I was hired by a research group which - as they stated during the interviews - wanted to invest in my field and strongly needed my expertise. However, I am being the only person in the group with preexisting experience on the topic. This is resulting in severely working overtime (at least 60 hours per week, but there are also peak of 14 hours per day). This the highest workload I have ever had (even heaviest that phd) and I am feeling like I am close to burnout, both physically and mentally.
I talked to my manager about this but they said they are not able to find people to help me due to funding reasons and because it’s difficult to find someone with the right profile to be put on the projects they assigned to me. They say I don’t have to work overtime and that I can delay deadlines. However, this would result in less papers, and still I would be the only person on the projects whereas our ‘‘competitors’’ from other labs, either American and European, have larger teams with postdocs and phd students. That’s not a really ambitious perspective.
Even if they told me that they wanted to grow in my field, I knew this could be a possibility in this institution. However, I received the offer in the middle of the pandemics, they where the fastest to made me an offer and with a short deadline for acceptance, so accepting looked the best option to me. My contract is temporary due to company policy, but they want to keep me (if they don’t offer me an extension, I would probably be the first one in the group that cannot keep the job). In other words, I am staff but renewed year by year until the law of the country permits it.
Soon after other offers came, but I had to turn them down as I had just started here. Some of the offers are still available. What they don’t know is the contractual details (fixed term contract and that they plan to keep me).
How do you think I should proceed? In particular, considering that I am definitely burning out, would it be acceptable to quit a fixed term contract for probably better conditions? By probably better I mean higher salary and (hopefully) lower workload. Also, should I disclose the perspective employers that I would be interrupting a fixed term contract? There is a high chance they would still come to know from my present managers, as my field is an extremely small world.
I am starting the second year and, in case of hiring, I would be able to give a notice of months (approximately from 2 to 6).
EDIT - PLEASE READ: What I am asking, in other words, is not choosing between (A) working normal hours and produce less than other group, and (B) working overtime, keep production up for a while but then produce less because I am burned out.
The real choice is between (A) working alone, either on regular time or overtime, and produce less than bigger teams and (B) quit and accept the offer from one of those bigger teams, where I could work normally and still have high impact in team.