After PhD and a year of postdoc in mechanical engineering, I accepted a position of a scientific editor with a publishing company. The pay is decent but not great. I have been working in the new role for the past 9 months.
So far I have been finding the job quite interesting though not as enjoyable/stimulating as a industrial research (which I did during postdoc) or my research during PhD.
A part of me wants to explore this career option to the fullest. Being a publisher or project manager/data analyst/strategy director for the publishing company. Acquire skills for making progress in my career (PMP, scrum master certificate, study data science, etc).
On the other hand, I miss being relevant in research and academic fraternity. An industrial research scientist position will be a good middle ground between academia and my current job. However, there are not many permanent R&D industry jobs in the country where I live. And I don't see myself as an academic at the moment. I am just not smart and hardworking enough to be one.
This is making me feel that I have chosen the easiest option. I should have struggled a bit more before settling with the current prospect. I am probably harming my potential by not seeking postdoc positions or applying to tenure track positions.
I am not sure what career decision I should take. Staying in my current role longer would make transitioning back to academia or research impossible. Also, though I enjoy research, and might get a position in future if I try for it long enough. I don't know if I have it in me to keep struggling.
I feel judgmental tones from my PhD colleagues or other friends when they hear I am not doing research at any capacity and working as a scientific editor. This makes me feel "lowly", "unaccomplished" and "settled" with my decision.
Is it normal to have such thoughts after leaving research and academia?