To help you understand the rationale behind how I’d look for a new career, I need to explain a few things: I’m a lousy networker and hate doing it.
Although I’ve been successfully self-employed for 18 years, if I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t want to endure the hassles of self-employment.
Despite what the media implies, I believe this country is getting ever more socialist, so the good jobs will increasingly be in the government sector.
I don’t believe in spending much time on self-assessment. Too often, you do an inventory of all your skills, interests, values and workplace desires, and you’re still confused about what you want to be when you grow up, because there still are dozens of careers that fit you. Or if you’ve settled on one thing, it’s often something that too many other people aspire to, like being a talk show host, novelist, actor, artist, journalist, musician, etc. Too small a percentage of people who aspire to such careers end up making a living at them. And too often, even if you defy the odds, you’re not necessarily going to be happier. Having been a career counselor to many people in so-called dream careers, I can assure you that you’re as likely to be unhappy in a “dream” career as is Joe SixPack.
So I would look for my new line of work simply by scanning the government job listings (For federal jobs, go to USAJOBS.), and I’d look for those jobs that require my core ability (the ability to communicate) and then write knock-’em-dead applications. I’d apply for a large number of jobs within a short period of time to maximize my chance of getting multiple job offers at once. That way, I could pick the job with the most characteristics likely to make a person happy in a job:
meaningful work, good boss, opportunities to learn, reasonable work hours and commute, and decent pay.