The Friday Poem: “I Will Not Apply To Work With You” by Emma Sidnam


A new poem by Wellington student and poet Emma Sidnam.

I will not apply to work with you

Dear companies,

I am pleased to inform you that I will not be applying to work with you.
The reason I will not apply is that I am a fourth year student with a high grade point average, leadership experience and a passion for learning new things.
I’m impressed with your company’s commitment to diversity, which includes about half a person of color per floor.
And the fact that your team goes out for a drink every Friday instead of paying the staff living wage really makes me believe that your culture is one I could thrive in.

I salute your commitment to an environmentally neutral workplace,
But I know for a fact that you have represented oil companies in court cases,
And I appreciate your saying that you care about fairness and recognize systemic inequality,
But I know you represented the government against iwi, ignored the treaty, and fled when you felt the heat of the media,
Which clearly demonstrates that you care more about your reputation than your representation,
And your reluctance to advocate progression rather than exceeding customer expectations is telling.

As a young woman of color I’m anything you want to put on your website
I have a very good smile and the ability to assimilate
In fact, I’m your ideal person of color because I was born here and I don’t have an accent.
You won’t even notice that I’m not white except when I take a morning to protest
Or start mentioning cross-cultural dislocation over morning tea,
And I’m so sorry, I try to keep it,
But sometimes I can’t help but puke the system,
The wisdom of my ancestors springing from my ears,
Dislodge in my belly, forcing me to scream everything I hear
I can’t help but worry about it! And if I don’t,
I’m afraid of losing the only things that make me unique here,
And I know uniqueness and independent thinking are important if you want me to fit in.

I’m happy to spend all my time trying to make you money,
And knowing that my value as a human being is based on my financial gain
And the pain of existence, the mental crisis that exists outside the office
Just an orifice in the brain, work is my main reason for existing,
And I want to do everything in my power to dedicate my hours to you.

And I understand you’re not entirely to blame,
It’s a game and let’s face it, it’s not gonna change
‘Cause you trained us to want more,
Still, keep moving the door,
Dragging us up the ladder, preparing to fall.
Keep praying for prosperity
as society is always a meritocracy or controlled by a deity,
like an opportunity was something that could come for free.

Dear company,
I can’t wait for you to never return this email
And ignore the app I spent hours making
And every subsequent waking moment given,
My emotions hung like a thin string.
Really, I like not knowing my fate,
I thrive on ambiguity
And your apathy
So please ignore me.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are welcome and will be open until July 31, 2022. Please send up to three poems in a Word or PDF document to [email protected]

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently appointed International Bookstore of the Year 2020, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today.

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