My time gets clocked to the mechanical engineering department. I about danced a jig every day for the first, sheesh, I don't know, two months? I still get a little heart skip sometimes (like now) thinking about it. I work in the mechanical engineering department. I work in the mechanical engineering department!
I finally landed an honest to goodness drafting job. Not that I had to search very long, it's more that I put off my career in a misguided attempt at raising my kids "right" and not pursuing a satisfying career but instead being severely dutiful in simple low-level part time jobs to the detriment of my finances and happiness as they were growing up. I have regrets about my choices, but meh, it's in the past, over and done with, and I'm really excited about my new career taking off and I can devote myself to career now like I always wanted to, and the kids are entering adulthood and are both very happy that I'm finally excited about my job and talk happily about it. Now they smile and tease me about my enthusiasm.
In my quest to gain entry into the career I had longed for, the thing that helped me most was being a member a local professional group. Although none of the members gave me a referral (and I did not ask for one), and they did not put me in touch with the company where I landed the job, the conversations over the past three years of attending quarterly meetings helped me gain a better understanding of the industry and what hiring managers needed - so I could tailor myself to meet those needs.
Besides that, the half a dozen failed interviews also helped tremendously in understanding how to better prepare for the next time.