Let me begin with a short disclaimer: I am aware that similar questions have been asked here more than once. However, none of the answers seemed useful to me and hence, I decided to make my own post about it.
I'm 29 years old, having just finished my PhD in math and working as a PostDoc (fixed contract of 1 year). The focus of my research is on analysis in partial differential equations (nothing numerical though).
Backstory: Although I could never imagine myself doing something different than being a researcher, as soon as the last year of my PhD started, I began thinking of leaving academia. The reasons: lack of motivation/inspiration for research and overwhelming chase of permanent position (if you get any after all). It took me, of course, more than half a year to realize that I am not a sort of "quitter" and I just simply changed my mind. For anyone wondering why did I continued as a PostDoc, the answer is "because it was the only job I could find at the moment". It was an offer that came out of the blue and I mostly grabbed it 'cause I would be unemployed otherwise. However, in the back of my mind, it was also me giving a second chance to academia.
But no, unfortunately it does not work out. Teaching is something not only I feel good at but also enjoy sometimes. Yet, I would not like to remain "teaching assistant" for the rest of my life (bad salary and no growth expectations). On the other hand, research is something that bores me. I see no interest/motivation in studying new tools and techniques or proving another theorem in which we simply replaced the X assumption by Y. Cherry on top, I do not feel that excellent/pro in research and this makes me feel even worse every time I have to study something new and uninteresting. I do have some papers besides my thesis but I never felt as comfortable in research as I do in teaching.
To the point: I really feel that my time here is limited and that i have to jump off the boat (although it might be a bit late; I'm 29 with no working experience). My huge problem is that I do not know where to look at. Once, when I was 16, being a scientist inspired me so much that I never questioned any of my choices (bachelor,master,PhD all back to back). I was just doing what needed to be done in order to reach to my final destination. Now the destination is foggy and this is sad (if not devastating). I see a lot of mathematicians jumping to data science or software engineering but I am not quite sure that I would enjoy something like that. Moreover, besides some basics in Matlab and Python, my programming skills are not that great.
- Do you have any suggestions on how to get inspired/motivated again for a new career goal? I am not afraid of having to educate myself further as long as I am passionate about the goal.
- Is there anything else, besides data science, programming and banking (which I find completely dull) for mathematicians with no previous working experience? Preferrably something challenging, with career growth and home office possibilities, that is is sexy and fun (as being a researcher was :P)
I apologize for the super long post but I thought a few more details would be important. Many many thanks in advance for your time. Any feedback is highly appreciated!