Sarah Graham: The Dreaded Job Hunt – A Carb and Coffee Tour of Luxembourg’s Cafés

Since getting my degree and making an awkward, apologetic entrance into the world of work last year, I have found that the initial dilemma of embarking on a job hunt does not begin with the question of where to apply, but rather where to sit to conduct said applications.

My room is out of the question, as my attempts to begin the process ultimately ends up confounded by my bed which smiles coquettishly at me from the corner of the room.

“Oh, what an awful lot of applications for your weary little head,” it winks. “Nobody will ask you where you see yourself in six months’ time or how you stand out from the crowd if you come lie down here.”

My sister’s flat is a possibility, but her standpoint as a heating humbug usually results in me grabbing the cat for warmth. The cat tends to quickly lose interest in being used as a hot water bottle once she realises I am not a human-sized yoghurt and then decides with her paws that she’d be better off typing the application herself. So far I’ve heard nothing back.

At the age of 22, I have what some may call an unusual housing situation. I live in a room in the house in which I grew up, which I now share with a lovely couple, their two-year-old son, three cats and a dog who would almost certainly thrive as an airport security guard. As soon as he sees me he’s at my side, in my face, patting me down and asking me if I packed my bag myself. During the long winter months (which I am not yet convinced have abated) I would return home and would soon have my whole coat unbelted and unzipped by the manic scratchings of the adolescent sheepdog. If I turned away to make good my escape to my room, he would follow directly behind me on two legs, front paws firmly pressed into my winter-weight hips, forming an unwanted conga line like two nerds at their first disco.

So began my journey, armed with a faulty laptop, around Luxembourg’s cafés, in search of food, my future and – most importantly – free WiFi. Had I known that under the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU this last factor would be flying around the City I perhaps wouldn’t have stressed about this quite so much. I can heartily promise that I have no shares invested in any of the following institutions and that my following words on them is therefore not trying to advertise them, but rather is an attempt to offer those going through a similar situation advice on the best places to gird their loins and fatten their haunches in preparation for the process ahead.

My search, rather aptly, began at Interview on Rue Aldringen, where I sat gazing around fondly, my mind creating a montage of happy memories of each of my friends and I taking it in turns to accidentally smack our heads against the low-hanging lamps when standing up to order another drink. Although it was wonderful to reminisce about the early years of going out in Luxembourg, when two Monacos would have me screeching and swinging off said lamps, this was not the kind of interview table I had hoped to be looking across, and I continued on my way.

My next stop was Independent Café on Boulevard F-D Roosevelt, where I knew the wide range of meat and vegetarian burger options would give me the protein-filled sustenance needed to furiously type out endless applications. Wall plugs are available, the soups are delicious and you can take it from me that you can sit here for hours, staring at your computer and muttering wildly to yourself whilst chewing on your hair in job application angst, without receiving judgement from the staff. I would however not recommend making it a regular occurrence, as Luxembourg is a small country and people may start to talk.

The next stop-off on my list was Coffee Lounge along Rue de la Poste. This café might be a little pricey but whoever conceived of their White Mocha, which consists of hot coffee poured over white chocolate chips, must be up there among the greats. I took the opportunity to tuck into one of their cream cheese bagels, wondering if everyone else consumed as many complex carbohydrates during the job hunt as I had.

The final stop on my journey was Scott’s Pub in the Grund, where I lost myself for hours on the outdoor terrace, my mind placing a little too much metaphorical emphasis on watching ducks paddle furiously against the currents of the River Alzette. I felt like I was somewhere where my own struggles would be understood. ‘They get me,’ I whispered to myself, shortly before the deflated duck gave up all hope and was gently carried out of sight by the current. I tried not to read too much into it and continued with the application at hand.

Four coffees and countless applications later and I vibrated onto the bus home. I had tried my fair share of the new that day, and it was almost refreshing to see the dog waiting patiently at the door for my return. Almost. With a sigh I proffer my bag for inspection, turn around and wait for the inevitable leap onto my back. Together the dog and I conga to my room, but I am in no mood to party.

 

 


Photo by Shutterstock