all time author and speaker. He helps folks become more innovative and creative at work.

Published on
Aug 16, 2022
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