John Riddell: I want to work, and I am not too old

John Riddell, 58, has updated his skill set but still cannot find fulltime work after months of trying. Photo / Richard Robinson
John Riddell, 58, has updated his skill set but still cannot find fulltime work after months of trying. Photo / Richard Robinson

I have been out of work since the end of March and am about to use the last month of my redundancy.

I have a house that I rent out but it is not enough to meet the mortgage repayments.

I have a part-time job as secretary/treasurer of a ratepayers' group that owns a community hall.

Over the past couple of months I have picked up small odd jobs, have had a few interviews, but have not scored anything permanent.

I hear about others in my age bracket - engineers, bankers, nurses - all finding it difficult to find a job.

I know an engineer who has been out of work for more than three years. I cannot afford that. One of my goals was to retire after 65 with a house and money in the bank and not have to claim the pension - to me it is a cost to the taxpayer, when rightly I can work and have the money to support myself.

That dream seems to be disappearing.

If I lose my home and get declared bankrupt, I can kiss goodbye to being on various committees.

If I sell my house I lose what I call my inheritance, and will need to rent.

You apply for the little jobs and get turned down; you apply for jobs you know you can do and are told, "This is not a reflection on your skills ..." You sort of know it is probably your age.

I am not after the moon, only a job that pays similar to what I was earning before. My options are narrowing; my goal is now almost one of survival. Where is the fairness?

Over the past few months in my part-time job I have increased the income of the organisation I belong to by 33 per cent. I can be a benefit to a company. I have even developed a website, which is a new skill I now have, for the organisation.

My past successes in life feel as if they are going to be just memories. My granddaughter and even my sons will not really think of [them] when I am in a retirement home.

Oh, how I would like my children and grandchild to be proud of me and [to] be able to leave them some money.

I am constantly being told to re-skill myself, get more qualifications. Done all that, now give me a job!

In ending this story, do [I] reveal [my] name and suffer the indignity of being publicly known as unemployed?

Why am I the one to be bearing the brunt of the Government's or my former employer's austerity measures?

I did not volunteer for this. I would like a job now, as I am sure many like me, young and old, would.

- NZ Herald

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