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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Everybody Abroad is a Toilet Washer



One of the advantages of FitFam is that you sleep better, you’re energetic and you generally feel good with yourself. You wake up on Monday morning feeling like a dragon… breathing fire (Post Euthymol of course). On this end, all my invigoration, fire and energy is channeled towards Royal Mail. I woke up at 4a.m waiting patiently for their customer service people to get to the office. My MacBook Pro, that has travelled halfway across the world to get to me by Guaranteed Next Day Delivery, has suddenly gone missing. Wednesday – “Your parcel is on its way” Thursday – “We’re sorry Ma’m, we had some problem around the Tyneside. It should get to you tomorrow” Friday – “Your parcel is on its way”.  Saturday – “We’re terribly sorry ma’m. We will pass this on to our escalation team on Monday”. With flaming eyes and a burning head, I have called the Customer Service team. I don’t feel the relief or catharsis that ranting and venting is supposed to bring; what I feel is… empathy – for the three people I have had a go at. They’re not responsible for my missing machine (and the shea butter, plantain chips & camwood which my sister lovingly packaged for me). In all of that,  they were polite and helpful and I’m supposed to get updates on my parcel soon. Soon. Soon.

While I was ranting about my Royal Mail problems, my friend told me about one of her exes who worked with the Royal Mail. She said he was one of the sweetest people she’d ever been with and he was quite passionate about his job. She then went on to tell me of how she had been at a party in Nigeria and she mentioned where her Boo worked. Then it began… the conversation steered into the muddy waters of how Nigerians go abroad to ‘wash toilet’ At this point, my friend said she couldn’t begin to start explaining what her boyfriend did at the Royal Mail.

After laughing it off, I explained that a lot of people project what they know and what they understand, to be the norm. There’s the assumption that since their cousin came into America and worked as a caregiver, then everyone is definitely towing that line. There’s also the belief that certain jobs are beneath one – especially as Nigerians in a foreign land. As a result of the poor economic state in Nigeria, everyone struggles to get on the White Collar Rung of the ladder. This stems largely from the fact that Blue Collar jobs in Nigeria are not as economically lucrative as certain White Collar jobs. So, we struggle to go to school, get those added qualifications to be a step ahead.

Unfortunately, Nigerians don’t stop to consider that it’s not the same economic playing field in the West. The basic amenities are present; so with your minimum wage, there’s a certain standard of living below which you can’t fall. We turn up our noses at people who work Blue Collar jobs in the West. You hear things like “He is just a plumber in London”, “He is an ordinary bus driver”, and of course one of the favourites “She is washing toilet for Oyinbo people”.

This morning my friend reminded me of how much money plumbers make in the UK. She also reminded me that when she worked as a train driver, she got an NVQ in mobile engineering.

Essentially, we need to recaliberate our mindset, and start to think in terms of honour and dignity. Are you earning a living by working hard and being honest? The idea of putting a person down by virtue of the fact that you believe what they do is demeaning is simply myopic. As a people we need to read more, and be more open to other experiences. So if your cousin worked for 20 years flipping burgers, surely it does not mean that every foreigner is taking shifts at McDonalds? Does the fact that a person works as a mail man make him less than you the doctor with the fancy degrees?

Not everybody who lives abroad is cleaning up after geriatrics; and even if they were, they’re filling a role and they’re doing an honourable job.

I shall leave you to ponder on these issues. Have a fabulous week ahead. Remember to be proud of whatever you do, give it your best and make sure you are simply awesome at it…because, that’s what really counts!

Peace, love & cucumber slices.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Andrey Popov

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Fashionista

    September 1, 2014 at 11:45 am

    You’re very right Atoke. Don’t mess with London bus drivers, “coach” drivers, Electricians and Plumbers oh. Those people earn tidy sums. The call out rate for a certified Plumber and Electrician lasan, will leave your head spinning. I strongly believe in dignity in labour as well. So far it is productive, honest and it earns you money.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      September 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      My hot water tap in the kitchen is currently misbehaving. I have endured using cold water to wash dishes, rinse vegetables, etc. for the past 4 months. simply because it was summer and I knew it could be managed in warm weather.

