I had used a different title for this piece till I read a Facebook post written by my friend, Bukky.
She told the story of a very industrious student whose parents had barely enough to send her to the university. After this student had paid all her fees, she was left with the sum of fifty naira which could not even feed her for a day. This wise girl would buy kerosene with the money and come back to school to sell it at a profit. In this way, she was able to pay her way through school.
She may have been called ‘Kerosene Girl’ by her sneering co-students but she was smiling her way to the bank with their money.
This story taught me about the dignity of labour. It is great for people to be able to work with their hands. God hates Laziness. The person who does not work should not eat (II Thessalonians 3:10).
I see a generation of people who do not want to work and yet crave the fine things of life. I moved into a house sometime ago and needed someone to help me clean. The agent recommended a young boy who came to look at the house. I offered him a certain amount of money which he refused. The agent tried to plead with him but he refused and went to sit idly in the sun, where he belonged. I offered half the amount to someone else and she did the job with thanks!
I feel disgusted when I see people who are unwilling to work. When I lost my job, I was ready to take on any task rather than beg. I was willing to use my car as a cab. I did all sorts of ‘menial’ jobs to consolidate my business. Today, I have paid my dues and can price my services at a certain premium. But before I got to that stage, I was willing to do any job to survive.
Someone asked a thought provoking question, ‘Have you ever given a beggar one thousand naira before?’ I know there are very few people who can answer yes to that question. Why? Because that person is not adding value to you. But if someone sells you a product or offers a service, you can even pay excess.
When you work with your hands and earn money, you feel fulfilled. There is a dignity that comes with earning your own money.
It is unwise for a lady to sit down and expect a rich man to marry her and whisk her into his palace of plenty where she will not lift a finger.
Men should not look for rich, vulnerable, older women who are desperate for marriage to deceive and marry so they can spend all their money.
If nobody employs you, create work for yourself. You can offer your services free to a company to get experience and if you are diligent enough, you can be employed when there is a vacancy in that company. I know people who did this and got employed. I have done free trainings just to create awareness about my services. When I do not have any ‘job’ to do, I get busy writing to improve my skills, waiting for my day of opportunity. David in the Bible was practising how to play the harp in the bush till the day his skill brought him before the king.
There is no excuse for idleness.
On this first day of May, which is called Workers Day in Nigeria, I celebrate the industrious KEREOSENE GIRL and others like her. Males and females who have refused to walk the pathway of laziness and have chosen to take dignified steps through the path of labour.