Originally Posted by dctexan
Am also on the job hunt (last year of postdoc) and am feeling freaked out about committing to a life in academia. Based on my post-baby performance, I am not sure I am cut out for this. I am not sure I want this. I am so sick of the constant pressure to "produce", I dread any/all writing, students suck the life out of me, and I hate feeling like I am not living up to my potential. GAH. I still enjoy research (at least the planning/implementation aspect), but I am daydreaming about a life where I wake up, go to work, complete my daily assigned tasks, go home and feel DONE. Maybe a job at Starbucks or something. I realize I wouldn't be happy there long-term, but I am just so feeling the need for a long, long pressure-free break. The idea of starting a tt faculty job next Aug is twisting my gut into knots.
Is this normal or should I be paying attention to my feelings?
yes it is normal and yes you should be paying attention to your feelings
(what's the throwing tomato smilie again??)
I could have written that post about the time i was post-doc-ing and applying for jobs and having to appear as superwoman at all interviews while not being sure i was up for it. And that was pre-baby.
I think if I were doing my pretenure years again right now (not, you know, 30 and single and childless), I would have a much more mature outlook and healthier work-life balance. It took me awhile to figure that out. I think you would do a better job of that than I did. I had to sort of burn out then bounce back, learning the hard way.
6 years into it though, I have to tell you, it is VERY doable.
If what you need is a break, consider that you can always negotiate to start a little later. Maybe next january? once they've decided they want you, they will usually work with you. I 'finished' my postdoc at my new institution and spent the time getting ready so the new semester wasn't such a shock. They even paid me for part of it.
but i also believe in instinct... so are you just worn out and plagued by uncertainty, or there really something about academics that is fundamentally not right for you?