      As autumn and winter steadily and surely approach, I’m now sadly aware that I’ll soon have to pick up the yellow pages and call a goshdarn plumber. My wallet is flinching even as I write this… anyone who thinks blue collar jobs are to be derided needs to see the houses some joiners, electricians, welders, plumbers, capenters, etc. own.

      Let me even step it up a notch. If you ever find yourself in Peterhead up in Aberdeenshire, please take a leisurely drive through the town and check out the swanky mansions fishermen own and the fast cars they drive. Das right, fishermen. Na you the so-called white collar professional wey go dey do their accounts, draw up their legal paperwork and call dem “sah” …

    • Fashionista

      September 1, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      LOOOL @ calling them “sah”. MSA, you never lied oh! Shebi like you said, its even summer and so you’re still good. Some years ago, the boiler in my flat stopped working during winter, I fixed it sharp sharp and closed my eyes to the 80 pounds it was then. Imagine, the same boiler now broke down again a bleeping 2 weeks later, British Gas was now telling me, “well, we cant get anyone out till so so and so to rectify the problem” I considered getting an independent contractor as I felt I couldn’t wait. Omo, when I calculated the additional 80 pounds to pay before chasing up BG for a refund, I waited for the three weeks oh, in WINTER!! It was brutal! but I wasn’t parting with that money oh, not again!

    • Hairmillionaire

      September 2, 2014 at 12:21 am

      Mz SA its true, I was shocked when I went to attend a wedding, and majority of the houses in that area are made with granite.

  2. fifi

    September 1, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Totally agree with your points,as long as one is earning their paper through hard work and legally please no one has the right to judge.its this greed of “I have to live a big boy/girl life” that lead to so many people in london and america odu,eke masters and mistresses.many of them served time in prison but you see them in nigeria now all trying to form “I schooled abroad” meanwhile they couldn’t even finish school cause they were deported after serving their prison sentences

  3. fifi

    September 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

    * to become odu,eke…

  4. tbn

    September 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Lovely piece as usual, Atoke. Its really food for thought. A lot of these people who have fancy degrees in naija, who turn up their noses at those who have blue collar jobs abroad, don’t even earn as much as those doing blue collar jobs abroad. There is dignity in honest labour.

  5. Rock

    September 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Atoke are you by any chance ”washing toilet for Oyinbo people”? Lol.. I’m just pulling your leg sha! I think its important to know that life is like a growth curve, It can’t always be exponential, but if we put our hearts to it, we can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones, by the grace of God.

  6. ada

    September 1, 2014 at 11:54 am

    my dear its true oo..but i think that has stopped a bit…these tins pushes all these boys into life you start small and rise.. some pple might be flipping bugers to get through school and their basic expenses not everybody’s father abroad is a politician..Plumbers self before they step into your house you have to pay them before they even find the problem…sme pple start as cleaners and eventually own their own cleaning business..i believe it is not what you are doing now but what you are working on for the future.

  7. LOL

    September 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I prefer cupcakes to cucumber but from tomorrow, I endeavour to prefer cucumber!! ‘My hope is to treat everyone with respect, no matter what sphere, not just because of what they do but because of their kindness, politeness, helpfulness, funniness etc…people are more than their jobs and their potential and human worth is definitely more than where they work or what they do. I keep telling myself they haven’t invented the perfect job for me yet. Imagine if Bill Gates was born in 1902…how different his life or legacy would be!

  8. Jo!

    September 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Ah, I see we finally gave up on celery. Looool

  9. Thatgidigirl

    September 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    My classmate worked in an arcadia warehouse, packaging orders for delivery at minimum wage. That’s where she got her idea to open a parcel delivery service, she noticed a need/ flaw in the delivery system and decided to solve the problem. She just got her first round of funding and is negotiating with argos to sign up with her service. Where u are most times isn’t by mistake, God wants you to learn something from there.

