How to Get a Big Pay Raise Without Using the Briefcase Technique

By in Guest Post, Make Money, Tips | 24 comments

Pew Research Report: Moms Represent 40 Percent of All Primary Breadwinners

By Guest Contributor, Shilpan of Street Smart Finance, Common Sense Personal Finance

Shilpan’s comments on a recent article, Money Help from Ramit Sethi; How to Get a Raise were so inspired, I invited him to write about how he managed a 40 percent raise. Enjoy his motivating story.

Men + Women-Get a Juicy Pay Raise; Without the Briefcase Technique

This newest research underscores the importance of negotiating for the highest salary you can obtain. According to Venessa Wong’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle, “More Female Breadwinners, Same Old Pay Gap“, only 1 in 4 (women) respondents to a Citi/LinkedIn survey asked for a raise last year. 

It is quite likely that if you don’t ask, you won’t receive a raise and there is no downside to asking for a raise.

How to get a big pay raise-without using the briefcase technique.

In the rebounding economy, corporations are accumulating cash. It is a perfect time to ask for a raise. Shilpan wrote this awesome article and I’m reposting it for those who missed it. His strategy for getting a raise is unique and the results were superior. Women and men, give it a try and boost your bottom line.

I don’t blame you if you are scratching your head with this perplexing title. Ramit Sethi is the one to blame for it. He came up with a briefcase technique to negotiate a big pay raise, and I like his creative thinking. This article suggests a subtle twist to the briefcase technique.

I wanted to share how I got a huge pay raise recently. It’s a simple technique at its core — go above and beyond to ensure your supervisor’s success.

Let’s rewind back to fall of 2008. I was out of IT work for three years by then. I took sabbatical to manage a portfolio of hotels that I owned back then. Lehman Brothers collapsed the day I sold one of my hotels. I planned on building a new one, but we were in the midst of one of the worst recessions in the last 50 years.

I decided to plunge back into IT and soon found a decent job. I was doing well, but I was still making about 10 percent less than my last IT gig with Accenture consulting.

How I Got a Promotion and a Big Pay Raise

“Give every man more in use value than you take from him in cash value” — Wallace D Wattles

I am a big fan of the philosophy of Wallace D. Wattles. How much you make is the direct outcome of your targeted hard work to ensure your supervisor’s success.

At every one-on-one meeting with by boss, I focused more on his top three goals. Soon, I found out that he was competing with several others to get promoted to become the Senior Vice President, and obviously that was his prime goal.

Here’s how I did it.

Me: Jim, what can I do to ensure that you get promoted to Senior VP?

Jim: I have a project to create a Spend Visibility analytics application. This application can offer a holistic view of the total spending on our executives with a goal of controlling our costs. But, we don’t have much budget to build an enterprise level application.

Me: What if you allow me to make it happen for you. I won’t let you down. If I do, you can fire me. I will work tirelessly to do what it takes, if you have faith in my talent.

Jim: That’s fabulous. I wanted to warn you that it’s a high visibility project, so we can’t fail Shilpan!

Me: I am gambling my job to convince you that we won’t fail.

I got busy for the next three months. I worked long hours not only during the week, but also during the weekend to ensure that every milestone was achieved ahead of schedule.

I remember that Jim asked me to see him in the midst of this project. I was wondering what was in his mind.

Jim: I noticed that you are working way too much, Shilpan!

Me: I am on a mission. I promised you that we can’t fail. So, I have no other choice.

Jim: I just wanted to tell you that you are an asset for our company. I appreciate all the hard work you do.

Me: Thank you, Jim.

Needless to say, the project was completed in record time without any major hiccups. Our executive team was in awe when they heard that the project was completed without much capital expense. This application will save the company over a million dollars a year for the next five years.

Jim was promoted for his acumen to offer a solution to impact the company’s bottom line.

The secret to getting rich {without winning the lottery}-click here.

I Never Expected a Big Pay Raise

Even though I was exhausted with the relentless work for almost three months, I felt proud to make a difference. I never imagined or even bothered to ask for a pay raise. But, if you invest in your supervisor’s success — by not only working hard but also risking all that you can to ensure his or her success — you will get promoted with a major salary raise.

Soon after his promotion, Jim asked me to see him.

Jim: Thank you for the hard work. I think you are making way too little for your talent and hard work.

Me: Thank you. It never occurred to me. I am making six figures already.

Jim: Well, I have another offer for you. I want you to manage our data warehouse, and you won’t be disappointed to know that you’ll make 40% more with an additional 20% year end executive bonus.

Me: I am honored.

That’s it. All it took for me was to invest in my superior’s success to get a big pay raise in the midst of the worst job market. And, I know that this technique will work for you if you apply it without expecting any return.

Share your raise stories, when you got one and when you didn’t. Any tips for success?


  1. Barbara, it’s an honor that you invited me to share my experience. My deep gratitude.


    September 4, 2012

  2. Great story. I’m going to have to ask that question of my boss at my next review. She just started this past week so I think it’s too early for her to have goals laid out that I can assist with but once she’s established, this sounds like a great strategy.

