I've been a neuroscience postdoc for the past ~2.5 years and have recently applied to Assistant Professor positions in various R1 universities within the US. I decided to apply mainly for timing reasons: there were lots of good open positions and I'd had a very productive 2018 (with many pubs from grad school coming out). Now, having received several interview invitations, I'm starting to wonder what I'd do if I got offered a job.
The reason for my hesitation is that I have changed areas in my postdoc (going from experimental work to theory/modeling and machine learning). I really like my new research area, but I feel like in the past 2.5 years I haven't learned enough about it yet, nor have I established myself as a theorist/modeler. There's so much more that I still want to explore, and I feel that as a PI I would not have the time to learn and develop new research directions, new collaborations, etc.
If I do end up getting a job offer, would I be crazy not to take it, given how competitive the market is? More generally, what's the right time to transition from postdoc to PI?