    • baboushka

      September 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      Lol I worked for both Arcadia (shopfloor retail ) will not mention which store before they start decoding me lol and Argos too as a teen

  10. iyke

    September 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Really Bad Culture and Impressions. Throwing titles/certificates around is one of the ways success is defined by most Nigerians (Home&Abroad). Shame!
    When you have something others regard and favor,there is an unspoken intention that affects behavior. Those who desire the object of consideration savored often ignore the content of its truth. Agreed, situations may be different for both continents per stability of jobs, but honestly, who YOU say you are, whether in Nigeria, Europe or Asia,is unimportant to me… you act…what you promote as your belief…well that’s everything…because that is going to be the bedrock of the choices that you are going to make in your life.
    Whatever is your ultimate goal, it doesn’t matter if you start small NOW as long as you have an eye on your price. I washed plates, did security jobs and was also a sales assistant during my Post graduate days. In all these jobs, I distinguished myself, met wonderful people who showed me nothing but LOVE and belief in their positions.
    At the end of the day, all we should strive is to be whole…with ourselves.
    I only want to be me…myself…nobody else…However you choose to define or label me is your business!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      September 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Bro, I agree. Start small and don’t desire to be stuck in that role forever but look out for the many opportunities you can become exposed to while you’re working there. Attitude takes you a lot further than certificates, I’ll tell anyone that for free.

      And yes oh, re part-time gigs – during my post-graduate year, I worked in a catering company owned by an amazing lady called Suki Hudson and I always said to her that if I got married in Aberdeen and could afford to book Hudsons for my event, I’d consider it money well spent. She had a bespoke event service so it wasn’t steady work but when she needed us, we basically just loaded up the vans and headed out to different corners of Scotland to set up Marquees for weddings, deck out halls in castles for company dinners, go to some wealthy CEO’s country home to lay out a private cocktail party… I learnt A LOT about events management, table place settings, menu planning, great customer service, heck even bar tending (have to say, I’m quite a dab hand at pouring shots 🙂 ). And I visited just about every Castle there might be in a 50mile radius so soaked up plenty Scottish education at the same time. And the best part of it was that Suki just mucked in with the rest of us and was very involved with wanting to know about our lives, how school was going, etc. She even took my CV to hand out to her husband’s friends and even though nothing ever came of it, I was very touched by the gesture.

      (as an aside, I can’t forget the day we had to set up a ball at the University of St Andrews in the summer of 2007 and Suki’s daughter plus an entire retinue of the daughter’s friends all travelled down to work with us in the hope that they’ll meet some posh blokes… making me realize that the hustle is real, regardless of what color of skin we bear)

      In addition to working ad-hoc with Suki, I decided to go round the recruitment agencies and sell my talents as an excellent typist (and that’s with thanks to my mum for making me perfect my skills while typing umpteen conference papers for her throughout my life spent under her roof). That clicked and I spent the latter part of my post-graduate study year covering as an office temp on the days I didn’t have lectures. It was great exposure to how the working environment in this “abroad” functioned and bore further permanent fruit a month after my final exams, when I got sent to a company where the manager wanted me to help her draft staff contracts because she found out I had a law degree & background (thanks, Arlene). She eventually got fired and I was offered her job… but that’s a story for another day.

      Sorry for the long comment but it was just to give my firsthand account of where those small beginings can take you.

    • XENA

      September 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      @Mz Socially Awkward Tanx for your advise u made me appreciate ma job that I have look down on and after watching this nigeria movies (pretty liars,beautiful liars,unbeatable liars)I had to sit down think about my life and be more hardworking.


      September 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      LOOOOOOL!!!! the part about how all your Suki’s friends baffled u to go to the University of St.Andrews totally SLAYED me. Just graduated from there and loool we do have a reputation for Royalty/Poshness mostly cos of Prince William and Kate Middleton who went there. had a good time but didn’t meet any princes like kate unfortunately…..Mostly because I spent half my time in London with my stubborn and useless commoner of an ex >: |

    • Anne

      September 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Very true. During my post grad days I worked at Tkmaxx in Union square. I started my savings with that job. It’s always good to start small, makes u appreciate things more when u start to make it.

  11. Gifthin

    September 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    First time ever commenting on this platform..Lol. I’d like to say that Atoke was so spot on with this piece. We are quick in dissing people’s professions in Naija. And the same goes for people who hate on people for traveling out of Naija., but I digress. I am an advocate of one finding a respectable job and doing it so well that at the end of the day, when people try to discredit your job, you are able to look inward, and are proud of yourself. Again, it isn’t how far, but how well. Hope you all are honing your craft?

