The Beggar Who Asked For More

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Belvaros_beggar_01In 1995 my family had the opportunity to visit America … we went to Houston and eventually to New York, but via Amtrak the train service. One of our long stops was at the Chicago Union Station … we would be there for some hours so my Dad thought it would be nice to use that opportunity to tour the beautiful city of Chicago.

So we did … walking around the city and checking out the beautiful and legendary Chicago architecture, when we stumbled upon a homeless guy asking for money. So feeling generous my Dad took out a few coins (I can’t remember the amount) and dropped it into the guys cup….what happened next was pretty shocking but mostly funny…because the guy was like (and I paraphrase)…

“Fork you! What am I supposed to do with this forking shit!” he said gesturing with his hands for what must be the universal sign for “what the fork is this shit!”

Suffice it to say he was not happy with the coins … but by then my whole family had already started walking faster just so that we could avoid getting stoned with coins.

But you know something … looking at that moment years from now, I kinda wish that more people were like that guy … the so-called homeless beggar …

Because come Monday morning millions of people are going to jump out of bed, shower, shit, dress up and hop into their cars to go to a job just to earn coins… and they won’t even know they are getting paid in coins! They won’t even know if they are underpaid or undervalued.

Now, if a beggar on the streets of Chicago could get pissed off when given coins … then maybe just maybe you need to get pissed off when given corporate coins. Don’t get comfortable with coin-change, know your worth and know your value and if you are not getting paid that then demand to get paid!


twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
Follow him on Twitter
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Read his crazy titled books on konga or okadabooks
Feed his children at…no wait he has no kids…. 

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23 comments on “The Beggar Who Asked For More

    • Yep Adaeze. Especially in Nigeria. I did a consultation with a girl that was getting paid like N40,000-50,000 per month to do customer service at one of this online retail stores. She would get up, use transport to go there, work late and was even required to work weekends for 50K!

      I told her she needs to quit because by the time you factor in all the expenses going to work and losing your weekends, that 50K is like 20K a month. We have authors on okadabooks (shamless plug) that earn that in a month!
      Okechukwu Ofili latest post is When Nigerian Children Fall SickMy Profile

      • I totally get your point but the unemployment rate makes it hard for the average worker to refuse to take crap or realise that they are underpaid. Trust me if that young lady leaves that job, there’ll be ten people who’ll struggle for that job with that ridiculous pay.
        Adaeze latest post is Gracie- Part oneMy Profile

        • Ofili

          Adaeze if people struggle for what you leave behind that is okay as long as you get out of the situation. There is a certain level of income you earn in Nigeria which you can do on your own. It could N1000 or N2000 or N20000 all per month, but there has to be something where you are like screw this, I can do better on my own. That is what I am recommending. As with everything it is easier said than done, but it can be done even in Nigeria.

          • Dayo Adebayo on said:

            Talk is sweet. But it doesn’t put food on the table. When you see the financial conditions of people you will know that many a times half bread is better than non.It may be coins but ita sure better than nothing. About the begger on Chicago street. …I won’t be suprise if he is mentally deranged or something.

  1. Itnerdd on said:

    I agree that knowing ones worth is important. However, some times you have to start from somewhere. Sometimes, you even have to take unpaid opportunities so as to lay the ground work for the well-paid opportunity you deserve.

    • Ofili

      That’s the bullshit they sell us and people drink it up. Now there is nothing wrong with starting from down there or working for free, but for how long? To what end? When do you wake up and say “I am worth more than this?” You see the world is not all “Pursuit of Happiness” type endings, not everybody gets the cherry pie at the end of the day … not everyone makes it to the top or gets their story of disappointment turned into a major blockbuster movie, so while you are working for free and grinding make sure to set a limit or you could be sucked into somebody’s motion picture but as an extra. So pursue your happiness but don’t leave the logic behind…

      • Itnerdd on said:

        As I said, sometimes you have to start from somewhere. Of course there has to be limits. I remember taking an unpaid internship my sophomore year which earned me a paid internship my Junior year with a different company. Those two opportunities helped land me a job at graduation with another company. So yes, sometimes you have to start from somewhere. However, if someone had offered me an unpaid internship my Junior year, I probably would have cursed them out.

  2. Better that than staying home idle . Now that’s not because there are no jobs in Nigeria but because our education sector does not teach enterprenuer(is that the spelling?) and by that I mean what is sellable to all.

    • Ofili

      Its actually not better. If you can stay at home and do a hustle or business that gets you N20,000 that is better. Not everything has to go the work route or the 9 to 5 route. But like I say … easier said than done.

  3. So true. Infact in all areas. Even in relationships with family, friends, husbands, wives even children. We should know when we are being short changed. No sense in settling for less.

  4. Ofili,

    I support Adaeze in saying in Naija?

