I find myself in a complicated situation. I am about to finish a 3 year Postdoc, and have been applying to other postdoc and professorship positions. However I have not been lucky so far, without even a single interview.
I am even wondering my path in academia as it feels that all these new positions keep asking for unrealistic experience levels. Some positions even go as far as rejecting candidates that defended their PhDs for more than 3 years, which I think it is hardly a reason to reject very good candidates.
I work in materials science, my background was inorganics, but did a PhD thesis in organic polymers, in a group that only works with inorganics and has very little to no knowledge in polymer science. Because of this I ended up publishing much less than my peers, and my supervision was not great (including toxic environment, threatened to be fired, forced to agree with the supervisor, and micromanagement). My postdoc is also in polymer science, in a completely different work environment: no meetings, total freedom, very little feedback, and the usual "you're a postdoc" statement whenever I ask for genuine feedback.
I want to continue in polymer science, but diversify into electronics, yet no PI/institute has answered a single application. I have also tried grant applications, which also resulted in nothing, often with no tangible feedback on what could be improved. In my current situation, writing and applying for funding is out of question, huge risk, no grants are opening now, and would leave me unemployed waiting for a chance.
They want scientists to have a broad knowledge and creativity, but only hire people that have devoted their research to single topics. Ask for teaching experience for a basic entry level of professorship when not everyone can do teaching because of contractual limitations.
How do I move from this? am I stuck scientifically and cannot explore new topics? or is the system already so rigged?
I would love to get some feedback from fellow postdocs and even some professors. I understanding this is a more "ranting" or subjective post, but I think it could benefit some people (like me) to perhaps see this whole situation from a different perspective.
EDIT: To clarify some points - I have been in three different countries already (mobility), at good universities, and actively try to apply to different places in different countries, primarily within the EU. I have a broad experience in physics, engineering, characterization, materials, and polymer science. I have tried to ask for counseling from different supervisor and professors at different stages in my career, but it comes always to the same: "you have to publish". From my different conversations with different professors it feels like many are disconnected from today's market reality, retaining the idea and experience they had 30 years ago.