I would like to briefly explain my situation: I am currently a doctoral student at a German university of applied sciences in a small but growing institute (with a relatively good working climate). I am doing research in the engineering sciences in a sub-field that only seems to be significant for a very small amount of potential employers in industrial practice. However, I really like my job and, hence, considered doing a postdoc. After telling my supervisor that I would be interested in such a position, he has now offered me a post-doctoral position at my current institute, but has informed me that I must decide at this point in time whether I see my future in academia or industry.
His words actually got me thinking, as now I fear that the decision of picking up a post-doctoral position could potentially hurt my future career both in industry and academia due to the following reasons:
- As I have got my whole education at the same university of applied sciences, my chances of getting a position in academia seem to be very low. As, in my personal experience, universities of applied sciences often tend to be sneered at by the German scientific community, I assume that I won't really be able to gain a foothold in academia with my CV. The fact that I have never seen another university from the inside by the time of finishing the postdoc will certainly make this worse. I can also imagine going into teaching, but here too my education at a university of applied sciences will probably throw a spanner in the works.
- The engineering industry already doesn't really thank you for having a PhD, as many of my former colleagues had difficulties of finding a job with their doctorate. Doing a postdoc will certainly exacerbate this probem and possibly block my path into industry positions or industrial research.
Outside the fact that I really like my current job, my group of colleagues, and the work as a researcher (and that I might be able to bridge the effects of the pandemic on the job market by accepting the post-doc position), I can now think of only few reasons to accept the job, although I would really like to. Accepting the postdoc position is definitely a very good decision in the short term as it fits well with my current living situation, but in the long term the assumptions made above could certainly cause huge problems.
Am I thinking too negatively here or could accepting a postdoc position really be detrimental to my future on the basis of these reasons? Is it generally a problem that a postdoc could make one unemployable for the industry? Could it also be that, having spent my entire education at a small university of applied sciences, I should expect reprisals in a career in academia, too?
I know that no one here can make the decision for me, but I would appreciate your thoughts about my assumptions stated above.