While chatting to a colleague recently, we talked about the timing of moving back to the west and his philosophy was that when it is the time for such move, one would feel it... For me that call started a few months ago in this Persian gulf state. First, I realized that work and progress has slowed and social interactions both here and in Iran are becoming repetitive and customary. After finishing the housing project in Iran and finishing the postdoc time, I feel it is the time to go and settle myself back in the US.
There are several lines of thoughts and ideas which are influencing this decision:
Relatively true ideas:
1. In the gulf, my possibilities will be limited to an academic/teaching life. Am still not convinced that will be the right route for me and also if that will produce a long-term career for me. Am really concerned that staying here will push me in to becoming more side-tracked and insecure and end up getting stuck in the gulf for a long time. In the US, I might be able to seek opportunities in the industry and establish an average engineering career.
2. If life is going to happen in the US for the next few years, then why not doing it earlier. As a matter of fact it is the time for my family to organize some aspects of life in the US. Even with respect to the relations and marital life, independent of the person who will be my wife, it's better set shop in the US and then make a marriage move.
3. The direction of my university under the new management is unclear and shaky. I feel to some extent this happens in many of institutions in this country and part of it relates to the very complex geopolitical role that this country is playing that confuses all investors in tuning and predicting the future. So all together, it might not be the best place to invest unless one can build a very strong relationship with the main campus and secures something over there.
False and illusionary ideas:
1. I'm not that productive here in Qatar and can be more productive in the US or I'm not learning enough here in the gulf and I can learn in the US.
2. I cannot do the type of work that I like in the gulf and I will have more freedom in the US.
3. Concerns about the gulf, politics of the region, Iran, etc which might affect life security in the gulf.