5 Things I Learned From a Career Change with Amanda Usen

After twenty-five years as a pastry chef and romance writer, an intriguing job as a copywriter for a remote-first marketing agency waved itself in front of my nose. I followed it like a cartoon dog scenting pepperoni and embarked upon a fascinating year of change.

Yes—YEAR. I wish I could say making a life change of this magnitude was simple for me, but I’d be lying my butt off. I thought it would be WAY easier. After all, I like learning new things, love writing, and was super motivated to learn more about marketing.

But going from a job where I was surrounded by people, noise, and activity all day to a remote position at home where I’m inside my head all day was a major adjustment. I’m still working on the big stuff like exercising before work because it’s too easy to make excuses after work. (Holler if you hear me!) I doubt I’ll ever remember to ask for help before I get stuck and frustrated. And imposter syndrome? I could write a book about it. In fact, maybe I will—with a meet cute that involves a dog and pepperoni!

However, I learned 5 easy remote work tips that might help other career pivoters make the shift gracefully:

  1. Don’t work in a closet. Shoving all my clothes into my husband’s closet and building a desk in mine seemed like a genius idea, but spending 40 hours in a windowless clo-ffice is no way to work. Trust me. Space and light are essential. 
  2. Get dressed. I love pajama pants. Deeply. But I feel better on the days I wear pants than the days my family comes home, and I’m still in my pajamas. Maybe it’s just me, but I think getting dressed for work is important. And by dressed, I mean yoga pants.
  3. Zoom has a filter. It took me almost a year to realize I could go into video effects and smooth out my face on Zoom. Lifechanging!
  4. Eat lunch. It’s way too easy to just keep working! But even though I wrote several blogs on the importance of taking breaks, I kept rolling through the workday. Taking a lunch break to recharge my body and brain gives me more joy and energy in the afternoon.
  5. Find some people. I’m a hardcore introvert, and left to my own devices, I’ll spend most of my free time reading. But that was when I spent my workday surrounded by people. Now I spend most of the day alone, and I get a little weird if I don’t plan outings with friends, leave the house, and talk to someone besides myself and the cats.

Looking for a Fresh Start? That’s the beauty of a New Year. You don’t have to do anything as dramatic as starting a new job; you can roll out of bed and start a new adventure today!




Clara Duke lives to crochet wearable art. But right this second, she’s looking at the one guy who has the uncanny ability to unravel her in every possible way. Zane Brampton. He broke her heart in high school and now wants to make it up to her—in a single night. Just being in the same room as him feels dangerously volatile. A whole night with this delectable, gorgeous man would be nothing less than a total sexpocalypse. But oh, what a way to go.

The sight of Clara and her mouthwatering curves might actually kill restaurateur Zane. Ten years ago, their volcanic chemistry exploded, taking their social circle along with it. But Zane hasn’t forgotten the heat—and this feels almost like fate. He’ll be damned if he’ll let her run from their connection again. And he might just have found his chance to prove he deserves more than just one night…

Now Zane is driving Clara to California to meet her professional dreams. But between the road, the chocolate, and the ridiculously hot sex, Clara risks getting tangled up with her not-so-one-night-stand. And worse, Zane might just be the thread that snaps all of her perfectly crocheted plans.

About the Author

Author Amanda Usen

Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast, and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. They live in Western New York with their three children, one crawfish, two guinea pigs, a tortoise, and a beagle. Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes and her nights writing romance. If she isn’t baking or writing, she can usually be found reading a book and trying to get out of cooking dinner.


You can follow Amanda on Twitter, InstagramPinterest, Facebook, and on her website.

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1 Reply on 5 Things I Learned From a Career Change with Amanda Usen

  • Thanks for your honesty and humor. These are really great tips! I’d like to read that book about a dog – maybe named Pepperoni!

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