REAL WORK: NINE TO FIVE

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Name

Debbie Lindsey, 39

Occupation

Estate agent

Salary

pounds 23,500

Address

Sidcup

Why did you choose this job?

My father was an estate agent; he used to work for the firm before we were acquired by Halifax. I helped out in school holidays from age 11 onwards. I left school at 18 and worked as a secretary but didn't feel I was making a contribution, so my dad suggested I worked for the firm. Over the past 22 years I've worked through the ranks to my present position which is one below area manager.

Describe what you do

I ensure the smooth running of a busy estate agency office. This involves business planning to maintain and build on a good level of stock so we have the right properties for people wishing to live in Dartford and surrounding areas. Each day is different; you never really know what will happen with the telephone going and people coming in. This sometimes makes planning difficult. There are memos to read, agendas and meetings to prepare. I like to think I'm a people person and while we deal in bricks and mortar we are providing a personal service to our clients. It's very satisfying to see clients returning after a couple of years with a family wanting to buy a bigger property.

How does your day start?

"I wake up at 6am and get up straight away; I dare not stay in bed. I prepare the breakfast, sort out my eight-year-old daughter Poppy's school uniform and wake her at 7am. I have a shower and put the heated rollers in. We leave at 8am prompt.

What do you wear on a typical day?

In my position I don't have to wear the company uniform but all my female staff have to so I always wear a navy blue suit and a white blouse. I find it easier to wear this and not worry. It helps to project a corporate image and it's professional.

What's your journey like?

I drive Poppy to the childminder who lives in Bexley, then on to the A2 for the short trip to Dartford.

Describe your work environment

The premises are a three-floor building in Dartford High Street. Lots of people working in a close environment. We get on the best we can. There's good, healthy banter but we are serious when we have to be. I have a very committed, hard-working team who care about each other. It can be soul- destroying at times so you've got to keep your morale up.

How long for lunch?

It's difficult to have set times. I finally get to eat around three.

What stresses you out most at work?

Adjusting to new bosses, changing managers until you know their way of working. Occasionally clients can be very demanding.

What are the perks?

A reasonable salary, being close to my daughter's school and home, not having to commute to London. There is the personal satisfaction of achieving what we do and recognition from my peers for hitting and exceeding targets.

Hours per week?

9am to 6pm, five days a week including one day over the weekend. We work bank holidays and Sundays.

How much holiday do you take?

Four weeks a year. I like to go abroad where the phone doesn't ring. I've travelled extensively: Hong Kong, Barbados and much of Europe. I take Poppy. She's a proper little jet-setter; she's been on more planes than buses.

What time do you stop work?

Because I get in early I leave at 6pm sharp to collect Poppy.

What do you do when you stop work?

After work is Poppy time. We have tea and talk about her day, do homework together. I have little time for socialising: my career and Poppy take up most of my time. My best way of release is my holidays.

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

Feed the cats and prepare Poppy's tea.

How do you feel on a Sunday night?

I generally work on Sundays, having had Friday and Saturday off. It's a time for hair-washing and generally preparing for the week ahead.

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