If you could go back in time and have a 5 minute conversation with yourself ten years ago, what would you say?
‘Don’t wait to get a degree before applying for jobs. Trust me: it will only help if you’re already in work. And think again before eating every Malteser on the planet: a billion past the lips means inches on the hips…heart disease…diabetes…a crane hoist.’
Why is it only work if it’s paid? Cooking and cleaning and tidying and child care and child minding and child ferrying about from school to club to friends’ to doctor/dentist/hospital, the decorating, the shopping, the clearing out, the nursing, the ironing, all of it: why is it ‘work’ if I pay someone else to do it; but not if I do it myself? The twenty years I’ve spent looking after my family and all the volunteer work, is not really ‘work’ because I never thought to ask for payment. Silly me.
According to a study in 2008, I should be on £30,000 a year for my ‘nine-hour days’ (nine hours – I wish). Okay, I might not quite make the regulation 71 minutes of cleaning and tidying – or even 7.1 minutes, if I’m honest – and if a chambermaid takes fourteen minutes to make a bed then I should be on a bonus for my 1.4 minutes per bed (mine; the kids make their own); but I should be good for at least £25,000.
I don’t mind that I don’t get paid for it (that’s why God gave me kisses from my children, after all); I mind that it’s not considered work.
It doesn’t matter anyway, because I don’t need a degree for the job I really want: this one, advertised on the Arts Council’s website. Imagine the look of consternation on the face of everyone who ever asked me what I do for a living, and I could reply: Freelance Didgeridoo Artist.
If I’m going to make that happen I’d better get back to my carpentry; the roof extension won’t build itself.