As some of you may recall, I spent a miserable winter unemployed after 16 wonderful productive years at the National Academy of Sciences.  Emotionally devastated by the unexpected lay off and ill preparted to undertake a job hunt having not had to really job hunt in earnest ever in my life, I was a text book case of "What Not To Do When You Are Looking For A Job".

I took the very first job that was offered me -- hey it paid $5,000 more than I had been making.  As it turns out, the job is at a DOD base in Northern Virginia doing purely accounting office grunt work.  I hate the work, the office environment is toxic and I feel like I'm working in a prison.

Not wanting to repeat mistakes made, I need to get myself on the road to a better career path, one that plays to my talents: database design, history/politics, statistics, excellent people and public speaking skills, and a quirky creativity that infuses everything I do.  So here I stand with hat in hand in need of the wisdom of the Kossack crowd. I need your help to guide me back onto a better career path.

Here's what I  bring to the table:

A BA in History from VA Tech -- my senior year I was on the Dean's List.  My uncle (retired professor of religion) thinks I should have become a professor of History, that I'm too smart to waste myself in what I was doing.

Over ten years experience writing complicated Oracle reports that married the data from my old org's accounting system with the large database created to run the Post Doc program my office ran. I was also responsible for documenting that database and office processes.  In addition, I automated a number of office processes, enabling my colleges to stop using typewriters and to do elegant merges of the Oracle data directly into MS Word forms and letters needed for the program. BUT I have no Oracle certifications etc. -- I learned Oracle like the back of my hand nearly entirely on the job and through a very valuable mentor/boss.

I'm also very at home with MS office -- as before I like to fool around with computer programs, really getting to know them and before long I become an expert at them.  

Finally, I "got" this whole internet thing back in the 1990s -- I ran an internet campaign "Friends of Due South" where I set up a simple but elegantly designed website and did the PR work for the campaign including writing press releases and doing radio/tv interviews.  Additionally I was the webmaster for Viewers for Quality Television.

So picking up the bits and pieces of my former experience, I want to move away from the DOD accounting hell I've put myself in, back into the database arena and even better maybe into an arena where I'd be involved in politics, non-profits/not for profits and my social science talents would be valued as well.  

So I need good solid advice on what career paths are out there for me, what courses should I take to get on that career path (not looking to go back to school full time but to focus on rounding out my database/web expertise) and ideas on how to link up with other area progressives to network both socially and to help in my search for a new career path.

Maybe I don't deserve any help, but I'm asking anyway. I do know that cannot go on in the job I'm in. So please take pity and give me your words of wisdom!

Originally posted to akeitz on Sun Jul 09, 2006 at 10:13 AM PDT.


What should Annie do?

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