I think I will start this with a post-mortem on my academic career.
I don't think I've ever really liked academia. The goals and aspirations of the academic life just do not seem to be as focused as I want. When I ask myself the question "Why am I doing this?" in academia, too often I cannot find a satisfactory answer.
Let's be a bit more practical here. If I wanted to be a successful academic, the route would be
a) publish often
b) achieve grants
c) develop students
My basic problem is that I don't find the things I have been working on to be terribly important. For example, I was working in London on the problem of estimating divergence times within mammals. While that is an interesting problem, my interest in the problem is somewhat limited, in that I don't want to spend years on it. But that is how actual research science progresses.
This raises the question of whether I can repair the career in science by being more focused on what my objectives are. But there is a problem with this attitude. Namely: life is going on and I see lots of things going on that I want to be involved in, and my research career is not bringing me any closer to these goals.
Part II: the goals.