Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

BooksJune 10, 2022

The Friday Poem: ‘I will not be applying to work with you’ by Emma Sidnam

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A new poem by Wellington-based poet and student Emma Sidnam.

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

I commend your commitment to an environmentally neutral workplace,
But I know for a fact that you’ve represented oil companies in legal cases,
And I appreciate that you say you care about equity and recognise systemic inequality,
But I know you’ve represented the government against iwi, ignored the Treaty, and flee when you feel the heat from the media,
Which clearly demonstrates that you care more about your reputation than representation,
And your hesitation to advocate for progression rather than surpass client expectations is telling.

As a young woman of colour, I am everything you want to put on your website
I have a very good smile and the ability to assimilate
In fact, I am your ideal person of colour because I was born here and don’t have an accent
You won’t even notice I’m not white except for the times I take a morning off to go protest
Or start mentioning inter-cultural dislocation during morning tea,
And I’m really sorry, I try keep it in,
But sometimes I can’t help myself from vomiting up the system,
The wisdom of my ancestors spouting from my ears,
Dislodging in my gut, forcing me to scream all I hear
I can’t help but care! And if I don’t,
I fear that I’ll lose the only things that make me unique here,
And I know that uniqueness and independent thinking is important if you want me fitting in.

I am excited to spend all my time trying to earn you money,
And knowing that my worth 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, the workplace is my main reason to exist,
And I want to do everything in my power to dedicate my hours to you.

And I get that you’re not entirely to blame,
It’s a game and let’s face it, that’s not going to change
Because you’ve trained us to want more,
Yet keep moving the door,
Dragging us up the ladder, setting us up to fall.
Keeping us praying for prosperity
like society’s still a meritocracy or controlled by a deity,
like opportunity was something that could come for free.

Dear company,
I cannot wait for you to never return this email
And ignore the application I spent hours making
And every subsequent waking moment considering,
My emotions hung out like a thin string.
Really, I enjoy not knowing my fate,
I thrive in ambiguity
And your apathy
So, please ignore me.

Yours, sincerely,


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

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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