I started my journey with computers in 90` when every Polish kid wanted to have their own PC. My Polish friends and I, girls and boys, dreamed about a PC. I can say that Poles are fascinated computers and IT. Buying a computer for me was a priority for my parents. I had my own PC in `98. At this time everybody bought a PC called „skladak” that was a computer composed of a few parts bought separately – I decided which RAM I need, which graphic card like GeForce, and which main board, as well as all further parts. My friends and I opened our computers and checked what was inside and what we should do If it didn’t work. I needed to learn how it was made because I knew that computer services were then very expensive.
This took a lot of time but we learned how to repair any damage – change any parts that weren’t working or upgrade to play games. This was the time I discovered how I could make a lot of things using computers. My friend’s father worked as director in a company in Katowice and he got the first version of Photoshop 6.0 from his company. I remember when I saw what great things we could make using this program. I decided to take marketing and management courses for three years because the school was private, and had a lot to offer: English and German lessons with native speakers, and access to modern computers and programs.
I was getting to know a lot of programs and learning the secrets of operating systems. Magazines in Poland like PC World Computer and Chip achieved record sales. Every teenager read them. I was happy when I compared Geforce4 with Radeon, and when I applied a thermal compound to a CPU. This wasn’t something unusual – because all Poles were used to the need to know how to repair things. We still earn less money to perform specialty tasks. I agree with the opinion that specialization in jobs is great – but I will explain an example:
Polish university graduates earn 600 euros per month. Car repair (replacement of some parts and service) costs 200 EUR. Food for a family of four costs 300 EUR. Rent and charges in an apartment in a block are approximately 250 EUR. Fuel for a family commuting is about 150 EUR. New clothes for 2 children for the winter season will cost EUR 200. A private visit to the doctor 40 EUR. Its easy to count that after paying fees typical Poles need to work on the weekend to earn for clothes for the winter for their children, but the truth is there is one very meaningful element of our life in Poland – Grandparents.
Grandparents in Poland are the best „institution” without which I can’t image life (the people who don’t have them – needed to immigrate). I will explain it. In my city: kindergarten is open 7:00 to 15:30. I work 8:00 to 16:00, and drive 1 hour to work. Its easy to count that I can’t collect my children from Kindergarten without help from my parents. If I want pay more for Kindergarten for extended hours, its not possible because there are fewer parents who want to pay, because everyone has a grandparent and less money that me. I work outside my city and earn more money than people from my little city (10.000 residents). I need to drive every day to a larger city (50.000 residents ) to earn 100 EUR more, because there are no jobs in small cities. In small cities in Poland people with university degrees earn 350 EUR per month.
I remember when My mother told me in `90 – learn more – you will have better life, and you will be able to travel, have comfortable life, and buy what you want. So I did. I learned a lot, and studied at 4 universities. I started looking for a job during the worst year in Poland – 2002. The years 2001-2003 were years of failing companies in Poland. There weren’t jobs for experienced workers, but there were even less for beginners. I started working for free in well known IT companies. I had to wake up at 5:00 to go by 3 buses from my villige to a big city but I was very determinate to work. I thought that they would hire me after seeing how well I work. They did. My first salary in 2003 was : 190 EUR, but net monthly earnings I received were 130 EUR. Monthly bus tickets cost 25 EUR. I needed to save for 6 months to buy one computer program and live with my parents, of course with them paying for everything. I dreamed at this time of independence, but there was no chance. I continued to work because I realized that it was the only way to get some experience. I got the experience, but there still weren’t jobs for beginners like me. People with experience were losing jobs and companies still failed. Something begin change in 2005…..