Back to Academia after a Year in Industry?! - (Jan/06/2012 )
I think the last time I posted here was a bit over a year ago, when I was finishing my PhD. So since then I've finished my PhD (in California), I was offered a position in industry (Clinical Development) and I moved to Europe. I've been in this position a year now, and I am seriously considering pursuing an Academic Career instead.
As a PhD student I had the opportunity to do some clinical research (similar to a Phase 1 clinical study) which I really enjoyed. Now my job is in Phase 1 clinical studies in industry, but of course there are many things that are different from clinical studies in academia. The politics in industry in Clin Development are horrible, don't know if they are any better in pre-clinical/research or in other companies. The head of the department I work in is not the best leader, needless to say some people have left because of him. I really don't feel like this company has the enviroment for me to reach my full potential, has no mentorship, or guidance for professional development. Hence I am tired of this job and the atmosphere here.
I don't know if I should try to find another job in a different company or try to go back to academia (here in Europe).
I really have that gut feeling that my true passion is in Academia. I am considering going back to Academia as a postdoc since I only have a year since I graduated from the PhD and I would need to have more publications to be able to apply for some assisstant faculty positions (at least that's my guess). On the other hand, maybe another company would be better and after some year in industry I could go back to academia as a professor, but since I am not in research in Industry (but rather in Development) I think that may be more difficult than for those who spend 10 years in industry research.
I'm also in a relationship, and he is finishing his PhD here in Europe (1-1.5 years more), which for now limits my options on where I can go. If I do a postdoc here, afterwards I might want to find a faculty position here, but faculty positions here are more scarce (I guess I would really have to network here while I'm a postdoc). I could potentially go back to the states where I know how the system works in Academia and maybe it would be easier for me.
Has anyone been in that situation? wanting to go back to Academia after a short period in Industry?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I have moved back and forth from academia to industry a couple times now. Academia can certainly offer more pleasant working conditions, but you really have to be certain that you will have a career at the end of doing a post-doc. As you make your decision, I recommend that you just assume that at the end of your post-doc you will have to look for a job in industry. From a career standpoint you might be better off staying on a standard career path, even if it means you need to change companies. The years of experience accumulate quickly and promotions will come.