gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

A Gradult at work: A year in the restaurant.

Not a bad view whilst you work.
There is no traditional route once you’ve finished University. Some graduates go out into the world having already secured a job, some move home whilst they decide what to do next, and some go away for the summer hoping they have more of an idea about what to do next once they return. I wasn’t one of those people, but I had made three decisions. Firstly I wanted to stay in Leeds, secondly I wanted to work in a restaurant, and thirdly I knew I was doing this with the aim of travelling in South America (mentioned extensively already on this blog, and accounts can he read here and here).

After a tough first couple of weeks job hunting following graduation, including a few awful days working as a cold caller for a major UK mobile network, I finally landed the job that I wanted, in one of my restaurants of choice. I spent a brilliant year working in this restaurant - sure there were ups and downs, but aren’t there in all jobs? Here are my highlights...
  • The people: Both the staff and even sometimes the customers. I made some brilliant friends and still go back to the restaurant every time I’m in Leeds for a quick catch up – and to check they’re keeping my store cupboard tidy.
  • Christmas: What a nightmare for waiting staff. 50-60 hour weeks for 6 weeks with constant Christmas parties. This was definitely one of the harder times working in the restaurant, but everyone was in the same boat and the camaraderie on show pulled us all through, as did the…
  • Social life: The main reason I wanted to work in a restaurant. Surrounded by about 30 members of staff across the whole operation, we had some epic nights out. It really made up for the social circle that I thought I would miss when I left University.
  • Food/Drink: Before working here I’d lump for a steak every time I ate out, and probably just the house wine/lager. Working in and around food and drink every day taught me a lot about all sorts of different things, and I left the restaurant with my horizons broadened, and eating many things that I wouldn’t have dreamt of eating a year previously.
  • People skills: Not to be underestimated. The amount of people you interact with every day who are happy, sad, or even angry means you need to constantly adapt to each person and their individual needs. Waiters obviously dislike a lot of customers, but all it takes is a simple bit of banter for both parties to have a good time.

My year in the restaurant was a great year, and it also funded my South America trip. I honestly believe I grew up more in that year than I had in the my three years at university.

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