I completed my PhD in 2020 and have been working in a science policy analyst position since 2021.
I enjoy the work that I am doing but it doesn't feel the same kind of challenging and intellectually stimulating as my research experience during my PhD and postdoc. I read papers broadly associated with my field (materials science) but they are often unrelated to my past research experience.
I often feel that I could have done the same thing without a PhD (even though it was a requirement), and my masters degree would have sufficed.
When compared to compensation, the salary is less ($80K) than what an assistant professor gets in my country ($110K). But the working hours are strictly 35 hours a week, so I have a healthy work life balance.
However, I feel that I am underutilizing my potential and have wasted my PhD degree.
Any advice for me? How to overcome this feeling of being useless when not contributing anything to research? Does this ever go away?
My PhD advisor has offered me a part-time research associate position, that can be worked on during the weekends. This will bring in $10k extra. Will it be a good idea to accept it?