When the job is highly related to my PhD field, I’m able to ramp up faster and apply my domain knowledge to the job. When the job is less related to my PhD, self-learning and soft skills are generally useful.
I would encourage people to think deeply about what they really want – if you truly wish to be an academic, that’s wonderful, but there is no shame in deciding on a different career, even if you have been successful in academia so far.
I miss neuroscience. I knew I would miss it even when I made my decision to move on. That said, I have found myself using the same mental research and problem-solving faculties in my current job, even though it has no link to neuroscience.
There are many more options out there than you’re easily aware of – some careers services may channel people towards certain career paths. It can be hard to see options other than academia when you’re in academia, but leaving isn’t a sign of failure, it’s a choice.