This week I am in San Francisco, the city that Tony Bennett loves so--and with good reason. Of course, being one of the priciest locales in the US, this place is lovely: wonderful weather, art galleries on every corner, beaches, hiking, great local food. The purpose of this trip can be seen as threefold: 1) to enjoy myself and take a vacation while I still have a relatively flexible schedule and lack of 9 to 5 job, 2) to see if this might be a place I could live, 3) to meet with potential employers.
I have set up several informational interviews with businesses and organizations in the area. I have done one of these already and find it's a good way to get an idea of the different careers out there that may be related to your background and education.
The process of setting these up can be a little more time consuming. I sent out a dozen emails but received responses from only three organizations. But the effort can be worth it. The informational interview is much more casual than the job interview but is an excellent way to make contacts with potential future employers. You can try to ask the real dirty, gritty stuff about the job. And you may find out about the stuff that people don't usually tell you in the job interview: the major challenges, the daily annoyances, the perks, and the general office atmosphere.
In the meantime, I am (with a healthy dose of guilt) enjoying some fabulous sightseeing and R&R--more on that in the next post.