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I had lost interest in my PhD topic during second year of my PhD. However, I continued. I thought, I shouldn't leave something halfway. My topic is "numerical modeling of shot peening process". Example publication (: paper) I was involved in simulations only and not experimental work.

In my naivety, I thought, I shouldn't leave my PhD after 2.5 years and I should focus on getting published and return back to my home country for academia.

It took me 5 years to submit my thesis and now I just have 3 papers and no postdoc job offers. My PhD is not rigorous and though I can publish many more Q1 papers on the topic, I don't enjoy the topic. I love doing research though.

I want to try for academia. For that, one needs at least two years of postdoctoral experience. Should I continue with a postdoc in a similar topic as my advisor has offered me one? Is it common to not enjoy one's own PhD topic?

I am just frustrated with myself for not leaving the PhD earlier and now I am stuck with a poor CV. I don't know what I am doing with my life.

  • Hi skwdup! I'm a bit confused, you mention that you currently have no postdoc job offers in your third paragraph, but in the four one you state that your advisor has offered you one. Which one is it? – Jeroen Nov 10 at 12:24
  • My advisor has offered me one. But it is only because of not getting anything else. The contract would start from January. I have no other or external offers as of now. – skwdup Nov 10 at 12:53
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I'm not a personal or employment counsellor, but you should probably visit one.

However, I think the only big mistake you made was to be born in the year you were, leading up to finishing your degree in a period that is very difficult for academics generally with an unfavorable job market and, then, along comes the pandemic. It isn't you, of course. Being depressed is pretty natural as long as it doesn't reach the level of a medical condition.

But, and this is employment advice, I guess, do what you have to do to (a) get through this period with short term or less-than-ideal employment and (b) use whatever opportunities you have to move your research to an area that you are happier with. Develop contacts with people who do interesting things and who can potentially help you move on.

You can't have the past back to do over your previous life. But you can take opportunities to move to a better place. It won't be easy, but the failure is with the general systems, not with yourself.

I was one who also finished up at a time of turmoil in the academic market and had to compromise drastically to stay in academia. But it worked out over time, and not quickly. I was able to find a job that worked, if not ideal, in a place that I enjoyed and developed some contacts and relationships that helped me move to a better situation. Make do for a time so that you can make better later. Really, it is about all one can do.

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