The Entertainer

Prioritizing Purpose over Pay Pays.

One huge dilemma in my line of work is knowing when to charge a fee and when to do for free. The major reason for this dilemma is because my purpose is enmeshed in my profession. Many times, I’ve been approached to host or dispense humour at an event and I have to decide if it’s just another job opportunity where the money is the major reward or a call of purpose which I may have to answer at the expense of my service charge. Some organizations or clients offer honorarium at their discretion while some believe “God bless you” is enough. 

As a purpose-driven person, not just a random entertainer trying to make ends meet or become famous, I always vet every opportunity that comes my way. In all sincerity, my account balance tends to influence me sometimes but with my current level of understanding, I know and do better. Let me share this story with you.

I got a call to host a charity concert last year October. The call came at a time that I needed an event to pay me so I could attend to some responsibilities, needless to say, that the charity part didn’t sink in at first. The caller took time to give me a detailed brief of the concert and I discovered this wasn’t the call I was waiting for. This is not a job. This is a call to service. My conscience already got into a fighting stance ready to beat me to a pulp but I didn’t even give it a chance as I already gave my word. “I’ll host the charity concert”. 

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A smile of “at all at all na him bad pass” played on my lips as they ended the call with appreciation and a promise to give me an honorarium.

In all modesty dear workboothers, the event was one of the best I had last year. It showcased my ability to create a conducive atmosphere for a mixed audience of all ages, religions and races. At the end of the event, I received an alert, Uncle honorarium landed with a thud in my account. The same amount I would have charged if I wanted to. My happiness and fulfilment knew no bounds. Purpose pays was all I could say.

After a few days, I started feeling an emptiness within. Then I was able to trace it. The guys who understudy me and see me as a mentor and role model often ask me how I secure some exclusive events steadily without having to beg or lobby. I often respond with the popular phrase “na God o”. Some of them have come to believe it’s the grace I carry but maybe, maybe not. Now it’s dawning on me that it might be one or two core values and response to the call of purpose regardless of the challenges that come with it.

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I decided to let them in, learn how to place a priority on purpose and make sacrifices. I let them know that money is better as a reward than motivation. Money is never the right motivation. So I called one of my “brothers-in-fun” as I call them, told him there is a gig with a big client and they are not paying us in Naira. He was so excited to be a part of it. Then I told him they are not paying us in cash at all. Then his excitement dropped but he still followed me as per good mentee. We turned the house upside down at the gig, our tag team was just off the hook.

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In summary dear readers, the door of access was opened to this young man and even though I have moved on to greater assignments, he always has an event or two to take care of for this client with “beta alert” to receive. He now understands the principles of delaying gratification, making sacrifices, seeing money as a reward and not a motivation. 

Whenever he calls me to say “boss, that our man don call me again o”, I smile with a sense of pride and fulfillment. I feel compensated for those days I was yet to understand how to discern purpose and players. I lost a lot to players but I’ve also learnt and won a lot with purpose. Purpose never loses though winning doesn’t always feel like winning. Safe to say my brothers-in-fun are learning their own lessons too. Dear workboothers, I need to pick the accessories for my suit. I’ve got a dinner to host. Catch y’all later. 

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