Businessman TOday
The Polish post-communist era entrepreneur The Polish post-communist era entrepreneur
There is a theory that 99% of people born are slaves. It’s easier to obey orders than to think strategically and take responsibility for... The Polish post-communist era entrepreneur

There is a theory that 99% of people born are slaves. It’s easier to obey orders than to think strategically and take responsibility for the consequences. But regardless of this, we seek freedom, though we don’t fully under-stand where freedom comes from and what can take it away. We don’t know how to use our freedom.

This is especially true of Poles, with their elaborate history, who have their “freedom gene,” but civilizations all over the world regardless of having to fight for their freedom or not, consistently fight for more civil rights. Gaining various freedoms are assisted by technology – the internet for years now gives us free flow of information and allows us to communicate freely. We quit our jobs to start our own companies, or we work remotely, ensuring ourselves the right to choose where, when, and with who we will work, as well as for whom. We spend digital money which is independent of central banks and governments, has no boundaries, and we can access it from anywhere in the world. We produce and store our own electricity via solar and wind, gather drinking water, and become independent of the suppliers, allowing ourselves to go off the grid. We are starting to drive electric cars, which can be charged via our own renewable energy while extracting and refining our own oil is a bit out of our reach. We limit our usage of liquid fuels, slowly becoming independent of their manufacturers, and regain energy while braking due to hybrid engines. Governments often try to limit these freedoms. They would like to control as many aspects of our lives as possible and make us dependent on them. Especially socialist governments, similarly to corporations when pertaining to their employees, enslave the citizens and make them dependent on government assistance.

Leaving a corporation, I knowingly gave up several benefits, but I gained my freedom. I wanted to decide for myself what kind of car I should drive, if and where I will pay for health insurance, retirement funds, fitness, or have a greater influence over my taxes. The ave-rage corporate employee is paralyzed by the fact that they may lose these and many other benefits if they are terminated. Such management through fear works great also when it comes to social security and has a similar effect – freeloading and abuse. Instead of creating value, many families study the laws in order to extend their government assistance as long as possible. The benefits often don’t reach those who need them but instead to those who know how to circumnavigate the law, usually to their own detriment.

John Fijor, in his book titled “How I Became A Millionaire,” wrote, that in the United States the government must greatly help immigrants and thanks to this every sixth Polish immigrant is a millionaire. Many of the author’s acquaintances who left for Canada 30 years ago, or Australia, received free language courses, material assistance, and even housing assistance for the time needed to get on their feet. To this day they have not gotten back on their feet and remain on welfare assistance. The sense of freedom often also allows us to freely interpret facts, which we often get convinced of in business. An investor signs an agreement where they agree to become a notarial business partner and will provide the company with capital in the form of a loan. He enters this agreement and then immediately sues the company in court for full repayment of the said loan, while not admitting to the fact that he is a part owner. Another claims that he voluntarily came to the company and tries to sue the company as he finds out that the company got a provision for his admit-tance. It never came to his attention that for him to be able to call the company, it is the company who must pay their phone bill, domain, have a good web administrator, information technology specialists, PR people and marketing specialists who spend years and lots of money to place information on the web which would in turn help the investor make up their mind in regards to the company (it takes between 5 and 7 points of contact with a business before an investor buys in). Somebody educated must have picked up the phone when he called. Somebody who speaks to 95% of the potential clients for free, and maybe 5 out of 100 allows him to make his living. Subsequently, some-one must print and send the contract, log the physical and electronic documentation, etc. Someone must pay all these people, handle their taxes, fight the good fight with the bureaucracy, and take on many often-unforeseen costs upon themselves, not excluding delays and frauds committed by others. I sometimes wonder do such people cause trouble at the coffeeshop as well when they pay the cashier three times more for a latte than the total cost of the ingredients or do they give a tip to the waitress?

Is such behavior a result of the previous way of things, a mentality which was taught over the years of a sickening system, or a result of the world we currently live in? J. Fijor writes amongst other things, about the magnitude of the problems involving business partners of Polish descent. Ba-sed on the author’s experience it would conclude that you cannot depend on them, to be honest, thoughtful, business smart, or to have honest intentions. A few years ago, I met an Austrian entrepreneur who swore that he will never aga-in do business with a Pole. I would bet on it that Gerald Birgellner will likely give up on doing business on the shores of the Wisla after the situation involving two prisoners near Srebrna. Another entrepreneur I know has come to video recording all his business meetings, and when a scammer tries to claim, they didn’t agree to an obligation, he sends him a fragment of the video which shows them speaking of it. This year I performed major renovations in two pieces of real estate. The level of incompetence I encountered, the lies, searching for someone else to blame, all this is some-thing for a separate article. I try to support small business, and it makes me happy when someone wants to leave work and open their own business, but when I see that a man who is going to fix my dishwasher never shows up at the appointed time, or at times even on the agreed upon day, then its scary to support such an individual going out into the business world because soon he wont have anything left in his fridge.

One of the individuals commenting on my blog writes that “Polish businessmen in the world are often seen in a very negative light due to bad transaction experiences. Personally, I believe that this is nothing more than the Polish mentality, unfortunately. Thankfully this trend seems to be changing for the better as the younger generation is getting taught better business etiquette and honesty.” I would like to believe this, but simultaneously I must remind, that these same Poles, placed into a different system seem to be able to do just fine for themselves. Often it is the system that is the cause of scamming and sitting on welfare, lying and interpreting facts for our own benefit. Let’s learn to use our freedom the right way, and let’s not let ourselves lose it while we take responsibility for our own actions.


Tomasz Wiśniewski