  12. Berry Dakara

    September 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    If you’re earning an honest living, why should anyone look down on you? I’d rather have stuck with my pizza delivery job than follow acquaintances that dabbled in 419.

  13. ij

    September 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    i was shocked when i heard the call out fee for a plumber in the UK before even finding out what is wrong with my sink, so somehow my friend talked me into enrolling for one wknd plumbing course in case of next time , i thought excellent idea, i was there oh taking copious notes, really paying attention .
    and was i able to fix my sink the next time it went bad? of course not , all road led to my local newspaper again.
    Much respect to everyone that’s earning or trying to earn a living , its not easy .

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      September 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Hahahahahahah!!! That’s classic. 🙂

    • Ibukun

      September 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Bles you IJ

    • Iphie

      September 4, 2014 at 9:39 am

      lol. . .You people in BN sha. . .you all have a way with words!

  14. Marian

    September 1, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Most times, we love to look down on people. its like we humans always like to find what makes us better than the next person. one of those has to do with jobs. whatever it is that a person finds to do, he/she should do it honorably. some people just like to assume sha.

  15. Aragon

    September 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    It’s all part of the ‘Your Excellency’, ‘Your Honourable’, etc rubbish Nigerian thugs and public coffer looters are called.
    Nigerians and people of African origing in general tend to swim in a culture of titles and accollades. Have you seen the numbers they move in? People don’t really care much about decency anymore.
    Look no further than the huge SUVs decked out with the most shiny chrome wheels and the huge ugly gold chains to understand where the mentality comes from and why we look down on toilet washers.

    • TA

      September 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      @ Aragon,I liked your post 10 times: -). Thank you!
      I have never understood Nigerians and our love for titles and accolades. I keep asking my Muslim friends,how come only Nigerians use the title’ Alhaji as an appendage to their names? How come Muslims in other parts especially in the Arab/Middle East regions do not use Alhaji as much as we do? That’s how you will hear someone introduced as Alhaji,Engr,Dr ABC…I just can’t with Naija people.

    • Aragon

      September 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      It’s an epidemic.

  16. NNENNE

    September 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    We need to respect each other period. We may not be equals but each of us has an important role to play in society. Example, the doctor is as important as the cleaner in the hospital because if the cleaner does not clean the hospital,the doctor cannot practice. What matters is that whatever we choose to do, we do it honestly well.
    I literally do not clean toilets but I repeat those who do!

  17. Bamms

    September 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Right Atoke, people should start changing their mindset & broaden their knowledge, most especially nigerians. Working abroad may not come with ease like working home would, but at least the pay justifices things & better than home. Not even with the situation of the economy currently, so why won’t one leave their country?

  18. Nosey

    September 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I have noticed the trend too amongst Nigerians to think everyone abroad is a toilet washer, but i guess it makes them feel better about their pitiful existence and very hard life in Nigeria. But in saying that, if many of them had the opportunity to go abroad they will jump at the chance to better themselves and also do menial jobs while trying to educate themselves. A lot of people my generation have fantastic jobs in banks, telecoms etc.. bought our own houses, send our kids private education etc.. these are things some people in Nigeria can only dream of so its easy for them to dismiss those abroad with such sentiments since they themselves are unable to attain such. Most of us worked in Mcdonalds, kfc etc to make ends meet, but now are grateful for the experience

    • benny

      September 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      In trying to make ur point on humility, u seem to lack it

    • Nosey

      September 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Sorry, i didnt mean to come across like that, I just get pissed off when people say such rubbish. It smacks off ignorance and jealousy a lot of the times and i tend to hear it from so many quarters in Nigeria.

    • Olo Oko Nla

      September 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      dont mind dem. Since all my years in the uk. Not once have i done menial jobs. i v been doing professional jobs all the while and yes i know some who do menial jobs here in the uk but i never look down on them. its no biggie here. Alot of Nigerians I know have decent professional jobs earning 50k – 100k. U dont believe it? Change the calibre of people you hang with. Abeg i nor fit argue jare.

    • Misskay

      September 2, 2014 at 7:40 am

      They forget that these are experiences the indigenes of developed countries go through. Their 16 year olds are sent out to understand the value of money no Matter how privileged their birth are. This teaching is what’s missing in our culture. We worship money, without pausing to ask the source of said funds….. I’m guilty weare all guilty of these.

