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I think my situation is somewhat unusual and goes into the opposite direction: I have the possibility to move from industry back to academia.

Background: I have been working in an industry position in my home country since I finished my PhD (6 years ago). My sector is going through mergers and acquisition, however my situation seems to be stable right now.

My job is kind of OK but I don't want to live in my country anymore. I always wanted an international career and dreamed about the possibility of going back to live in the USA again. For this reason, I applied and has been offered a postdoc job position (in the USA) and need to make a decision as soon as possible.

I do not mind going back to the lab bench and doing basic functions again, once it leads me to live in America. My overall idea is to work for 2-3 years in this postdoc position, so I would have enough time to obtain the permanent residency and then move back to industry, entrepreneurship, or another postdoc position (I really don't want to get a teaching related position).

Concerns: Am I being crazy about considering going back to academia? My salary and benefits would be way lower, but I don't need much to live. There is no other way to move overseas with a guaranteed income.

It has been a long time since I left the academic universe, so I would appreciate any feedback regarding my plan.

Thank you.

closed as off-topic by user3209815, scaaahu, David Richerby, user153812, Stella Biderman Aug 15 '18 at 14:47

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  • Every argument you give points in the same direction. Why are you hesitating? Your life is yours to define. – Buffy Aug 15 '18 at 11:16
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    The only problem with your reasoning is that, as I see it, you do this primarily so you can "live in the USA again", because "[t]here is no other way to move overseas with a guaranteed income". Regardless of whether this is true, you should be careful when idealizing places, institutions, people, etc. Greener pastures are usually only greener from the distance. And it seems you don't want to get back to academia, just use a lower payed job as a foothold for the same kind of job you have now, only in the US. In my opinion, that is a very very weak reason and I urge you to reconsider. – user3209815 Aug 15 '18 at 11:37
  • You are likely to be on a J visa, and there are residency rules around that. For example, it may have a clause meaning you have to go back for a minimum period. – awjlogan Aug 15 '18 at 12:10
  • Do you have a R&D position? If so, then why consider a step-down to postdoc? Why not a sideways step into academia? – user2768 Aug 15 '18 at 15:13
  • If your goal is to immigrate to the US, you should think carefully about how this post-doc will help with that- what kind of a visa will your employer be sponsoring you for? Post-docs are typically on J visas that don't provide a path to immigration. – Brian Borchers Aug 15 '18 at 15:56
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Let me be clear: you don't want to move back into academia; you see academia as a stepping stone in a lateral move to a different country. I think this difference matters, because most of the conventional problems that people have when moving back into academia (is my track record good enough? are my connections still active? etc.) don't apply to you, given that you already have an offer. For your ultimate goal it matters little if you are successful or not in your postdoc. Consequently, I am not sure what good advice we can give you: if you want to move to the US, and this is a way to move to the US, what more is there to say?


That said, I can't help but wonder if there are not much more direct ways to achieve what you try to achieve. If you are employable now for an US company, can't you find a job remote and move directly to industry? If you are not employable for an US company, will a postdoc really change this? If you don't mind a pay cut, would an internship not be a better way to get into companies? Have you fully understood the visa implications? What will you do if at the end of your postdoc no industrial positions are forthcoming?

All in all, this seems like a fairly contrived way to achieve your goal. I am not saying it's necessarily a bad idea (there may be industries were "being around" is required for job hunting, although my field - IT - is certainly not one of them), but it feels you should still explore alternatives before committing to this plan.

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