Hello everyone...first time poster, but I have been lurking on styleforum for the past few years. I'm hoping that I am able to get some good advice from like-minded strangers and that you guys will go easy on me.
I've been working in sales for the past 10 years, and 5 of them have been at my existing company. My existing company is a very small company that sells industrial equipment to manufacturing facilities. To be perfectly frank, I have not liked it since day one (March 2011), but I am paid relatively well (120K or so annually) and have a lot of perks. I can go on for hours about why I do not like it, but it is just a poor fit for me*. In addition, I moved to a new city for this job and I work in a very small office with people that are all 20-30 years older than me (I'm 35) so I became socially isolated as a result of this. I have worked a lot on myself for the past 2 years or so and I am now pretty happy with my life. As a result of this happiness, I am much more confident than I was and ready to make a career change and do something different. The issue is that I have not networked much over the last 5 years, and I haven't really grown much professionally.
The last 10 years I have worked in Sales, and prior to that I was a mechanical engineer. Prior to that, I was in college and received a degree in mechanical engineering. I don't feel like I am qualified to do much other than Sales, but I am kind of tired of it and would really like to get into Finance, Consulting, Politics, Media, etc (at least I think I do). What I am looking for is some guidance in how I can successfully make this transition and not take a significant pay-cut. I really do not want to spend the time and money to go back to school for an MBA. By the way, I'm in Atlanta.
I have been "shotgunning" resumes in response to jobs on LinkedIn and my college alumni job board, but have not had much success. I have also recently applied for volunteer work at museums and cultural attractions in my city as a way to meet more people and build my network, but haven't heard back from them yet.
I understand that I am like a fat person that just recently decided they want to lose weight, and that there isn't a magic bullet and that I can't just undo 5 years of inaction, but I am committed to doing this and will appreciate advice you guys can give me.
*The job is boring. I don't have to work hard, there is no opportunity for advancement, when I do work I have to get dirty and ride 3 hours in a car by myself.
EDIT: It also might be worth it to mention I don't wanna do engineering either.