Next question: what do you gain if you abandon one bad road for another just like it…or worse? If you decide to re-route your life, consider making your new direction less stressful. This doesn't mean that stress is avoidable or even undesirable. Just consider a new route that generates less pressure. Why? Look in the mirror, really look. What has your life been costing you? Is the money and position really worth the damage done to your body, your relationships, and your quality of life?
Re-training was my first thought about how to navigate a job-less situation. If the answer to your question "what now?" is "I've always wanted to… (you fill in the blank)," then what would be needed to accomplish that goal? Consideration: is the training itself going to be a barrier? One person in our family wanted to enter the medical field and quickly found that the preparation is a relentless nail-biter. Many times training pressure is unnecessary and considered hazing (I've witnessed this first hand) - even if the perpetrators and victims don't admit this.
Interesting note: I've already looked for medical schools, using every key word I could think of, that have high marks for humane training. If anyone knows of a medical school with reasonable training, please share. For now, look into Drexel University College of Medicine. Or try a School of Osteopathy. Both paths lead to a physician's certification, but osteopathy trains quite differently. (The reason I've chosen osteopathic doctors for over 20 years. I'm sure there are patronizing, unpleasant D.O.'s out there - I've just never met one.)
Two blogs about medical school and stress:
From a student's perspective - http://calnewport.com/blog/2008/07/24/is-low-stress-med-school-admissions-possible/ From a medical school professor's perspective - http://medmasterbooks.wordpress.com/about/
Is retraining worth it? Look here for some considerations. http://blog.jobfully.com/2011/06/does-retraining-pay-off/
Google: What fields are hiring (add the year)
Where to get money for retraining? No surprise, but it's a lot harder than it was two years ago when there were stimulus funds available. Some things to consider: was your old job moved out of the U.S. (look at Trade Adjustment Assistance 2011, a newly re-funded source, are the funds you are seeking a grant or loan (grants usually do not have to be re-paid, but there could be conditions attached), the field you want (some offer financial help), where you live (some local colleges and institutes offer help), your age (some fields favor older applicants), Check out http://www.top-colleges.com/blog/2010/05/25/paying-for-college-tuition-after-being-laid-off/
Where could you go for re-training, some ideas and pros/cons
Consider re-training only for a job that excites and energizes you; the inevitable stress of re-tooling your potential can be lessened!