  19. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    September 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    We should take care not to be haughty in our humility…..

    • benny

      September 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Best comment. Thank you

    • Ibukun

      September 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      hmmmm, “we should take care not to be haughty in our humility” deep. I was just wondering is it’s human nature to overdo things, to prop good to the point where it starts to look bad all over again.

  20. Just me

    September 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for this piece. I came into the UK a few years ago as a student and Yes I washed toilets to pay my school fees. A job I did diligently knowing fully well that it was not permanent and today, I proudly work as a manager in one of the London’s city Investment banks. My input to this piece – Whatever you find your hands doing, DO IT WELL! A diligent man will stand before KINGS not mere men…Oh I forgot to add, Plumbers, mechanices earn a fortune here..May God deal with the mindset of Nigerians! AMEN!

    • nene

      September 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      would you wash toilet in nigeria? just saying

    • Carliforniabawlar

      September 2, 2014 at 3:06 am

      Would washing toilet in Naija pay for his school fees??? (In Naija or elsewhere?)

  21. abi

    September 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    true talk Atoke,infact am a victim myself as i work in a warehouse for a minimum wage but am doin my certificate in HR which will def take me to a beta place and my MBA starts in jan but trust me wen i tell my friends wat i do dey dont bliv me cos i live in a condo downtown and seem to look like i live bigger and happier dan dem,even without a boyfy.

  22. abi

    September 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    forgot to mention dat even at my workplace everi1 in d office always needs my attention to figure out sum tin and dry always say u deserve a beta place.

  23. ducii

    September 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I think the end justifies the means, why some people might frown at doing menial jobs, is because of the ambitions they have. People have different ambitions in life. If your ambition in life is to be washing toilets, then I don’t think you should be paying attention to what people are saying. Mike Adenuga used to be a cab driver in the US, when he was studying, but knew he wanted to become a business mogul, so he left cab driving to do what he had passion for.So I think the question is what is your passion?, and what do you want to achieve in life?.
    that is my two cents.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      September 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      I definitely agree that the end justifies the means but I think one key point to be made is that while everyone’s heading towards their respective ends, there are some stops along the road. During the days that Mike drove that cab, he knew what he wanted to become but also realized that to make an honest living and earn some cash in the meantime, particularly while he was a student, he’ll have to get a job. Preferably one which didn’t cause the IRS/FBI to place him on their Most-Wanted list of criminals.

      Our society is terrible for preferring to applaud fraudsters whilst mocking hardworking blue collar workers and I think maybe Atoke’s article reveals two separate points for discussion – the first being why Nigerians in Nigeria tar every Nigerian living in the west with the same brush; and why we mock blue collar jobs (have to admit that I may have confused both points myself… as well as overlooking the pertinent “mata” of her missing laptop. Toksy, keep us updated oh, warra heck??).

      You should have a passion for your overall ambition but I must say that a fair number of people in our generation seem to have no work ethic AND YET they frown on those carrying out the so-called menial jobs. We’re very ambitious about “hammering” but you have to start from a particular rung on the ladder. And there’s nothing wrong with avoiding the bottom rungs as much as you can (“toilet washer”, et al) but when you’re trying to make a career break in a new country, sometimes you need to start thinking of ways to get your foot in the door.

      When I speak to students and they say they’re looking for a “professional job”, I always ask them what sort of applications they’ve been making. 9.9 times out of 10 times, they ignore certain job listings within their field because they believe it’s too lowly. Okay but you have no UK experience so what is that additional edge apart from your UK degree certificate, that’s going to convince a prospective employer that you’re right for that sort of skilled position? With oyibos, it’s always about practical experience and I’ve seen plenty of occasions where practical experience in the most unlikely places (if you study the job descriptions of certain vacancies properly, you’ll be amazed at the simplicity of what’s being sought) has landed people jobs with serious saliva-inducing salaries. If I keep typing away, this will become a post in itself but again, I repeat that small beginnings can take you very far.

