A year of unemployment

This week officially marks one year of unemployment, after being laid off from my marketing job. It was an awful experience I hope not many more have to experience. The experience, however, has allowed me to immerse myself in food, focus on culinary school, live in Boston for three months for my externship, and take on more freelance food writing, cooking and photography. And although I always found parallels to food in my marketing position, I never would have been able to accelerate my career as quickly as I have if I had still been working part time in a completely different industry.

With my final semester coming up, I have to seriously start thinking about life beyond freelance. I thankfully have quite a few options, with various risk and levels of pay. I can, of course, work in a restaurant, hopefully starting as a cook II or higher, or being able to quickly advance. That’s my last resort though.

What I’d really like to do is work in a test kitchen full time, developing recipes and then writing about them. To do that, I may possibly have to relocate to another state — New York, Alabama or Boston. Boston is my first choice, NY and AL are tied for “I prefer never to live there, ever.”

Or, I can continue to build my freelance business, offering cooking classes, writing for various publications, and continuing to develop my food photo skills. This option is the most and least attractive. I like the fact that I would be in charge of my schedule, and since I’ve owned my own business before, the business side of things will be a snap. The not knowing when a paycheck is coming next is the least attractive part of the deal, and why this past year has been so stressful from a financial point of view. I’ve always managed to secure enough work to pay my bills (cutting it close a few times), but it’s constant pitching and then worrying if a freelance check is late.

I have three months before graduation to decide. It sounds like a long time, but I’m sure it will sneak up on me.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            2 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Fort Pierce
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid