Never give up, says man who battled illness and unemployment

By James Ihaka

We're catching up with Kiwis who made the news last year. Today: Daniel McDonald finally gets a job

Daniel McDonald spent 10 months trying to find work before landing a job. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Daniel McDonald spent 10 months trying to find work before landing a job. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Daniel McDonald started last year battling his second cancerous brain tumour in eight years and beginning what would turn out to be a long slog to find a job.

He finished the year in good health and is now working at an Auckland law firm.

After getting through radio surgery that removed the tumour, Mr McDonald spent what he said was an agonising 10 months trying to find work as an accountant.

He estimates he sent out at least 200 CVs to prospective employers here and overseas. He also wrote countless letters, made dozens of phone calls and knocked on more doors than he can remember.

Mr McDonald said his search for work and the constant rejection were harder to deal with than the tumours.

"It did get pretty demoralising but you can't give up," he said.

His desperation point came when he asked the Herald last month to write about his plight.

He received a number of offers almost instantly including a couple from "some dodgy insurance companies" and within three days he had an interview at Auckland law firm Cone Marshall.

"They could see I was really driven and was going hard out for a job," he said. "I guess they felt a bit sorry for me maybe ... but it was perfect timing, I guess."

Mr McDonald started on December 9 doing what he says is basic bookwork and invoicing.

He says he will still help to do the books at a Tauranga football club after landing voluntary work there last month. "I am definitely not going to walk out on them - that would be pretty rude."

His advice to job seekers and new university graduates is to give themselves the widest exposure possible, even looking at firms overseas if they have to.

"I think a lot of people may have given up and they don't think outside of the box.

"You have to get really desperate and not give up, a lot of people may think, 'Oh, man, I can't do this,' and give up and go and work at Pak'n Save."

Mr McDonald, who was searching for an apartment in central Auckland when the Herald spoke to him, said his job had given him a new lease on life.

"I will probably celebrate with a few beers with my family."

Institute of Chartered Accountants chief operating officer Kirsten Patterson said the accounting job market was flat before Christmas but there was optimism for the new year with corporate accountants in larger teams expecting to increase staff.

She said graduates often focused too much on their academic record and failed to give employers a picture of themselves as an individual.

- NZ Herald

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