I know quite a few people who are re-evaluating their careers. I did that in 1999. It took a couple of years but ultimately, I landed a job that was better than I could have imagined and fit me better than I knew.
Here's an outline of the method, in the hope that I can help others get there in a lot less time than I took!
1. Define your ideal. This is the hard part and is the subject of another pos, "How to Find Your Passion."
2. Write a resume and make it a rifle-shot. Define it EXACTLY for EXACTLY the job you want. Imagine a guy out there who has just written a job description for a position you want and make that resume play directly to that person.
You may encounter other jobs that are also what you want -- write a separate resume for each. Each resume should laser-focus. The Objective on your resume should never use the word "or."
3. Post it everywhere. Be a resume slut. Now, you may not want to do this (especially if you don't want your employer to know) but it worked for me -- the job I have found me. I would never have found it myself.
4. Make a list of companies you admire and begin hitting them up.
5. Tell everyone and when you talk to someone, always end with, "do you know anyone else who might know of something?" Always.
6. Read job listings. Not just for the job you want but also read the job descriptions for ideas that you can use to fine-tune your resume. (My story: I had been looking for a year when I saw a job posted that jumped off the page. The job description was precisely what I wanted and beautifully written (thank you, Ed Colligan). I applied and in the end, didn't get that job — but my new resume, with its career objective built on that description, was eventually seen by a recruiter who was working for my current employer.
7. Never turn down an interview. The job I have sounded horrible right up until I signed the form, which was after three or four rounds. And every interview teaches you more about what you want and how to present yourself.
8. Never show up at an interview naked. I finally figured out that was a mistake.
9. Use recruiters, but remember they do not work for you. You cannot depend on them alone.
10. You'll get turned down, rejected, bla bla bla. So what?
11. Send thank you e-mails. Hardly anyone does this and as a hiring manager, I will tell you they help. A written note is nice but you want to avoid seeming too desperate or weird. I think an e-mail is safest. Short, simple, cordial, and definitely do not sound desperate.
12. Be persistent and diligent. It may take a long time -- mine took over a year. That's OK.
13. Make sure your resume has no typos, no spelling issues. None.