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

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.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
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

    Data/ MI Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

    Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

    £40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

    Project Manager (upgrades, rollouts, migrations)

    £350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...

    DT Teacher -Key stage 3 all areas

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a DT teache...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week