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  • Writer's pictureKatarzyna Hasnik

The Only Advice I will give to myself and my Mentees - Learning Lesson at 19-20 years old

This advice resonate with me all my professional life and as well personal. It is already 18 years after being 20! Do you want to know what is the advice? Here you have. :-)

That's the Only Advice I will give to Newcomers who lands to first role or work where something is not feeling right. Usually mostly because of 1 person. This advice I have learnt in Holland. :-) I t will be interesting to go back almost 20 years back in time!

The Advice is:

Never argue with someone who believe their own lies - Leave.

And that's what I did. :-) Do you know how I learnt this crucial Life Advice. Keep reading! The most healthy decision ever with a total self-esteem.

On my own in a foreign country without a visa working permit, without a real saving and without the native language, without the perspective of what to do after.

People create places. Not opposite. You like the place or even duties but the main persona is unable to deal with. Just leave. Wasting energy to fix unfixable person much older than yourself usually doesn't bring any sense. Save yourself, your time and energy and talent. Say bye bye B... or A... and Leave! I was 20 in Holland. Before Poland was in EU. If you reading first time, I am originally Polish. When I arrived I had no English even passing all my exams with the best grades including English and French in Tourism and Hotel Industry High School in Zakopane. No Dutch obviously. I landed to Utrecht by aircoach bus as flight tickets were too expensive. My parents supported me in my new adventure as I was not so clear what to study: Psychology, Geography, Design...so I decide go for a work-study-adventure to Holland. It was 2003, November straight after my birthday. No friends, none in Holland. But I had a good feeling. Good feeling of Student-Travel-Work Agency which advertised themselves in my school. Good feeling of my poorest ever English Phone Call Interview. I had a good feeling seeing photos and having small chat and BIO of the family. The intuition was right! I had the greatest experiences in my first work, actually student exchange program, living with a host nice family, Sigird and Remco, taking care of hilarious, loving and nicest kids, Nina, 2 years old and Stef, 2.5 years old and study English. Off course the family had own dynamic and few situation needed to be clarify up front but all together, it was one of my best year of work-study live abroad with super time with host family, kids. Amazing memories! Thank you. We stay in touch over years. My parents visited me, invited by host family with open arms. I made new mates and friends from all around the world. Some of them stay for much longer than the period of life in Holland. But the story of the biggest advice I have learnt there it was not just the independency, bravery, embracing new culture, and many other positive vibes and experiences.

The biggest lesson came after, when I decided after a whole year it is time for a change. The feeling from the moment of engagement with the online 'new' host family was not right even 'fluffy' things were told. Sigrid worried from the start. She knew just by looking, speaking and hearing with new Dutch woman with her unusually quiet male partner. They didn't have kids, they had 2 horses and few dogs and two au-pairs to help them out. They were vegetarian! Sounds great to me I had thought. Closer Amsterdam, nature and I am horse rider. Yuppy! One Finish, Mary girl just started and the old one, Polish, (do not remember the name) who stayed with them was for years, was leaving. I met the Polish girl. I would say in first second that insecure, with the lowest self-esteem ever au-pair I have met. This was the first real negative sign as her attitude was not right. I have not probably knew too much about the body language at that time but I could sense a bit of lies. But I still went for it. I met this new host family. Sigird said: call us as soon as you arrive and as soon as you feel it is not right. She dropped me to a new Dutch woman - Eileen or something like this. Sigird felt everything. I didn't listen her even I should. I was living, take care of like a family friend and she loved the way how I took care of Stef and Nina, educated them, met previous au-pairs, 3, from Poland, Ania, Czech, Lenka and Romania. I met all family, grandparents, parents of Sigird, Remco's sister and her family. I was part of their life. She really took care. Thank you! But yes, I didn't listen and as soon as I arrived to a 'new home' I knew I will be gone fast. New host family was nothing compare to 1st one. The woman was wean, rude, psychopathic, b.tch so that's how it end up. How you treat others, eventually someone will treat you back. She met this strong, young, youthful, confident and smart chick. Nothing compare to Polish insecure mousy. She met lion, falcon, wolf. The man was so weak, so in the control of evil woman. This was nightmare! Eileen, was a tall, skinny with no femininity, wrinkle woman. She got what she deserved, straight forward words straight to her face and my immediately request as per the contract to pay for my ticket to Poland. Otherwise would get worse. All together 3 weeks I spent there and I learnt to LEAVE FAST and To Listen and Follow Your Gut and Trust a Good People who wish you well, care of you and are grateful for your work or company. Mary, Finish left soon too. So that's the early life lesson which I learn and which serve me all my adult professional and personal life.

1/ Never argue with someone who believe their own lies - Leave.

2/ Listen and Follow Your Gut / Intuition.

3/ Trust Good People who prove you that they are good over a long period of time.

4/ Give your Talent, Skills, Energy and Time only to Good People, Companies with values. 5/ Leave as soon as you recognise that something is not right!


I am so grateful for all those early stage life learning lessons even from the evil people! Evil woman and men are the weakest woman and men I have ever met in my entire life, and it was just a great start of recognising how life truly can be. Those early stages of professional student exchange work life in the foreign country gave me a lot and stay with me all my life to serve my purpose, to quickly recognise the good and bad. This was just a beginning of Life Long Learning Lessons. Let those advices serve you regardless if you are student, au-pair, newcomer to new team, career shifter at 30-40-50-60. Let them serve you. :-)

My great exams to Psychology to University of Gdańsk before I decided instead study to take a break and think about life, and go to Holland helped me a lot to recognise the first psychopath boss. :D So if you notice one! Run! Run Forest Run!

They also thought be how to be a Good Mentor and Leader and how to deal with anything what is not up to professional standards of 9 law of discrimination or any sort of mistreating members of company, team. Thank you Life for early life lessons! Thank you my 1st host family for wonderful memories and for a two or three good lessons too but that's for another time. Miss You Holland! Nov 2003 - Dec 2004 Oudewater, Gouda, Utrecht, Den Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and more :-)



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