Dream, American Reality
From Nowy Dziennik
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
By Bozena Chojnacka
It is the college students from Poland who constitute the vast
majority of clientele at employment agencies in Greenpoint this
summer. Unfortunately, not all of them are able to find jobs. Why?
Because even if some positions are available, the students are rather
reluctant to mop floors or eviscerate chickens.
Its Monday afternoon at Polservice, Inc. "We had ten
students come in today. None of them was given a job. We cannot
promise or guarantee anything. We might be getting ten new job offers
in the next few minutes, but as of right now we dont have
any positions available for students," says Jack M. Obernikiewicz,
the owner of the agency. "After September 11th the
number of jobs went down by 50 percent. Last year we were able to
provide a job for every second person. This summer its good
if we find a place of employment for every fourth client."
Roman Krasniewski from another employment agency agrees that its
not easy to find employment nowadays, but he underscores that those
who are truly willing to work will surely find a job. He also says
that college students from Poland often come with a pretentious
attitude and unrealistic expectations. They often demand that employment
agents not only find them a good job, but also pick them up from
the airport and provide housing. Many employers are hesitant to
hire them because here hardly anybody considers a work authorization
issued in Poland to be a valid document. Also Polish students are
not accustomed to American reality. Oftentimes they are only interested
in an easy, well-paying job. Working on rooftops or in the kitchen
is not something they are prepared to do.
"Students coming over from Poland dont even want to
consider mopping floors, washing dishes or eviscerating chickens,"
says Marian Meller, an owner of Poland Employment Agency in Greenpoint.
"They also avoid jobs that require physical strength, like
lifting up heavy loads. Usually the students who come to the US
in the summer come from well-to-do families. Others can not even
afford to buy an airline ticket. Its only the children from
poor homes who dont complain or grimace. They are willing
to take up any kind of job," he adds recalling his own experience
of washing dishes in a restaurant for the first few years after
coming to the United States.
The owners of several employment agencies in Greenpoint agree,
however, that the job market is full of opportunities for experienced
carpenters, plumbers, electricians, truck drivers and waiters. Women
can easily find employment as housekeepers as long as they have
a drivers license. Unfortunately, women most of the time dont
know how to drive. Whats more, oftentimes they overvalue themselves
and fail to prove themselves on the job.
"Poles dont have the ambition to seek jobs that require
knowledge and skills. Like people from other countries, we should
be focusing on learning English and not just on making money,"
says Obernikiewicz. "We should also be more kind towards each
other. We should be helping each other in finding jobs in the places
of our employment. People from other countries do that. They help
each other out. But with us, Poles, there is still too much jealousy."
Translated from Polish by Joanna Sufin
Back to The Citizen page!