When I was growing up, I lived with my nan. My great-grandmother was in the house and needing care. I was only sixteen at the time. Looking back, she was a right pain to me at that age! She used to drive everybody cracked because she would have this hand-bell permanently going off. It was, Ding-ding! … Oh God, here she goes again, and our nan used to say, ‘You can go in and change her pad for her’, and I would say, ‘No way, I’m not doing it!’, but the care was more or less forced on me. There was me and my brother Tommy, more or less the same age as me, but, well he was a boy. As the girl, I was supposed to help out. Even though I didn’t do a great deal, it was enough to truly put me off care. It wasn’t something I thought I would like to do when I was older. It was something that made me want to heave; do you know what I mean? My granddad, he ended up with cancer of his neck and I will never forget making him this egg and milk drink, and I used to be disgusted, ‘Urgh, Grandad, how can you?’ and he used to grin back to me, ‘Yum, it’s lovely!’ Nan used to do all his personal care, but I’d be expected to help, you know? Then, as an adult, I found I would always do little bits and pieces for people. My friends all said I would be brilliant at care, but I couldn’t see it in me. How my life turned out though: after my children, my divorce, hating other jobs; I thought care would be worth a try. At the job interview, they asked about my experience and, of course, I told them how much I enjoyed helping my nan!
KeywordsMinimum Wage Employment Contract Emotional Labour Unpaid Labour Character Narrative
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