Everyone’s path in life is different. Someone that used to flip burgers a year ago can be selling out arenas next year. You could very well wake up tomorrow as a new multi-millionaire. One person’s simple job led to them become the leader of a country.

Taking down the union

Born in Poland, Lech Walesa had aspirations to be an electrician. Fortunately, he got the gig of a lifetime at Lenin Shipyard. During his time there, he started to get involved in trying to secure workers’ rights. In 1970, he brought protests to Gdańsk Shipyard to shut down rising food prices. Unfortunately, 30 workers died under his watch, and he was fired from his job in 1976.

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His problems didn’t just follow his dismissal. The police continued locking him up whenever he tried to attend a protest.

A familiar setting

In 1980, Walesa decided to be one of the main faces behind the Solidarity trade-union movement. Unfortunately, the rise of martial law meant the end of this movement. Walesa was arrested for partaking in this now illegal act and spend 11 months in the slammer.

Institute of National Remembrance

That following year, Walesa earned the Nobel Prize for his work, but that wasn’t enough. He wanted to take the role of president of Poland.

Procuring the throne

In 1989, he announced plans to take part in that year’s election. Unfortunately, he had a string of opponents looking to take that title. Things were going great until Walesa was forced into a runoff with Stanisław Tymiński. Fortunately, he was able to blow the businessman out of the water.

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On December 22, 1990, Walesa was finally elected as Poland’s first freely elected president in 63 years. “Today we are making a fundamental step on the long and bloody road to rebuilding our independence,” he said during his inaugural. During his time as president, Walesa helped his country finally obtain a free market economy. For someone that was simply an electrician, he turned out okay.