Ive noticed two expressions for 'working for'. Firstly, '...dla dyrektora', and secondly, as in tbe current example, '...w policji'. Presumably 'dla' is used for working with people and 'w(e)' is used for working for businesses and institutions? Or is there some other reason? Thanks.
Well, with people you can only work "for" them, with institutions, both versions will work. Sometimes we could say that "dla" and "w" mean the same, but it's also possible that you work 'for a bank' but not 'in a bank' (you are not exactly on the bank's payroll, you're not their employee).
Most of them are gendered. Generally the feminist tendency is usually different in Poland than in the English-speaking countries: most feminists seem to want more gendered words, they create "psycholożka" from "psycholog" (psychologist) or "architektka" from "architekt". Some new words enter the language quite easily, some are mocked as absurd-sounding and unnecessary - after all those professions have used the masculine word for both genders for a long time. On the other hand, there are women (and some of them may consider themselves feminists) who think that the masculine word is good to describe a woman, even if there is a well-established feminine word. For example I can easily imagine a woman saying "Jestem nauczycielem" for "I am a teacher", although the feminine word "nauczycielka" is a perfectly natural and common one. That depends on the specific word and the user, of course. A woman calling herself "policjant" - yeah, I can imagine that.
A gender neutral term... well, maybe you could go with "oficer policji", because "oficerka" is rather a type of a tall (?) shoe, although I guess "oficerka" could also be used for a female police officer nowadays. Anyway, "oficer policji" seems a lot less common than its English equivalent.
The problem is that those prepositions' usage is oftentimes multi-faceted and not always bound to one meaning precisely. With many prepositions, what they mean depends on the context. For the beginning, it's better to write down all the prepositions' meanings and also note which case they take in which context.
The English language's problem is that it is vague about some words' meanings, including “with”: A more literal meaning of “w” in this sentence would be “at”—the policeman works at the police commission, so to say. If we chose “z” instead of “w”, the sentence would apparently be: »Policjant pracuje z policją.«
I hope this helps at least a bit, and also do I hope that someone who knows better corrects my misconceptions, although I think I missed all of them.
"It works for me" is a unique English construction, I don't think I've encountered it in any other language.
The verb to work has two Polish translations - pracować (to literally perform work / to be employed), and działać (to function, to operate as expected).
So the right choice in this context would be działać, however I can't think of an idiomatic translation which contains this verb. I'd translate it as:
To mi pasuje / Pasuje mi (to) / Mnie (to) pasuje
To mi odpowiada / Odpowiada mi (to) / Mnie (to) odpowiada
(The emphatic mnie is used if you want to emphasise that it works for you while it doesn't work for others. It should be put at the beginning of the sentence)
Just a comment on your first paragraph, concerning the translation of the idiomatic “It works (out) for me!”: I would say that in German, a similar idiom has emerged amongst adolescents within the past two years or so. They tend to say “Läuft bei mir/dir/...”, which can be interpreted as a translation of the English expression, although they chose a different verb. (Laufen = to walk; chodzić)
Another similar expression I found by chance in the French language, and again in a rather juvenile jargon. They seem to say: »Ça plane pour moi«, which expresses that something is working to one's liking. So, a literal translation does not work, but we can find similar sayings, although we mostly will have to look within the languages' non-standard varieties.
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree on that.
"Läuft bei mir" is very different from "It works for me". And I'd say that "Ça plane pour moi" is not the same either. Both examples don't contain the verb 'to work' which I was originally referring to.
I'm sorry too, but I think you translate all of these sentences too literal, while i would translate them more figurative. The link you shared seems to support this interpretation of all of these sentences, already when you pick up their first example:
Bob: Is it okay if I sign us up for the party? Sally: It works for me. Tom: Is Friday all right for the party? Bill: Works for me. Bob: It works for me too.
All those people do not speak of a programme or a machine that worked for them, but whether they would agree to appointments for a party. All of these responses could also be expressed as: »That's OK with me«, or »D'Accord«, which I think could also be used colloquially in English, but at least in German, although few people use it as it sounds aloof, maybe snobbish. But that's of no import to understand what I mean to say: That I think that I understood well how »It works for me« shall be understood.
This discussion surprises me. Alik only stated that there's no way of expressing this thought in Polish with any verb that translates to "to work", of course there's a way to express this thought. It was from the beginning about a literal translation of "works for me", which doesn't work in Polish, and from what you wrote doesn't work in German and French as well. The fact that there is some way to say that is pretty obvious, it would be strange if there wasn't one.