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First Time Looking by Tuur Verheyde


Looking for a job straight

Out of Uni

Never worked a day

Except for studying—that doesn’t count, duh—

Not even a student gig,

Except for that publishing

I try. My excuse

Is I had depression for a couple

Of years. Couldn’t manage

To be a student well enough

To be working in the downtime.

My excuse sucks, it reads all

The same to employers:

No experience, none.

Label as layabout I guess.

These days,

It’s not enough to have a degree,

To be bilingual. Gotta have

That experience already in the bag

Before your first time looking

For work. Besides, bilingual isn’t enough

Round these parts. If number one is Dutch

Then number two better be French;

The border is close and apparently

Some don’t like to learn when

They cross. Not even English.

So it’s up to you to make sure

You’ve got the triple pack of professional

Parlance. Alternative One is

The hours-long commute,

Go work in a city where

You can’t even afford to rent.

Alternative Two is never mind

The degree; take what you can

Find and don’t complain. There are

People who need these jobs

Not to starve. This is dog-eat-dog,

These scraps aren’t easy

To come by.

Still nothing, eh?

Don’t be frustrated. Be better!

Pimp that resume!

Get that social media

Trap in place. Follow

These courses on how

To bullshit more efficiently

And with more gusto.

Here’s how to find that job

You’re overqualified for,

But somehow still can’t get.

Your cynicism is nothing

Compared to what you need

To make it

Through this job

Market and come out whole,

Time to upgrade:

Here’s how to smother

Every semblance of a dream,

Settle for less in a way that

Makes the desperation

Seem dignified,

Perhaps find something

To perfume away all the regret

And disillusionment,

Turn the unflattering comparisons

Into bitter competitions; turn professional

Success into your sole metric for human

Value. Here’s how to stop telling yourself

You were made for something more

And accept that this station

Is as far as the mobility goes

These days. Here’s how to find


And perhaps

Keep it. Sometimes growth

Demands a redundancy blood

Sacrifice. Besides, who could have

Foreseen the pandemic

And the last economic crises,

Apart from all those

Who did?


Tuur Verheyde is a twenty-four year old Belgian poet. His work often discusses current events, progressive politics, spirituality and highbrow and popular culture as well as personal experiences and stories. Twitter: @TuurVerheyde

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