I am a postdoc who is considering finding employment in industry. But at this point I have not yet made a final decision to leave academia, and I have already applied to several academic jobs, from which I am awaiting responses.
One of the reasons why I am cautious is that I do not have a very good understanding yet of what it would be like to work in industry. I considered sending in an application to a company, but in the end I have not done it because I did not feel that I was 100% in, and I was worried that if I do get a quick offer and reject it, it may leave a bad impression.
Here I am looking for advice on how it would be perceived if I were to send an exploratory email with the goal to try to better understand what the work and the working environment would be like. I would explain that I have not made a decision to quit academia yet, and that I am looking at both academic and industry jobs. I would tell them that I am looking to learn more about the job. But at the same time I am very worried that this kind of inquiry would be perceived negatively, and maybe even hurt my chances at a potential future application. Perhaps companies are expecting applicants who are 100% enthusiastic about the job, and do not sound cautious. After all, they might get countless applications, and do not even bother responding to such emails. And I heard multiple times that companies like to avoid candidates who are 30+ year old and have never had an industry job.
The problem is that without contacting a few companies, I am not sure how I could learn enough about this kind of work to be able to apply with full confidence.
I am also interested in how quickly applications are typically handled at companies, or whether there is any standard at all. Should I expect feedback in a week, a month, 6 months? With academic jobs I can at least make a reasonable guess.