Family, work, and health are the most important values for Polish people, according to a study conducted by the Homo Homini Institute. Polish dreams are realistic and their expectations are adapted to the conditions in which they live. The average Pole believes that PLN 2,000-3,000 per month is enough money to live a decent life. The average Pole has confidence in the army and the police, and believes what he hears on the radio and what he reads on the internet. However, he does not trust the government, the courts and television. “This is a reflection of the current state of the country and its institutions. The worse we feel, the less trust we have in institutions, in particular national ones,” says Marcin Duma, head of Homo Homini. The average Polish person does not rely on the authorities, however, he believes that they should be blamed for the inability to accomplish one’s goals. Opinions expressed by those polled are mainly tinged with frustration mainly concerning Polish politicians, especially those in power, but people also talked about problems like bringing up children when money is tight, emigration, a lack of culture as well the law. “I am a single mother of three. Their father couldn’t cope so he went abroad and never came back. Perfect! Just leave all your problems behind and run. I struggle with poverty and I barely manage to make ends meet. I once asked for benefit and I got it. PLN 200. I have never felt so humiliated in my whole life,’’ says an anonymous mother. “Life in Poland is most difficult for those who are honest, those who have no ‘connections’ and do not pretend to be Catholic”, writes another person.
For the majority of people taking part in the study the indicators of success in life are: starting a family (58%) and having a good job (56%). “It is interesting that having a family is seen as being successful in life. On the other hand, the older you become, the more difficult it is to get married and have a family. Having a family is a test of human values. Unhappy relationships, lack of loyalty and betrayal are perceived as defeat and failure,” according to sociologist Professor Henryk Domanski. In his opinion people see a good job as inseparably bound to social status, which gives evidence of a good education, professional prestige and a decent salary. “Family and work are the most important values in the lives of Polish people and this is reflected in the study,” says Domanski. In light of these results, it is not surprising that we are more afraid of losing our job than being ill or having a low pension. This hierarchy of values can also be seen in the response to the question “Which social group in Poland is in the most difficult situation?” Those polled believe that it is young people who have just graduated. “The results express social concern for young people. They have invested their time and money in studying, improving their skills and obtain a diploma, but sometimes no effect can be seen and not job offers materialise,” says Marcin Duma. Another polled person wrote, “I am embarrassed about the litter you find in forests and along roads, septic tanks being emptied into groundwater, the destruction of our environment and the burning of garage; the unreliability, dishonesty of Polish people, how we treat our country as something that can be robbed limitlessly as well as lack of responsibility for our actions. It’s embarrassing that people avoid paying taxes, but demand everything, look for excuses for our own failures, but pay no attention to other people”. Krystyna Janda, the famous Polish actress adds, “Polish people are conservative, intolerant, under-educated, backward, lazy, frustrated and provincial”.