“A closed mouth won’t get feds.”

“A closed mouth won’t get money.”

“If you don’t speak up, you won’t earn a lot of money.”

Slim, a homeless man around USC, notoriously popular with the students told me this proverb in exchange for three dollars. He told me that his parents said this to him when he was growing up and he firmly believes it. Slim is a very outspoken and animated man, though I am not sure how much influence the numerous beers that he drinks has on this. Regardless, I was a bit suspicious of how well he lives by this or how much luck he has had with this motto. This is because he is, well, homeless and therefore most likely does not have very much money, although he definitely does not have a closed mouth. However, after thinking about the times that I have observed him, his technique of asking for money requires some talking, and his success rate is the highest I have seen of any homeless man. Unlike other homeless man who just asks for change, slim has a friendship with many wealthy USC students, which he has acquired by simply showing his strong personality as they walk by. Without anything but his whits, Slim has managed to find a way to wiggle into the hearts of many with his talk alone. This then results in happily obliging students who spare their extra change.

So in the end, I guess Slim does live by his motto. His successful acquisition of money, or “feds” indeed comes from his big mouth. Consequently, this motto can be used for anyone, even in the work force. Speaking up and standing out can definitely help in one’s career, whether it is landing a job or getting promoted… or asking for money.