#05 Find a great job

Losing a job for some seems like the end of the world but for others like a hard lesson that can strengthen and enrich them. The former will dwell on the failure while the latter will treat it as motivation to make changes in their lives. If Katarzyna Stefaniak-Podeszwa had not lost her job, she would not run her company today. The difficult experience motivated her to take action.

The photo shows Monika Wołoszczak, Program Specialist of the District Employment Office in Żory.

Monika Wołoszczak, Program Specialist of the District Employment Office in Żory

Sometimes a good business plan and enthusiasm are not enough to achieve a goal. Without a solid foundation, even the best plans may not work. But when you have a vision, capital and solid training support, your chances for success are so much higher. As part of the project “Activation of the unemployed aged 30+ registered in the District Employment Office in Żory (IV)” we offer many support opportunities. Żory is a city with great socio-occupational potential and with a majority of people of working age. However, not everyone is able to navigate the job market smoothly. Some lack experience, others lack knowledge or motivation to make changes. Then there are those who have a promising business idea but lack the funds to get started. For each of these groups, we have prepared a set of proposals that have one thing in common: they are intended to help them straighten their career path. In the project we focused on activation of the unemployed, offering subsidized employment or subsidies for starting business. An undoubted advantage is the transparency of rules and bureaucracy reduced to a minimum as it is red tape that often prevents people from applying for support. So far, over 120 people have benefited from internships and intervention works. 54 companies from industries such as medicine, physiotherapy, construction or education were founded. It will never cease to amaze us how much potential there is in unemployed people who want to run their own business. Their countless ideas and creativity can be inspiring. Despite the difficulties they face, they beam with optimism.

A lot of confusion was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanitation and lockdown restrictions have made it more difficult to reach the unemployed. Employers have stopped hiring, not knowing what the future holds. The market has also become difficult for start-ups. However, we managed to survive this most difficult period. We have not stopped our operations, still activating the unemployed and providing subsidies for starting businesses.

The photograph shows Katarzyna Stefaniak-Podeszwa, owner of the FitBalans company from Żory. A woman in a white coat is holding multicoloured peppers. Behind her is a wall where identical peppers are painted.

Katarzyna Stefaniak-Podeszwa, owner of Fitbalans company from Żory

“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work”, Steve Jobs used to say. I took it as my motto. That's why when I received my graduate degree and my nutritionist degree, I didn't see myself working in any other industry. I first got hired at a nursery and then in 2016 at a private dietician office. The cooperation was excellent. We made a good team, I had my patients and I did what I liked. Unfortunately, the pandemic turned my professional life upside down. In March 2020, along with the entire staff, I received notice of termination. I won't hide the fact that at first I found it hard to accept. It was a real blow that seriously shook me. But I recognized that we can come out of every failure, every bottom and crisis richer, wiser. I registered at the employment office and started thinking about my own company, which I had already tentatively planned. In September I received information about a project run by the office which offered, among other things, grants for starting one's own business. That was the moment I believed that the dream of having my own practice could come true.

I used the grant in the amount of PLN 18,000 to purchase the necessary equipment such as a body composition analyzer. I opened the practice in early October 2020. Initially, my patients were so-called “old friends” from my previous job. Later, through referrals, the group grew more and more, and my business developed. Today, I am seriously considering hiring employees.

Opening your own business is a big financial burden so every little bit helps. Whenever a grant opportunity arises, take advantage of it. Admittedly, writing an application is not an easy task, but if the goal is your own business in an industry that you are passionate about, it is really worth the effort. Especially that the employees of the office are of great help. I did it, and my only regret is that I got into it so late!

Say it the Silesian way

maszkety – sweets

chuderlok –someone skinny

korbić – to exercise the body in order to sculpt the muscles



Activation of the unemployed aged 30+ registered in the District Employment Office in Żory (IV)

Beneficiary: City of Żory / District Employment Office in Żory
Project amount: approx. 4.3 million PLN
ROP SV 2014-2020 subsidy: approx. 3.7 million PLN
Implementation period: I 2019 – XII 2022