A Liberal Solution to Black Unemployment

Published on 30th March 2010

No one gets RICH working for the government. Except of course, they are persons who just migrated from welfare position to pay-checks. And please do not confuse that with being an appointee of a government.

When in 1989, I returned to Nigeria on a visit to see my late father Chief E E Okpa and family, after 4 years, and I was already Regional Appraisal Manager for FDIC in charge of 8 states, I was impressed by my rise and stride starting with a Busboy job at The Anatole Hotel September 1985, and such position March 1989, in less than four years showing up. But before I returned to US in January 1990, my father called me for a father-to-son dialogue, which signaled something was up. He said to me, 'Ejike, a civil servant is a civil servant anywhere in the world. If I believe in myself, I must get out of government employment and go challenge myself'.  

Boy, was I frightened because I hardly knew anyone then and was concerned about taking such route. But as fathers know best and mine was a genius, I came back and in June 1990, resigned and never looked back.

Should all of us be business folks? Hell no. But nothing is more satisfying, invigorating, stimulating, prompting, than one stepping up and fending for themselves. I am no rich individual, but I do what I want, when I want and I am rewarded accordingly. I could never have done so marking time and trading hours for dollars, and looking for vacation time as the only time to visit my folks in Nigeria and relax. The beauty of one fending for themselves can never be measured in dollars and cents [sense]. It is PRICELESS!

If the president of US makes $400,000, George Bush being the first to do so since Bill Clinton was last to earn $200,000 and Senators and House members earn less than $200,000, no federal employee makes more than the president. PERIOD?

If all one has done is trade hours for dollars and retire from such endeavor, they are not your source of riches nor wealth. They have managed to gain from the tax payer largesse to where they can live reasonably well until Thy Kingdom Come.

Black folks confuse being RICH with being WEALTHY. Those who attain being RICH, look at their bank balance while wealthy folks are motivated by the next big thing and never because of the money as the driving factor and force. Just to take on the challenge of doing what may have appeared impossible. Ask for a true wealthy folks, I will include my father first, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, etc. These folks worked regardless of how much money they have. Rich people quit once they achieve a certain amount they think will give them happiness and then retire and move to sunshine Florida.

A wealthy one is somebody who does not consider the availability of money but is convinced that when it comes to money as a deciding factor, he knows where and how much to get obtain. Read The Big Rich by Byran Burrough. Rich folks are attracted and impressed by the CULTURE of money while WEALTHY folks are enamored in the CULT of money, and their ability to influence things using money as part of an enabling tool.

Socio-economic conditions in African-American neighborhoods are not because of failed financial models but rather due to wanton disregard for leadership whereby many organizations in black neighborhoods are EVENT driven rather than ISSUE driven. They are constantly in fund raising mode with a target in mind. But never engaging nor embarking on those soft skills and intellectual engagements that create value and wealth, as in the front end aspect of business development. They are driven by transactions but never engage in transformatory exercises that lead to transactions.

Working for federal, state, county and city governments, non-profit organizations, dream job for many black folks, is not what makes one wealthy and or rich. But again, what is the standard? When many never thought in their life they will live to pass 40, reaching 50, makes them want to throw a great party. So trading hours for dollars  and saving for the rainy day, is never a path to greatness. But it helps.

As long as the beacon of hope and inspiration in Black community are entertainers, athletes, pastors,  government  employees and elected officials that often end up being investigated for corrupt practices or ethics charges, remember Congressman Jefferson, Charles Rangel, and former Dallas City Deputy Mayor ProTem Don Hill, and sometimes jailed, no new drive will emerge.

Those who go into business millionaires: ex- and former athletes, are hardly good examples of business folks. The business folks I am talking about are those who built something going from zero to infinity, with them, there are lessons to learn. We lack such in our community. As for the pastors, asking people for money and then telling folks to ask God for money in return/reward, is never a route for wealth creation nor riches making. It is more a suction pump intended in the name of the Lord to drain the meager resources of congregation members that give sheepishly on a household income hardly above $50,000. We build church edifices to glamorize worshipping God but we refuse to build establishments that make going to worship God an enjoyable experience.


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