I finished my Ph.D. in mathematics in 2016 and then worked at the same university (in Germany) and under the same professor (now retired) as a postdoc for the next four years. I knew my contract would only last until the end of 2020, so I started applying for positions in academia around June last year without any success.
Late 2020, I eventually started applying for jobs outside of academia which worked better insofar that I am currently employed, working full-time providing for me and my partner.
In the meantime, I made several attempts to return to academia, prioritizing jobs with an emphasis on teaching in comparison to research, as I believe that I am more capable in teaching and I enjoy it a lot, in particular when it is teaching math students (especially undergraduates). Unfortunately, none of my applications landed me any interviews.
I struggle to believe that I am not qualified for the jobs I applied to, yet I get told repeatedly that the amount of applicants better suited for them is so large that I get cut prior to the interviews.
I am aware of several issues with my CV, but I am not sure how to overcome them:
- I have no real experience in obtaining funding.
- I have not published a lot.
- My research subjects seem to be not that popular nowadays (representation theory of finite groups and stuff).
- During my time in academia, I, unfortunately, did not bother building a network, becoming a visible part of the academic community and now lack connections (and consequently letters of reference).
- My contractual focus in academia was mainly on research, not teaching, and most of the teaching I did was not independent teaching, at least not on paper.
These are just the problems I am currently aware of but I do not know how relevant they actually are. All these points are definitely somewhat approachable while working in academia, but since I am now outside, how can I tackle them? Is there anything else I can do? Or do I have to just keep applying and hope for the best?
Added (28.08.): Given all the questions in the comments and answers (Thank you all for your input!), I guess I need to add a couple more issues to my list:
- My affinity towards programming, simulation, data science, optimization, and the like is small at best.
- I am currently employed in the finance industry (banking supervision) and am not going to have any leading role here in the foreseeable future.
From what you tell me, it seems that together, these points would make the 'Fachhochschule' path almost unattainable. Point 6. is also a reason for me to believe that it would be difficult to find something actually interesting outside of academia.
As to why I want to return to academia, the short answer is: Because I love teaching mathematics and there is no other place to do this properly.
But then again, I get your arguments and it is probably a good idea to stop dreaming and face reality.