I’ve met my fair share of urzędniks in Poland. Specifically, I will be discussing mainly the ones from Urząd Wojewódzki today, but, in general, these rules apply pretty much everywhere. However, I have found that often in Urząd Miasta they tend to be less mean, even nice sometimes! That’s, honestly, the best you can hope for.
Disclaimer: Of course I’ve met some nice civil servants, so this does not apply to everyone, it’s just meant to be funny.
I had a not-so-terrible visit in Urząd Wojewódzki recently… one of my least favorite places on the planet. I think I have trauma when it comes to that place, honestly. The whole on the way there I was nervous. Stressed. When I finally found a parking spot, I was so busy trying to get there on time that I forgot where I parked. That is what this place does to me. Of course, it was unnecessary as when I got to the stanowisko where I had an appointment, no one arrived for the next 10 minutes.
If you’re never been to Urząd Wojewódzki (otherwise known as bitch face central) if it’s your *first time*, please take a moment to go over the following advice. You will need it.
What you need to understand:
They will not be nice.
Hopefully, they won’t be mean. They will definitely say things which you’ll think are mean. To them, that is just normal.
They won’t speak English to you unless it is uncomfortably awkward.
It’s better to take someone with you who speaks Polish if you don’t. Even if you do, I’d recommend it.
You will feel small.
Infinitesimal. Prepare yourself for that.
What you should never do:
Do not create rapport.
If you’re from a friendlier society, try to contain the urge to create a rapport with the urzędnik. They likely won’t take kindly to it.
Do not laugh.
We often feel the need to laugh when we are interacting with people. A little giggle to show we’re nice. Just don’t.
Do not speak unless spoken to.
Seriously. You’ll regret it.
Don’t offer up information they haven’t asked about.
Just wait patiently until they ask. Otherwise, you will invoke looks of hatred.
If you think a document could be useful, make a copy and take it with you.
They always need both. Having to find the copy room (usually in the basement) and ask another person to help you in Polish will just push you over the edge.
They will dictate things to you to write and it will be the most stressful moment of your life.
Today, my urzędnik told me “Przecież ‘Wojewódzki’ nie ma żadnego “s”, and I literally said “przepraszam”. I thought she might cancel my application at that very moment 😳
Lastly, if you can somehow make yourself exist a little less, do it.
No further explanation necessary 🙂
That’s it! If you can manage all that, you’ll be fine! Luz. Nie martw się. Będzie dobrze. Breeeeeathe. Trzymam kciuki dla Was!
This post is a continuation of another on this topic, A guide on how to survive Polish institutions. Each time I go, I’m just *inspired* apparently.