I know I said I would reply "by the weekend" a few weeks ago.. It seems a month ago now, but I have been far busier than I expected.
A post doc is now not an option. After speaking with my supervisors and industrial sponsors it is apparent that without a publication record its not worth pursuing a post doc.
I am now at a point where I will probably be walking away from this PhD with 7 months left to submission. I have a meeting with everyone in the middle of April where I will spell out my intentions, explain why I am going to quit and then go looking for a job in anything. I do not care what job I get, even if it is selling shoes in a shoe shop forever.
The past few months I have had weekly meetings with my PI's and essentially, from their tone and the desperation they have for me to get some kind of results, I will not be finishing on time, and hence I will not be getting my PhD. I will fail, this is an inescapable fact. No matter how hard I push, I will be failing this PhD.
My academic supervisors have basically said I have not been productive enough for their liking and stated in no unequivocal terms that I am a terrible chemist. My industrial supervisors have said that "it seems lab work isnt for you." These are damning statements on the surface but there is a whole long, boring story behind it all that basically stems from mismanagement of the PhD between academia and industry with me stuck in the middle trying to keep up with the ever changing demnads placed on me by both.
Industry says academia shouldnt be dictating the direction of the research, academia says the opposite. This has led to the current state of affairs: Three lines of incomplete research, one of which I have been working on, on and off, for three years, that should have been completed two years ago if both sides listened to me, instead of panicking now that I wont finish in time.
If both sides listened to me that the original synthesis wouldnt work, and wasting a year on it, then taking two years more to decide that the synthesis I proposed was worth it, I wouldnt be in this mess now.
If both sides didnt decide to go off on a tangent for a year and make me do a synthesis that was now admitted that "was never going in the thesis anyway" I wouldnt now be trying to do two years work in 7 months.
The fact I have no publications is precisely because I was never able to finish a line of research before either industry or academia decided to change tact constantly. Now I want to quit. I cant do it for 7 months more.