I've applied to several Grad schools in this US. I expect to find which schools accepted me soon.
I like to do physics (I'm currently working at a research institute on an interesting project, and I've already published a paper and met a lot of people in my field), but I suspect that I will not be happy going into academia. This suspicion stems from my experience with post-docs: They get paid little, are not in a place for very long, and their work does not guarantee a long-term position in the future. I've met post-docs in their late 30's.
So, I'm having a bit of a crisis right now. On the one hand, I can see myself being (overall) happy in graduate school, and not worrying about what happens after that. On the other, it is possible that I end up hating grad school because I come to consider it a waste of time, since it may not prepare me for the job/career that I will finally want/get. Of course, I'm worried that if I pass up graduate school, I will not be able to find another job and be forced to live at home bagging groceries full-time.
I need to make some tough choices very soon. Does getting a PhD in physics (most likely Astro in my case) open (non-academic) doors that would otherwise be closed? Is it OK to enter a PhD program with this in mind, or are the chances of burn out high?
I'd appreciate any thoughts or advice.