How should you decide whether to go into industry? Are there ways back after you have sold your soul? The occasion: I got an offer from a major internet company to work at one of their labs. I have until Monday to decide. At this moment, I don't have any promising leads to do the research I'm interested in inside academia. My advisor says that if I don't like it at this company I can always come back, but I am a bit doubtful of that…what is your take on this?It depends on the kind of industrial lab and how long before you would go back into academics. If you go to a basic research lab and continue to produce academic papers then you can find an academic job afterwords. You'll lose a little by not having teaching experience but that gets offset by having more time for research.
If on the other hand you go to an industrial job for even a couple of years and don't continue to produce academic research papers or attend conferences it will be very difficult to find an academic job afterwords particularly in a theoretically oriented field.
If you really want to stay in academics take an academic job that might not be to your liking and work hard to produce good research and try again later.
Do any of you readers have stories of people that have successfully gone from industrial jobs back to academics?