Real Work: Nine to Five - Name Hazel Burgess, 42 Occupation Painter and decorator Salary pounds 8,000 Address Maidstone, Kent

How did it start?

My dad has always been a painter and decorator and I started working with him 14 years ago. When he retired, I just carried on. When I started, people were surprised when I turned up, not a lad. People do comment when I tell them what I do but I've never had to take any flak.

Describe what you do

I paint the inside and outside of buildings, general maintenance and repair; cleaning down old paintwork, removing flaky paint, stabilising, priming up bare wood. Mostly I decorate stairs, landings and hallways because they're more awkward, and you have to construct platforms out of ladders and scaffold boards. It can be scary, dealing with wallpaper drops of 18ft. I do quite a bit for little old ladies; they feel happier with a woman in the house.

How does your day start?

My partner Darren and I set the alarm for 6.30am. My daughter Kira and I go down and start the breakfast. I'll yell at Darren to get up and Kira, who's two-and-a-half, will watch TV. After washing and dressing I make my own lunch, a salad, then get Kira dressed ready for play school or the childminder; or she might come with me. I used to take her with me all the time when she was a baby; then she started to get up to all sorts of mischief. I'm usually ready to go between 9am and 9.15am.

What do you wear?

A white boilersuit. They only come in men's sizes so they are not very flattering. In summer, I wear shorts and a bikini top.

What's your journey like?

I drive an estate car. I put ladders on the roof and keep all my other things in the back. I have worked in London but usually work within 15 miles of Maidstone.

Describe your work environment

It could be anything: a big mansion, a two-bedroomed cottage or a studio flat. Clients explain what they want and leave me to it. I put my radio on, my most important piece of equipment - it's covered in dust, paint and dirt. It's Radio Two, or if reception is bad, Capital Gold.

How long for lunch?

I don't usually stop for lunch. I stand up and shovel in my salad as I go along. If I stop, I don't want to start again.

What stresses you out most at work?

Wallpaper hanging. You quote for a job and the paper may be pounds 20 a roll, so if you get it wrong, it could cost you a lot of money. Sometimes there are time limits: for instance, when I was decorating a play school that had to be finished in five days over half term.

What are the perks?

People waiting on me, making me cups of tea and giving really nice biscuits - ones I don't normally buy. Also, having leftover paint for my own decorating. I have worked at places where they have their own swimming pools, which I have been allowed to use in summer.

Hours per week?

About 35 to 40.

How much holiday do you take?

Last year we spent a whole week in north Devon. I prefer activity holidays: walking, visiting old houses.

What time do you stop work?

I try to leave by five but it doesn't always work.

What do you do when you're not working?

I've just started ju-jitsu, a form of self-defence. For 15 years, I've been learning tap dancing and go to a dancing school, which puts on shows. I don't watch make-over shows like Changing Rooms. They make me cringe. I prefer action programmes: Silent Witness and Star Trek. Our house is in desperate need of decoration. The dining room has never been done, even though I've lived here 13 years. Darren says decoration is my job, but he will do DIY jobs.

What's the first thing you do when you get home?

Think about what I'm having for tea.

How do you feel on a Sunday night?

Think: "Oh, work tomorrow". It makes me sound like I don't enjoy it, but I do.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

    £96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste