I'm about 5 months into my postdoc now, and I am seriously questioning the choice. Most posts I read about this mention bad advisors, situations with the lab, etc. but in my case actually everything about the lab is great. I'm at the top institution in my field, with an advisor that is well respected in the field and has been around for a long time. The advisor is also an extremely nice person, supportive and consistently provides positive feedback when you present work. The group is also great, full of really smart, but really friendly people. They work a lot, but that's really the only flaw in the group culture (aside from not being the safest in lab maybe). The group is also well funded, and my advisor is supportive of working on anything that is interesting. It seems like this should be an amazing opportunity. Resources galore, support, and scientific freedom.
But here's the thing, I'm totally miserable and haven't accomplished anything tangible that I can call my own. I have helped some people with their projects, but I haven't been able to figure out something to work on that is my own. My PhD used some of the same fundamentals, but this was a relatively big switch moving into the postdoc. I expected some time would be necessary to learn new things and get going, but I barely feel like I've moved forward. I tried several ideas, but nothing panned out. Now my advisor has suggested a new project to make this device, it would be slightly more related to my PhD and we have some of the resources needed to do it, and wrote a proposal to get more, but I'm still really struggling to get going. I feel like this new project doesn't involve many fundamentals, and is just engineering together existing pieces that have all been done before. If it works it might be interesting, but I really struggle to see how I could use it to do fundamental science, which is what you need to apply to academic jobs in the field. I just feel like I am failing at a key part of being an academic, which is coming up with new ideas. At some point that has to catch up to me and my advisor will notice.
So what I am struggling with is whether I should stick it out and grind away on this new project that I don't have much faith in, find a new postdoc and try to move labs (I am not willing to move cities since my partner is also here doing a postdoc), or should I just start looking for an industry job in the area (which would almost definitely come with a much worse commute, but twice the salary)? But if I did the industry search I'm not sure how I could do that without telling my advisor because I would only leave if I got a decent offer. The other labs that would be relevant for my experience are a lot less well known, and I don't think any of them would have as nice of an advisor.