Turned down for 1000 jobs, Gympie dad 'just wants a crack'
FORCED out of his plastering job after a freak wrist injury in 2014, Justin Stephenson has found getting his foot back in the door to be frustrating.
Applying for more than 1000 jobs in those three years, the response has always been the same: no thanks, better luck next time.
It is a response which has the 44-year-old father confounded.
"If someone is willing to give me a crack I'll do anything," Mr Stephenson said.
While he would prefer to remain in the same industry, Mr Stephenson has been so eager for a job he has applied with businesses such as Coles, Woolworths and the council.
He had even applied with Hungry Jacks, much to his son's chagrin.
"(He) said 'you can't work there, I do'," he said.
"I've tried everywhere."
His continual unemployment is not for lack of experience, either.
Over the past 25 years, he has worked as a concreter, form worker and labourer, and has even run his own plastering business.
His wrist has also healed, and aware there may be some lingering restrictions, Mr Stephenson looked to new avenues, earning his excavator ticket.
But his decision to take the full six-day course has left him in the bizarre position of being "overqualified".
He has also found himself butting up against a other problems other jobseekers always encounter, such as age and experience.
"Every excavator job I ring up for or go for, I see 'must have two years experience'," Mr Stephenson said.
"How am I supposed to get a job if I haven't got the two years experience?
"Give me a crack and I'll do it easy."
Although renting and looking after his family, including children aged from just six weeks old to 21, is not cheap, Mr Stephenson refused to apply for the dole.
"I want to find a job, I don't want a handout," he said.