    Here is my story…I work in a firm that does work for people (i no too wan give details). This is 5 December and I am still owed a huge % of my July Salary + full salary of the following months. I am not dull but I have tried and tried to find a new job even with a pay cut, sent in tons of application and yet, I dont even get invited to interview.

    I have dependent relatives and I get quite sad when they ask for money and I cant help. I have a son that I cant even afford to buy a toy car for because I am saving for emergencies as I dont know when the next pay is coming. I cant sit at home either ‘because I know if i leave this place, I may not get paid till 2016. Truly, the company is having a rough time but mismanagement of funds plays a greater role in this predicament.

    So you see why we accept coins and hope for the better

    • If you’ve learned enough about this company and their business operations – quit and start your own company and be their competitor.

  5. Hmm… I see. So you’d rather stay and not get paid than leave? I don’t really know much about 9-5 jobs but I know they don’t give a shit about you. If you really want to buy your son a toy car, you need to quit that job (it all depends on what you want out of life)

    PS: Don’t bother praying about It. Because shit won’t happen unless you make it happen yourself

  6. Beautifully put together, well done Ofili.

    We must learn to say NO to some certain things even when it’s the most difficult thing to do. I have done this a couple of times and I get raised in my next adventure.

    It’s important we learn to place value on ourselves, we must add value in terms of skills and it must be relevant skills.

    It is better to take an intern (even unpaid) position with good companies than killing yourself over “coin”. The experience you gather from such will aid your next move.

  7. We must start adding values and skills that in demand, not all skills are in demand. Better still, selling is a great a way out this “trouble”. Having a business of your own and learning to sell will help a great deal.

    I reckon is not the easiest thing to do, but it must be done.

  8. What happened to the saying that a beggar has no choice???
    At one side of the coin the beggar seemed ungrateful and at the other side,he knew his worth
    This write-up made me laugh with the beggar’s outburst…
    #there’s another saying that half bread is better than none…
    ‘Diddie latest post is 10 Lessons from my Mom’s poultry farmMy Profile

  9. Ngozi Otum on said:

    reading the comments on here about people will rather go to work than sit idle, or the umemployment rate in Nigeria is such that you hang onto any shitty jobs you are given….. Bottom line is you get treated the way you tell people to treat you

    Those companies that are not paying their employees, the owners are making money monthly, off your labor, off your hard-work, off your dedication

    why dedicate yourself to a company who doesn’t value you enough to even pay you the measly salary you are supposed to receive every month

  10. It is a fact that Nigeria is one of the country with the cheapest labour. Even so called professionals do not know what it means to be a professional. So we have so many workers (esp govt employees) who are so frustrated and angry at their jobs cos half bread is better than non and so resulting to strikes. Our lives will become better until we stop settling for less cos we think we have to pay the bills.

    I have a short audio book titled ” Don’t settle for bones” on whatsapp +2347052931208, you can visit my blog on

  11. ibukun on said:

    The fear of the unknown and that of what happens after is the problem with many nigerians. I happen to work in this kind of environment and I must say that all the people that have left either by force (termination) or willingly (resignation) are all doing better on their own. If I put half of d energy I expend on my paid job in my own business, I would be better off. I’m gonna make that move soon!

  12. i have been inspired by this write up and by the various comments.
    Ofilli, thanks for stiring up in me thought of adventure. every thing just adds up for me today. been thinking of quitting my job of 12 years to do my own thing. i stumbled on the interview you had with Adesua and decided to visit your blog…so glad i did.

  13. Mr ofili. this is the first time I am making a comment on your blog, so I doubt if champagne is not in order. yeah, drink up your glass and I will drink my zobo here, its all the same.
    anyway, this article really resonates. I grew up not knowing the man I called father because he woke up first and dashed to work before 6am. came back earliest at 10pm and sometimes not till the next day. mum must have really loved this because next thing I know she is working for the bank too and though they both were always stressed and snappy, I assumed there must be a magical world of candy and cream they rush to daily. alas that was not the case, because as a gift for his meritorious years of service, daddy was sacked. yep, you heard right, threw him out in the streets to start a new life at his age. well, mummy still gets to eat candy and cream right? wrong. she was unceremoniously retired last year.
    it’s amazing that when I graduated a few weeks ago from med school, mummy is all over me to get a good paying job that will secure my future. (yeah like the one you had right? )
    my point is that ever so often we are made to believe that the lifeline thrown at us by the demi gods at the top of the food chain are to be cherished and held dear. well guess what? is a big fat lie because those guys know quite well that if you really tap into your potential, infact if we all did tap into our potentials, they would rob a bank to keep our backs rubbed (no porn intended, or is it pun?)
    I’m ranting, but I’m making sense, (too myself and my ever agreeing sweetheart at least)
    I’m exhausted.

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