The financial crisis, or rather the inability of the promoters of the single currency, the Germans, the French and a few others, to ensure that the Greeks and Italians did their book keeping properly (surely it is right that they are paying for their negligence?), is about to engulf us all. Some put further blame for the crisis on the bankers, and it is true that they must bear responsibility not only for feathering their own nests too lavishly but for giving many of us financial advantages that we did not deserve through instruments that perhaps no one entirely understands. But, this week, I have nothing but praise for bankers. I’ll tell you why.
During my eleven years in Poland I have made a comfortable living from corporate training. Nothing wrong in that. Much that’s right. It is highly paid and a little work brings rich rewards which allowed me to give time to other things. I should say, that until I came to Poland I had had no contact with the corporate world, in fact, I doubt I’d even met anyone from a corporation below chief executive or country manager level. However, flexibility is the key to survival and if my performance skills could be of use in the corporate world and allow me to get a foothold in Poland, then, why not. That’s how John Cleese became rich, not through Monty Python.
What I have learnt is that the way most training is structured renders it, by and large, useless. Two days are allowed for an intensive presentation course. Money down the drain (a company I worked for charges 14.000 pln for a two day, two trainer course!). As a long time singing teacher in London’s best academies I know that people don’t learn from short sharp shocks. They need time to absorb and revisit. (Revisiting is something that few Poles ever do unless they are engaged in sports or the performing arts. This is a huge problem for the country.)
Eventually, the moral dilemma became too much and I began to view the people I worked with in a cynical light: good people but engaged in a fraud, perhaps without even knowing it. I didn’t think much of myself, either. Relationships broke down a few months ago and so did my income.
Never mind, I thought. I’ll go to the bank and take a loan.
“Can I see your resident’s permit?” asked the clerk. “Oh, I see it expired 18 months ago!” From which point began a saga.