My research is in computational modeling of an additive manufacturing (3D printing) process.

My PhD advisor and now my postdoc advisor seems satisfied with my research output. My collaborators (professors from my university and other universities) seem happy with my work. I like my research field and there's so much to learn. I enjoy developing problems and finding solutions. I am decently published (8 publications) in my field and have received some commendation for my papers.

However, I feel I am wasting my time. I have been feeling this since midway of my PhD. I feel that my research is too easy and doesn't impact society or scientific community in any way. I think I am just good for short term projects and I am not required anywhere for permanent position.

I want to have an objective opinion on my experience and my career path. Is there any place to get that?

I am interested both in staying in academia or working in industry. I have applied for positions in industry, but openings are bleak at the moment and I haven't heard from them.

4 Answers 4


Your university might have a career services office that can help. Otherwise, hire a private career coach or consultant.


(This answer will not lead to detailed advice, but it will give you more objective feedback than any single mentor, coach or counselor can offer:)

Write job applications for tenure-track jobs. If you get invitations, you're doing fine, if not, you need to step up your game.


There must be some counseling service at your university. Many students struggle with that kind of self-perception problems.

I say self-perception because, as you mentioned yourself, other accomplished people around you are satisfied with your work. So maybe just reach out to someone who is psychiatrically trained and has experience with these kinds of problems.

Wish you luck.


I doubt that anyone outside your field can give you an accurate assessment of your CV and your progress. Your advisor seems satisfied, but you can seek the advice of other professors and/or industry professionals. Just ask for a quick review and if there are any glaring omissions.

But you should also explore Imposter Syndrome for which I see a bit of evidence in your post. A profession counsellor is probably your best option for such an exploration.

Or maybe it is just a bit of burnout, which can easily occur at about your career stage. The accomplishments you list aren't trivial. Moreover, you may just be at the point of true expertise in your narrow subfield, so your insights make things seem easy.

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