    • Ibukun

      September 1, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Yes MSA! yes! I am living proof, taking the lowest job in my career line abroad without pay, after getting a post grad degree, just to have that experience, people asked me if it was by force to work abroad, I got questioned so much that i started to wonder if it was worth it. Looking back now, I think it is way up high on my list of smartest things I have ever done. I honestly do not believe that anything involving knowledge/skill acquisition should be “beneath” anyone. but Alas! pride and the obsession with rising fast remains a problem.

  24. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    September 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    We should take care not to be haughty in our humility. It is highly beneficial that we do not consider any good legit job, too lowly for us to do to improve our chances in life. Such precious and hard worn attitude should not be shamed by looking down on people who do not know any better. Do not be fooled. We each have our flaws and I’ll bet that if the questions were turned, there would something we do that would make others come out looking pristine and us the rank, ugly one.. So quietly celebrate and eat the fruit of your industry and drop comments on how much of a better person it has made you. Lets check the name calling and bragging rights at the door. It does not make us any better or less of who we are.

  25. Yeokurin

    September 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    did you get your things? 🙂

  26. Evensef

    September 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Come to think of it, Toilet in the Uk is not the same latrine in Nigeria!

  27. CallMe Nneka

    September 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    As long what you do is legit, be proud of it. Do it diligently but have a passion for something in life.

  28. Temi

    September 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    My real problem is the children they go on to have. Sure theres nothing wrong with being a cleaner or anything, but theres something wrong with it when you’re raising like 4 kids and your’e struggling to find a way to remain in that country. I cant tell you how irritated i get when theres a news story about gang related crime in England and I see a Nigerian name. I always think “soooo, this is the better life their parents came to find abi?”. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying that there aren’t successful Nigerians living in England, but for every successful one, there are about 5 more who are living with stolen identities, expired visas etc, thereby crippling their ability to be greater. My mum is British Nigerian (she grew up in England but moved to Nigeria after marriage) and one of her half sisters who ran abroad for greener pastures is living in like Scotland or something using my mums identity. Then she has another cousin who by force had to go to England, she tried to play the system, got caught and got sent to jail, where she ended up giving birth. I’ve heard sooo many stories like this and I think the issue many people have is, why go through all of this only to end up washing toilets??

    I don’t think its wrong if you’re putting yourself through school – my dad worked in McDonalds and as a security guard to pay for his fees in America, but once he graduated as an accountant, straight to Nigeria! And personally I think thats the way to go. My mum always says “take what you need from them and be on your way”. In other words, she meant that my brother and I should finish our education in England (taking) and then move back to Nigeria afterwards (on our way) lol. To the comment above that said many Nigerians in England now send their children to private schools and stuff, i’m not saying that that’s not true, but I did go to private school in England from the age of 14, and of the NIgerians that were in those schools, none of them lived in England. They were all Nigerians who lived in Nigeria but went to boarding school in England.

    But like I said, i’m sure there are NIgerians in England doing well for themselves. In fact, I know there are because i’ve met them. But I think you’re romanticising the situation a bit Atoke. I personally feel like there are a great deal of Nigerians abroad, working as cleaners etc, who have no business being there whatsoever. My preferred root is apply for visa, go to school, get job, earn the right to stay, possibly get passport, be able to support yourself, settle down permanently. If you don’t fall into that category then je je just stay in Nigeria like that where immigration wont be chasing you up and down.

    • Bee

      September 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Thats the point @ Temi, you just said what Atoke didn’t. majority of people washing toilet in England are there illegally.

    • Marilyn

      September 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      If it were that easy to establish oneself and make a living in Nigeria, they would never had left in the first place. You are talking of your dad, who went abroad for an education. These “other” people are economic migrants who go out there to earn a decent living for themselves and their family. What should they come back to Nigeria for/to? Even those with degrees and connections have a very hard time getting jobs or establishing any kind of viable business. All one can do is try to give a decent upbringing to their kids. One really has no complete control on what the kids become.

    • yOMI bLACK

      September 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      make God soda ur mouth

    • nene

      September 1, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      gbam. most of these people wouldn’t even want to start at the bottom in nigeria. but when they travel abroad, they begin to humble themselves.

    • Olori Tari

      September 1, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Thank you! You just finished this article. Sincerely, I enjoyed reading Atoke’s banter because I’m the no1 person who believes no honest job is a downgrade. You don’t understand how much I admire the man that drove me around when I was in Nig for holiday… his charisma and enthusiasm is not from here…I WANT THAT PART OF HIM and he is the best gist partner everrrrrrr. It’s sad that people now praise these so called “Yahoo yahoo boys” and have the guts to tell you “Ah he is a yahoo boy oo, he is balling and he will treat you right”.

