real life

"My husband can't get a job because of the colour of his skin."

Stacey’s husband cannot get a job.



What is one of the hardest things for a person to continuously undergo? Rejection. For the three years that I have been married to my husband, he has been applying for jobs. He knew he would find it hard but how hard wasn’t known until he actually started receiving rejection letters from jobs that were below his expertise.

We recently attended a job-seeking agency (they were unable to help us) where we were told the main reason for my husband’s rejection was that he was an immigrant. Not any immigrant though. The main reason is he is Indian and has a foreign name.  Our surname is Mohammed and so it’s not your typical anglo-saxon name.

This means my husband doesn’t even get an interview. He can’t even get a phone interview. The most likely thing is that the recruiter sees the name and presumes that his English will be poor despite the fact he studied English and speaks a total of four languages. The recruiter fails to notice that my husband is an IT engineer who has worked for major companies.

They fail to see that with every job he has undertaken, he has progressed in his position and earned the praise of his employer. They fail to see that no matter what job my husband undertakes, he gives it 100 per cent 

This immediate presumption made by recruiters on the basis of his name is not only unfair but it also destroys you. Despite four years of study and working for big companies, he is almost unemployable.

“My husband can’t get a job because of the colour of his skin”

My husband can’t even get a job at Woolworths. He can’t get a job at Caltex (despite managing a fuel station previously). He can’t even get a job in a call centre. The only job he can get is in an abattoir where racism is so common and the job slowly destroys his body.

Jobs are a sensitive topic in our house. We don’t know whether to be angry or cry in despair. My husband is confused about whether to retrain himself or continue busting his body at work. He knows he is being discriminated against at his current position but he cannot prove it. The mental pressure to support his family is the only reason he puts up with it. But I can see that, slowly, it is breaking his body and soul.

I want to cry when my husband gets rejected (numerous times) without an interview. I want to cry when he comes home from work tormented by his workmates. I want to cry when he hisses in pain due to his back, hand and arms doing strenuous work day in and day out. I want to cry every time I think about how his family invested tens of thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money into a degree my husband can’t even use.

But crying won’t help him. I can only encourage him to apply again and again, but even that is getting harder to do.

Have you ever had trouble with discrimination in the workplace?

Stacey is a country girl who moved to the big city, changed her religion, met a boy, married, and is now a mummy of one little boisterous boy. When not chasing him around she spends her time reading or planning her next overseas adventure. Stacey hopes to return to the workforce soon but in the meantime writes on her new blog here