I am in the process of submitting my PhD thesis, and have been offered a 1yr post-doc role at my current institution. If it matters, I am in UK and work in applied mathematics at a well-known faculty.
My question relates to "traditional" career paths after the initial post-doc, or more specifically what are good reasons (or the only reason) for embarking on post-doc research? The reason I am asking this question is because I switched from industry (after 5 years experience) to research in order to carry out my PhD, which happens to be on a topic relevant to both industry and academia. So I have come to research and academia in a bit of a backwards way.
Like many other researchers, I found thesis work hard-going and throughout much of my PhD assumed I would simply slip back into industry after completion. But as my thesis began to reach the closing stages, and I reflect upon my work, I realised that there are numerous aspects of research that I genuinely enjoy, and value. But I do not know if this is a good enough reason to continue with post-doc research.
Thinking beyond my current offer, during my investigations for post-doc roles I have been struck by how transient, or temporary, many roles are (at least in my area). So my question is what are the traditional "end goal(s)" of a series of temporary post-doc positions? Am I correct in thinking that I should only be doing this if I fully intend on seeking a full-time salaried academic position? How long does this take, and what is the "success rate" of post-doc to full-time academic?
The thought of job-hunting every year, or few years, for the next X years seems quite...daunting. And I worry that if there is a high chance I will return to industry in X years time (for whatever reason) - then I probably need to factor that in to my decision making now.