      Lol excuse me ? He is balling with stolen money ? And i look hungry to you ? It’s very disgusting and I don’t even know when it became normal. I never ever fight or cut people off because I just know how to tolerate people. But I cut people off if I realise they are even a little bit close to these yahoo boys or if that ‘hustle’ looks one kain, it’s like please don’t rub your dirtinesss on me because sincerely, there is no excuse for being a fraudster. NONE at all! Why can’t they just earn an honest living ? What is so bad in being a security ?

      Same way, illegal immigrants irk me so bad… it’s like why live your life in guilt ? Just move back to your country and hustle hard. I know people like to say if Nigeria was good, would they be here… Errr excuse me, people are making it in Nigeria/Africa every single day and YES, YOU CAN TOO. If millions are doing it and have done it, there’s no reason you can’t. But someone said to me a while ago ” you are reasoning like this because you love Nigeria and you can’t wait to settle down there, so you cannot understand” – maybe that’s true… But I wish, people can learn and strive to do things the right and honest way!

    • lolly

      September 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      I Please do not be misinformed. I have lived in the UK for about 14years now and a lot of the nigerians that i have met in my not so long time have fantastic jobs. No doubt there are toilet cleaners but there are many more nigerians doing fantastic, with so many consulting on projects and earning up to £500 daily…biko peeps need to understand that some

  29. ducii

    September 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I agree with you Temi 100%,

  30. Layla

    September 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Well we are all from different places,I lived in the uk for 5 years and when I got tired of the minimum wage I came back to nigeria swallowed my pride and looked for a job,with my extra qualifications I did not get a job after a year and a half and it was one of d worst experiences of my life. apparently nigeria was no longer what I thought,my family house was not so welcome to me anymore and I seemed like extra luggage to everyone.i now live in canada where I have been for over two years.i am happy to earn the minimum wage and pay my bills.Nigeria was not the happy return,my living conditions were not better and most people pretended to be doing well but were really nothing with empty promises.i would say cleaning toilets and doing whatever is much better than a life of isn’t the same for everyone. ***chilling in my patio sipping tea on a Monday morning***, in the evening see u at

  31. T.Girl

    September 1, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    ok, let me come in a bit, i am currently working as an office assistant(cleaning and running errands) while running a degree program, this is simply cus my parents cant afford to send me to the university but you know what, the way i dress? behave? humble myself and talk just stands me out most of the time, people always see me as a reliable person and i am very proud to be me….. BE HAPPY WIT WHO U AR ND WAT U DO

  32. Olo Oko Nla

    September 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Yet hungry relatives and friends in nigeria will be begging the so called toilet washers for money regularly muhehehe una no dey shame? from the toilet washing job abi? no be so LOL

  33. Bliss

    September 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I believe in doing what you gotta do, as long as u don’t get comfortable. I worked in the library and as a caregiver while going through lawschool./ business school. My parents paid my tuition but I had to work for my living expenses. I took care of some really nice elderly people and not so nice an racist ones. But in all I learned to be tolerant. One was even very impressed that I was humble enough to work as a caregiver while in lawschool. He requested for my resume to give to his son who was Vice President in charge of tax for Exxon Mobil North America. He arranged a meeting between me and his son and his son has promised to hook me up immediately something comes up. I don’t work for him anymore but I stay in touch and visit him often. God has a plan for everyone. You are where u are for a reason. God works in ways we don’t understand. You will meet ur destiny helper where u least expect. If you clean poop, do it diligently with faith that God will use the situation for ur good. All things work for Good for they that love God. God bless ur hustle.

