Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Jobless man has four interviews to prepare for

John Riddell. Photo / Richard Robinson
John Riddell. Photo / Richard Robinson

Things are looking up for John Riddell - he has four interviews lined up, two of which are in his field of expertise, and he has been overwhelmed with responses and support.

The West Aucklander has applied in vain for 60 jobs since he was made redundant in March as a manufacturing company's health and safety official. He had put his bad luck down to age - saying no one wants to employ people over 50.

But since Mr Riddell's plight was featured in the Herald on Monday, he and the paper have been inundated with messages of support and letters from people in the same situation.

He said the number of people who had come forward to say they were in the same situation as him was both reassuring and worrying.

"It's nice to know that you're not in the situation alone but it's also not very reassuring that the problem could be bigger than people realise."

Two of the interviews arranged for Mr Riddell were organised by Winz's job search service, but the other two were from his own efforts

"I'd like to feel that I'd do quite well with the interviews I've got, especially one of them. I hope that what's happened will allow me to be more open in an interview situation if you like."

People have also called him offering assistance in "change management" to help him cope with the transition to a new career.

At 58, Mr Riddell believes his years in the workforce means he has skills and experience which would be more valuable to employers than what graduates could offer.

"You're meant to retire at 65, but you're compulsorily retired before then in quite a few cases and that's a shame but there's probably not much anyone can do about it except get out there and put ourselves on the job market and say, 'We are available'."

Besides financial security, Mr Riddell wants to work so his grandchildren and children are proud of him and he can leave them an inheritance.

He met his oldest son and granddaughter on Tuesday - they told him they were already proud of him.

"In the back of all our minds, I think as people we'd like to think that we are special and that we will be remembered or thought about.

"If you end up ... being penniless, which can happen if you're out of work for a period of time, then they forget that you might have been doing this, that or the other thing before you end up in that situation.

"A job is a social thing as much as anything else - it makes you feel like you're part of society."

- NZ Herald

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