So, I've started to explore my options a little bit. I know that I will be able to stay in my current lab only until the end of the year.
Plan of action:
1) Wait to hear if my fancy K award is likely to be funded (followed by groveling as I scrounge up a way to keep eating until the checks arrive
2) Apply for another, less cool K award. Employ same strategy as above
3) Explore industry options.
Wait! Why does that last one feel odd to me? Why does it give me pause? Is it the unknown? I can't say I really have a good understanding of all the possibilities industry has for me.... I would make more money, have less stress, and might even get to spend more time with my family than I would as a tt-prof. Although I think that last one is a moot point - some things, like seeing my children grow up, are not worth giving up just to get tenure. I would never (or so I tell myself) sacrifice my family. Basically, I share the same fears Harry Chapin did (see below).
Maybe part of it is that I feel like a failure if I give up and go industry. But why? The work isn't any less rewarding, is it? And it's not like many academic researchers ever get to truly see their work become translational.
So, what is it? Morality, perhaps? I've always held that running a lab is essentially the same thing as running a business. Instead of profits, you pursue grants. But is still the same. Chasing the money, and yet I view academia as more... pure?
But hell, I've only been sniffing around a couple of places and they seem downright excited to talk to me. They feel that I can contribute NOW, and are thrilled that I might join them. And this from informational interviews. I haven't even begun to look....
Or I can do another postdoc and try getting a real job in 2-3 years.
Methinks I may have some serious introspection coming my way.