  34. Cutedutchess

    September 1, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Even in Nija people are washing toilet to survive.. I Remember when i had to help a friend clean his house and i was paid handsomely for that.. Infact it became a source of generating money while waiting for Nysc.. I felt great cos i didnt need to ask for money from anyone.. Cos i was tired of the plenty questions i had to answer to get a dime cos my folks felt you are out of school and so dont need money for anything… The washing toilet job was a relief and i did it with enthusiasm.. It kinda made me feel independent.. And yes i was able to give my sibling stipends being the first…i felt acconplished…. Na toilet i wash oo

  35. Bamms

    September 1, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    It really irks me to even see anyone condemn this topic, because most of those people getting down to do these petty JOBS do them to earn a living. Being in a comfortable zone doesn’t mean you can look down on others struggling, & also being there illegally isn’t something they’re ecstatic about, petty jobs are what these people have to put up without confidential documents.

  36. nene

    September 1, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    eye catching headline!

  37. Cici

    September 1, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Stupid title/headline.

  38. Onye

    September 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Some Nigerians are stupid. They go abroad to flip burgers or wash toilets. As my cousin said, what are you still doing here? Is it by force you have to be in UK? Use your qualifications and find a nice job in Nigeria abeg!

  39. osan

    September 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    People have to do what they have to do to get by. Bills are a constant. Water, council tax, electricity, gas, land line rental, broadband, mobile phone contract, sky, tv license, then there’s house rent|mortgage, childcare if you have a ‘pre-schooler’ & after school club fees if you have children of school age who need to be some where safe, after school whilst you are at work. And God help you if you are saving for a deposit for a house in London, with many low crime areas starting at £450K. Thumbs up to all hard working people out there! The Lord bless us all!

  40. Tincan

    September 1, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Hmmmmmn, I quite enjoy washing toilets. I have also been told that I wash toilets really well.

    • Alice

      September 2, 2014 at 11:07 am

      i love u…God bless ure hustle

  41. jay stan

    September 2, 2014 at 1:35 am

    jobs dey plenty wey you fit get and wey go pay you good money.
    just check this ebook:

  42. ThatAbiribaBae

    September 3, 2014 at 12:00 am

    One of the interesting things is how these people that low down on us “toilet washer” are still squatting at their parents’, feeding off them and still claiming I can’t do that menial job that might take them out of the their current misery. Don’t get me wrong o, I applaud our parents for understanding the job situation in Nigeria and still catering for their grown up “jobless children”
    During my MSc, I did loads (ok maybe 2 actually) of “toilet washing” e.g McDonalds. Personally I was comfortable enough and didnt need to work but I didn’t want to be bored as I only went to school twice a week or so. The extra cash was handy as I honestly and genuinely just love seeing my account as fat as possible :-).
    Working at Mcdonlads made me learn and understand humility and patience, which are core attributes to have as a human being. Working with my colleagues with no mighty certificates/degrees made me understand the truest meaning of independence (no be the I’m off to Uni, not staying with mum and dad anymore but still collecting monthly “allowee” kinda independence we claim to have in Naija).
    Fast forward to 2 yrs later, working in a “white collar job” facility and prepping for a promotional interview, my awesome boss decided to help me with a mock interview. On trying but striggling to demonstrate one of the listed essential criteria, he said “my dear, look beyond this present job, think of your work at McDonalds, @ all the volunteering positions you’ve had to do and pick an example” and alas, McDonalds came in handy.
    Always told my friends that all I need to climb a mighty staircase is just to see the first step…
    Despise not the days of little beginning, you’re placed there for a reason.
    Food for thought:
    When you’re at your lowest low, search within and dig out your deepest deep….

    Thanks Atoke…

  43. Ayoola

    September 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Na true talk o.If I have money to sponsor a sensible mechanic in naija to come to the states,na money for me be that cos they make a hell of money compared to a so called manager in an office.Sames goes to electrician,carpenter, etc.Abeg people just need to enlighten themselves in naija.i wonder what naija would be like if university student or high school student could get to work in mr Biggs and learn from there the ethics and morals of hardwork,maybe naija will be the London or US people run to.

  44. babes

    September 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Una dey mind Nigerians, the thing about people abroad is there is dignity of labour,so you are wasting your time looking down on people, some of my classmates then started working at Macdonalds, Tim hortons and co at a tender age,and they rose up the ladder to become mangers,all this lil lil experience comes to play when they are looking for that white collar job. And like i always say,whatever you hands find to do,do it well. If you do a cleaning job shabbily, its the same way you would handle your office job when you eventually land one. btw i live abroad o and don’t wash toilets,lols

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