A Postcard from Beyond: Callum Dolan

One month before I graduated from university, I started my first proper real-world adult job. Seventeen years of education almost completed and I was already moving on to the next stage of my life with hardly any time left to think in between. But who cares, right? Getting a graduate job has always been the end goal since the beginning. “Just get a good job that you’ll enjoy in Leeds”, was what I started to tell myself. Then it turned to “just get a job in Leeds that you’ll enjoy”. By the time Easter came around I was down to “just get a job in Leeds”.

The biggest culture shock was the long working hours. Studying English and History at university had prepared me for four hour weeks, not eleven hour days. Who in their right mind wants to finish a day at work and then have to come home and cook dinner too? (Shout out to my parents who regularly did this for the 18 years I lived at home and moaned like a bitch). In my first fortnight of working life I maybe cooked three times; those times mostly included just throwing a couple of things in the oven for 20 minutes and trying not to fall asleep on the sofa and burning the house down.

There are times over the past few weeks that I have felt more like an adult, such as putting aside Sunday afternoons to do the week’s ironing whilst watching films like Still Alice and The Blind Side. Then there are confusing moments where I feel like a confused mixture of young professional and student. If you’re sitting alone in your underwear with a glass of cheap wine watching Bridget Jones’s Diary it’s difficult to feel like you’ve got your life together. And yet, that was the preferred choice to a night out because I only have two days off a week now and they are so sacred that I cannot think of anything worse than writing off a Sunday feeling rough.

Starting a job in the summer also means living in Leeds with no housemates. This can be a blessing in disguise at times, but when you’re so used to living in a house with five other people the constant silence can become a little too much. I realised the epitome of my loneliness on the walk home from visiting a friend on the other side of Hyde Park. Two minutes after leaving their door the heavens open and I’m caught outside with no umbrella, jacket or defence of any kind. Cue me turning this walk into a run. I felt like I was in my own romcom – the boy running through the rain in slow motion (no effects, I’m just not in great shape). Here’s where I realised how shit my lifecould be. I wasn’t running home to the perfect girl, all I was running to was an empty house and another night alone. Rock and fucking roll, right?

Callum Dolan

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