100 job rejections over past 18 months

By Jimmy Ellingham

A middle-aged man with an honours degree has taken to the streets to get a job.

The 54-year-old Wellingtonian, who only wanted to be known as Ian, has spent the past two mornings standing on the roadside of the busy Petone Esplanade touting for work.

"I need a job," says his sign, which also mentions what he thought would be a ticket into the workforce: a Bachelor of Commerce with honours.

And for anyone who wants to inspect his certificate, he has a copy of his degree.

Under the autumn sun, Ian also sports a hat and dark glasses, partly for shade and partly because he doesn't want to be recognised -- despite summoning the courage to get out and ask for a job, he admits to feeling ashamed.

Often, he says, people tell him they can't believe his degree hasn't got him into the workforce

"It's extremely embarrassing, which is why I've done this. Then again, a lot of people passing by say it's taken a lot of guts to do this and if they had a job to give, they'd give me one," Ian said.

He has worked before, including stints as a banker, security officer and working for an MP. When a contract finished he went to university in the hope of greener pastures.

But, over the past 18 months, his job search has hit a drought and he wonders if taking time out of the workforce has done more harm than good as he's constantly passed over for graduate positions.

Ian estimates he has applied for 100 jobs in that time and only today he had another generic rejection letter.

His roadside vigil landed him an interview today, but unfortunately the job required him to be on his feet all the time at a production line.

It would have been fine if he could sit, but his injury doesn't allow standing all the time.

Heavy lifting is also out but he's game for anything else.

Ian's roadside vigil happens between 7 and 11am, when he moves on as the carpark he stands at becomes too busy.

He plans to continue until he picks up work.

Tomorrow, he'll turn in a little earlier to attend a support group for people of a similar age also struggling to find work.

So far, Ian's not received any abuse and instead is encouraged with the positivity he's getting.

"I'm quite pleased with the response I've got. I feel very embarrassed about doing it but I've been getting nowhere. I thought I've got to get out and do something, I don't want to be on the dole for the rest of my life."

Ian said he is not angry and doesn't blame anyone for his situation.

He just wants a job.

- NZ Herald

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