    Money Beagle

    September 4, 2012

  3. Interesting story. I will definitely keep it mind when I want a raise. Right now though is not the time to ask. We are going through budget cuts and people are getting cut. I just have to keep working hard and hope they still want me.

    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    September 4, 2012

  4. Great story! Helping your boss make his/her goals is a great way to be rewarded. I think it should be part of every employee’s thinking.


    September 4, 2012

  5. @Shilpan, Your experience will definitely help the readers make more money and maximize their employment, thank you.
    @Money-Probably a smart idea to wait until she gets a bit more established, but a good arrow to hold in your quiver for later.
    @Miss T-You have to pick your battles, when cut backs are in the air, asking for a raise usually is not the best strategy.
    @Krantcents-Couldn’t agree more:).

    Barbara Friedberg

    September 4, 2012

  6. Interesting way to get a raise without asking for one. I’ve heard it said that if you help others achieve their goals, you don’t have to worry about money.

    Brent Pittman

    September 4, 2012

  7. Great guest post, Shilpan! I, too, will echo what Brent said and Zig Ziglar before him: “If you help others get what they want, you’ll always get what you want.”


    September 4, 2012

  8. @Brent-I am really trying to maintain a “service oriented focus”. It’s so much healthier to work on helping others (of course not to the exclusion of yourself) than to ruminate on oneself.
    @Joe-Zig Ziglar certainly is one of the “all time great” motivators.

    Barbara Friedberg

    September 4, 2012

  9. Thank you all for the kind words. I don’t think you need to try any techniques to get raise other than old, time tested principles of hard work and dedication.

    All you need is an inner desire to go extra mile to serve.

    This service mind-set will work not only in your profession or business, but also to build great relationship with your friends and alter ego.

    Try to give more, way more than what you expect back in return. — that’s the formula for a guaranteed success.


    September 4, 2012

  10. I am no longer working in the corporate world but I will still say this is a great story to share and motivate new graduates who want to receive higher salary and promotion to reach their goals within a short period of time.

    • Hi Cherleen, Definitely a unique take on getting a raise. Shilpan is quite talented.


      September 5, 2012

  11. Cherleen/Barbara,

    Anyone who wants to work hard with a purpose-driven goal to contribute towards financial well-being of the company he/she works for, sky is the limit in this great nation.

    Our society has become fantasized with anyone who can teach how to make big bucks without much effort. It’s important to remember that old adage,”If it is too good to be true, it isn’t.”

    Thank you for the kind words and opportunity to share my thoughts.


    September 5, 2012

  12. Good advice, except there is a serious possibility it can backfire if your supervisor fails or chooses not to recognize you for your accomplishments. I have had friends tirelessly work extra hours for the same pay without getting a raise for years.

    Anton Ivanov

    June 3, 2013

  13. Hi Anton, Of course nothing is fool proof, but IMHO, helping others with their goals is and awesome way to help yourself.


    June 3, 2013

  14. I would agree with you there, Barbara. Providing others great value without expecting anything in return will benefit you in the long run. It just may not be the case in every situation…

    Anton Ivanov

    June 3, 2013

  15. Always make the guys above you look good. When you do they want to keep you around. Just make sure you don’t get one of those people that want to use you and not reward you.

    Great story Shilpan!

  16. We live in a great country. Anytime I hear someone complain about their bad luck, or bad economy, I think how great Descartes was when he said, “I think; therefore I am.”


    June 4, 2013

  17. @Thomas,There are always going to be jerks and haters, ignore them and move on! Most people are reasonable and appreciate support.
    @Shilpan, Life has it’s ups and downs, of course. Focus on others and worry less about “me”.


    June 5, 2013

  18. Wow, I love that story! The concept of working hard to help the boss achieve their goals is very wise. Thanks for sharing a great strategy.

    Happy Simple Living

    June 6, 2013

  19. I really like this post because it reminded me of a book that I read several years ago by Napoleon Hill about Andrew Carnegie. In it Mr. Carnegie said that he paid Charles Schwab more than one million dollars in a single year because he went over and BEYOND what was asked of him and made himself indispensable to the organization. This is a very valuable lesson to those astute enough to take heed!


    June 6, 2013

  20. @Eliza-I know, the story is so inspiring. I think it relates to other situations as well.
    @Michael-Giving to others helps the giver as much or more than the recipient.


    June 7, 2013

  21. Placing that focus on your supervisor’s success and happiness is key for acing that employee performance review! Other companies send out forms to team members as well,so don’t forget to enforce team spirit by being helpful to other team members, too!


    August 28, 2015

    • Hi Ginger, Agreed. You’ll benefit long term by being generous of spirit. Help out others (especially your boss) and you’ll prosper-in the long run. Thanks for stopping by!

      Barbara Friedberg

      August 31, 2015


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