Mark Cropp wants to get off the dole, get a job and put food on the table for his family.
But there's one small problem: a giant tattoo saying "DEVAST8" and covering half his face is proving off-putting for prospective employers.
The Oamaru-born teenager says he had it inked a few months ago, while drunk on homebrew in a jail cell in Christchurch.
What readers say
Brad James Tanner: "If he is sincere in turning his life around he will find something. When I was a furniture mover back in the day, we had an ex Black Power member who had turned his life around given a break by our boss. Big facial and arm tattoos packing up houses of many wealthy people. People were stand-off at first but his calming attitude and willingness to abide by their house rules soon won over every client, and our bosses often got letters from customers saying what a pleasure it was to have him in their homes."
Chris Anthony: "He knows it's stopping him getting a job. But he also maintains that he doesn't want it to be removed, so what's really stopping him is his own attitude. Sorry dude, appearances do matter. Want to be treated professionally, look professional."
Alan Denny: "Honestly why isn't the government hiring these people? Get them to empty bins in town, cut the branches and do the weeding at playgrounds and parks. Remove graffiti from bus stops."
Pei Pei Allen Scarlett: "I am a fan of body art, and some facial tatts are great. I don't believe people should be discriminated against for wearing art on whatever part of the body. But in general, there are some really good and really bad tatts out there. I hope he gets a job."
Sophie Julia Love: "Our prison system is so fantastic it allows for prisoners to get drunk and for them to have objects sharp enough to tattoo each other and no supervision for the couple of hours this would have taken to do."
Amanda Marshall: "Sorry but if he honestly thinks it's his facial tattoo stopping him getting a job and not the recent conviction for a violent crime and a dishonesty crime then he really needs to wake up. Obviously, the tattoo will restrict the types of jobs he can get, but it doesn't mean he won't find one. The dishonesty conviction, however, is a different story."
Tasi Edwards: "Got a worker at our local Warehouse who's tatted up, head, face - he's one of the most pleasant blokes I've ever met & an amazing customer service-person. I don't think the tattoos are the true barrier."
Cheryl Atkinson: "I wouldn't employ anyone with facial tattoos either especially if they have to deal with the public. Tattoos are intimidating, isn't this why people get them in the first place?"
Michaela Fray: "Get it removed... best case. No one should judge a book by its cover though. Each to their own and no one has the right to judge. Good on you for wanting to do the right thing, family comes first. Get a job an sort out the tattoo later on..
Khelley Hurring: "Why can't he get a job in welding or something that he can wear a mask. Or just pay for laser removal through work and income so he can better himself and get off the benefit get his life back on track and get his baby back. Everyone is entitled to a second chance in life."