I just graduated with my Ph.D. in Physics from a highly reputed (although not top 10) university in the U.S. My dissertation research was in optics and photonics. I am currently looking for jobs and postdocs. My current long term goal is to find a faculty position (if I can manage that in this job market...)
I'm in a bit of a tricky work-life situation right now.
- For a variety of reasons that I won't get into, I wasn't able to start looking for postdoc positions until 2-3 months ago, and given how "random" the timing of academic postdoc openings can be, I likely haven't given myself enough time to get multiple decent options to choose from. Fortunately, it looks like I will very likely get an offer soon from a well reputed group at a top university (located on the east coast of the U.S.)
- However, my partner recently relocated to the Bay Area for a really good term-limited but prestigious job that she landed, and I'm really happy for her. Ideally, I was hoping to find a postdoc position at one of the universities there so I could be with her, but given that I only gave myself 2-3 months for this process, I haven't succeeded in finding anything in that geographical area for now.
As a result, one option I'm considering is to take up an industry position for 1-2 years while my partner finishes up her appointment, and I want to look for postdoc positions after that to continue with my original goal of finding a faculty position. Taking this "break" might would allow me enough time to do a more thorough search.
Here is my question: Assuming that after 1-2 years in the industry I'd still want to return to academia, would I be considered "less desirable" for postdoc positions at very active research groups than I am now? Or am I better off going with the postdoc position that I'll have (i.e. on the east coast) instead? Of course, I know that this is ultimately a personal decision, but I'm wondering to what degree my academic prospects would be hurt if I "take a break" from it at this stage in my career.
TL;DR: Would spending 2 years in the industry right after graduation hurt my chances of landing good postdoc positions later on?
- I'm currently 27, soon to be 28, years old, if that matters
- My research is in photonics, and there are a number of good photonics companies in the Bay Area now, so I'm sure I'll get to do good technical (albeit not publishable) work
Thanks in advance for your time!