How I lost all my files and paid 1000 zlotys for it…

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So, it all started a few months ago, when my computer started getting really sluggish. Now, the word sluggish is a fun word, because it comes from the word slug, which means thig ugly snail-like creature without a shell. In Polish: ślimak bez muszli, or – believe it or not – pomrów. Yes, there is such a word in Polish, I also didn’t know! So, sluggish means ‘like a slug’, that is: very slow. Yup, ślimakowaty!


OK, so my computer started getting really sluggish – I had to switch it on at least 5 minutes before I started working. What is more – and that was the really terrifying part – it occasionally went BSoD. BSoD stands for “the blue screen of death” – the error screen displayed on Windows computers following a fatal system error. Fatal means deadly ( = śmiertelny, powodujący śmierć), so “the blue screen of death” is quite an apt term ( = trafny).


My computer is indispensable ( = niezbędny) for my work. So, I didn’t want to get Pan Miecio to speed it up for 20 zlotys. I wanted a reliable company ( = rzetelna), and I was ready to pay for quality. And the company I chose came highly recommended ( = była bardzo polecana).

They charged ( = liczyli sobie) 200 zlotys per hour, plus 40 zlotys for getting to my place – and I think another PLN40 for getting back, but I’m not sure. They recommended swapping ( = zamiana) my hard drive ( = dysk twardy) for an SSD one, whatever that means, and they also did some routine cleaning. Together with the price of the drive – around 300 zlotys – I paid a little over 1,000 zlotys.

A small note on reading money and currencies ( = waluty). Don’t forget about “s” at the end of the currency! We have no problem remembering zlotys and dollars – but we do get confused when it comes to euros! In Polish, the plural ( = liczba mnoga) of ‘euro’ is the same as the singular ( = liczba pojedyczna). So, we say: jeden euro, dwa euro. But in English it’s different! It’s one euro, two euros, just like one dollar, two dollars.

Also, a small note on writing. When we use the full name of a currency, we put it after the number. So, 20 dollars, or 100 zlotys. But when we use the symbol or the abbreviation ( = skrót), we put it before the number. So, $20, or PLN100.

OK, back to the story! The IT guy ( = informatyk) also moved the partition ( = well, quite obviously, partycja). And when he was finished, it turned out ( = okazało się) that all of my files had vanished ( = zniknęły) in the process!

Yes, everything! All the photos, films, images, the English textbooks which I had spent hours scanning, my own materials to teach English, invoices ( = faktury), all of the courses which I have created, previous newsletters, materials from the workshops I took, notes from my studies, scanned receipts ( = paragony), scanned works of my kids, handouts for my students, my MA thesis, my second MA thesis, my PhD thesis ( = doktorat)… Everything! He explained that it must have happened while he was moving the partition, and that such accidents happen once in a blue moon ( = raz na ruski miesiąc). Well, I guess I was really lucky… or unlucky…

I did have a back-up copy ( = kopia zapasowa) of the most critical data. But that was only 10% of everything… Everything else is lost… forever… 🙁

So, the moral of the story is: it’s not always true that ‘you get what you pay for’ and ‘you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’ ( = dosłownie: płacisz orzeszkami, to dostajesz małpy, czyli: jaka płaca, taka praca). Sometimes you might get a reliable company, and still get the job botched ( = spartaczona)

I do hope this never happens to you! See you next week! 🙂


Kasia Sielicka, doktor filologii angielskiej. Konsultant kariery: rozmowa o pracę po angielsku.

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