http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wee ... 57093.html
NIALL McALLISTER (43)
Former managing director
I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life. That’s the God’s honest truth. It’s been so hard.
From a mental and physical point of view, unemployment damages you. I haven’t gone mad, or anything, but your self-esteem is in the bucket. This is a man who managed a recruitment business. I employed 20 people. I was advising people on what to do when they were down on their luck. And look at me now.
The irony is that if you saw me, you’d think I’m a millionaire. I have my shirts, ties and a few nice coats I picked up over the years. I polish my shoes. If you saw me walking down Grafton Street, you’d probably say, ‘hail fellow, well met’. But I have nothing.
All I want to do is work. I’ve sent out a gazillion CVs. I’ve met lots of people about potential jobs. There’s been lots of promises, but nothing ever materialises. It costs a lot to go to Dublin for an interview – it’s €16.50 by bus, one way. When you’re on €196 a week, that goes very quickly. One person never turned up for the interview. Another offered me a job, but told me there’d be no pay. How was I supposed to survive?
Most days I get up around 7am. I try to keep in my work routine. I go for a walk to clear my head. At the internet cafe, I search for job opportunities.
As for eating, I buy corned beef and packet soups, mostly. It’s all I can afford. You know what I’d love? A 15oz T-bone steak with a pile of chips, onions and mushrooms! I’d be smiling my head off – and it’d be gone in five minutes.
I read something the other day about suicides as a result of business failures. Twenty-nine people have died. Someone said to me: ‘A person mightn’t be able to take what you’ve been through.’ But I try to be hopeful, even in hard times. At the end of the day, I’m an asset. I think I can bring a lot to any organisation. That’s what I want to do. That’s my goal: get back to the way I should be, contributing properly to society. It’s important to keep positive.