It's always scary having so many possibilities open, but no clear idea how to proceed!
When you say that you want to fix things, are you talking on an IT scale or on a larger, fix-the-world type scale?
For what it's worth, my husband loves his MBA program at Bainbridge Graduate Institute
. He's taking the hybrid option, so he has online classes three days a week and he has to travel to Seattle once a month for an intensive. We're only a few hours away from Seattle, but I know there are people in his cohort from all over the country. He's only been in school for a few weeks, but he's already gotten a ton of career counseling and support. And they have to do a study-abroad segment later -- it will either be in Spain, China, India or Cuba.
I gave three examples of this in an earlier conversation on the topic: I'll repeat them here, since I think they're about representative of the varying scales of problem-solving I do.
Example number one: you know I beta-read a lot. That's because I have a good big-picture understanding of how to make overall narratives work better and also a good understanding of the little details that will make a sentence less awkward. I love doing that.
Example number two: when I got to the call center I was previously at, I noted that we had resource guides for the Twin Cities clinics but not the other clinics in the state, and started lobbying for us to have those guides for out-state clinics so we could serve them better.
Example number three: when I got to college, I was like "I love vocal jazz, but there is nowhere on campus to sing it!" I started up a vocal jazz acapella group to fill in the gap.
I go back to this kind of thing over and over and over, and I'm really good at it. I don't want to do a job ever again where my job ISN'T to fix problems.
Given that skill set, I think you'd be a great MBA candidate. You would probably be great at resource management or community planning or investment. The cool thing about an MBA (as opposed to so many other degrees) is that it's so very versatile. It opens a lot of doors, but it doesn't lock you into any one field. And the interest in China would just be icing on the cake!
Also, don't know that getting a good MBA would make me more likely to get the kind of job I really WANT to do, which is fixing things, and I'm afraid of committing that much time and money to something IDK if I even want to do.
I would suggest informational interviews here; I think Option 6 also sounds like a good idea. If your interviews don't get you anywhere...well, they still do, because that's new information you didn't have before (e.g. "business analysis is not really for me").
Option 6 sounds like a good place to start. Avoid option 5 unless cash flow becomes a serious problem. I'm going to be bitter and jaded, but making a good impression doesn't matter unless it's going to get you somewhere better, which the temp jobs likely won't. For option 8, call the Grinnell career center and alumni center. You're an alumna. Go network through your alumni network for career advice and options. Option 7 only works if you find specific career fairs that serve your area of interest, and target them. It honestly seems like an excellent way to waste a lot of money to me.
If you want connections for teaching English in China, I actually have some friends who went and did that.
I can't really speak to many of the options, but I can speak a little to option 8 (and hopefully I won't sound condescending or be telling you what you already know). I would explore your low or no cost options for counseling first. I second thegelf's suggestion for trying your alumni network, and I would also look into the Minnesota Workforce Center. I met with a counselor there when I was unemployed and it was free, though her advice was a little hit or miss (yes for the resources for finding academic positions, no for thinking "work at an independent bookstore" = "start my own business"). They also have plenty of literature there, and (I think) might offer aptitude tests, that sort of thing.
The public library has also offered workshops for job seekers in the past, so you might look into that (check the "events" page on line ). These resources will be very general, but even very general information might help you narrow down your options a bit more. At the very least, if you then decide to go to a paid counselor, you'll probably have a better idea what to ask them, and may even find out where to look for one.
Good luck! (I hate making decisions myself.)
Definitely #6. Possibly combined with #2. Figure out somewhere you want to be, get your foot in the door and make sure everybody knows who you are. Start by volunteering if you have to-- what are you doing during the time you used to spend at work right now? As for paying rent, you could try commission-based article writing for the internet? It's often boring and you know you're working for the forces of evil, but I paid my rent on it for a winter of no work by writing 2-3 hours every day. If you're interested, I can try to hook you up with some people who do it as the company I used to work for is no more.
I think volunteering (anywhere, actually) is an excellent idea. Even if something isn't directly related to your career path (or to any of your possible career paths), you will expand your network with people who know you as a volunteer, which means they know you're capable of working hard without regard for the monetary compensation. And people like people like that.
Not sure what to do about cash flow in the meantime, however.