Vincent began working as a shop assistant at the Blussé & Van Braam bookshop in January 1877. He had visited in December to see whether it suited him, and in January, after a trial week, he remained in Dordrecht. Vincent obtained the job through his uncle Vincent “Cent” van Gogh.
Blussé & Van Braam sold books, magazines, office supplies, cards and prints. One of Vincent's tasks was to handle shipments. As an errand boy, he spent most of the rest of his time doing small jobs in the shop. He worked long days, from eight in the morning until late in the evening. In between, he could be found at his desk, translating biblical passages from Dutch into English, German and French. His desire to become a clergyman interfered markedly with his job in the shop, and his roommate Paulus Coenraad Görlitz aptly put it to Vincent's parents, "Vincent is no good at his work; his calling lies elsewhere." Vincent ultimately left Dordrecht for Amsterdam in mid-May to prepare for theology studies, after his boss had found a replacement for him.