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Episode from the podcastThe Untold

Expectations

Released Wednesday, 11th December 2019
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Hazel loves her job. She is very good at. But there is pressure on her to leave.

An impressive career has led Hazel to a perfect job at The University of Chichester: it’s stimulating, she loves the students and she is widely respected.

With no age discrimination, Hazel could continue forever. And she would like to. Work is her very identity and the idea of pootling around the garden and joining a choir fills her with horror. But Hazel suspects friends, family and colleagues think it is time to go.

“The expectation seems to be, from a lot of people, that I will give it all up, that my right job is to look after the grandchildren a bit, do a bit of painting and care for Phil, but that isn’t me, it isn’t me at all.”

When her husband, Phil, is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the pressure escalates but Hazel doesn't see her future as just his carer.

“The joy of Phil’s and my relationship is that we’ve always been independent of each other. I don’t want to rush off and leave him, but I don’t want the burden of having the life sucked out of both of us.”

She feels judged for thinking this, for not abandoning her career to look after Phil, but if she were a man, would expectations be different?

Hazel has always been a clear-headed decision maker. She knew within 10 minutes of meeting her husband she should marry him. She even wants to write her PhD on decision-making. But this choice is proving impossible to make. What should she and what will she decide?

Producer: Sarah Bowen
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