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Changing PhD, advice needed desperately.

Thanks for the responses all! To Tudor: I spoke to my supervisor and he is 100% okay with the situation. In fact I was taken aback at how kind and helpful he was, and I feel orders of magnitude better than I did before I spoke to him. He did say he would be able to give me a LoR and that he would highlight the positives of my time and not draw attention to my quals, so that is really kind of him. As for experience I have applied for some semi-relevant roles that I'm just waiting to hear back from. I was going to do a fair amount of reading on my own time between now and then anyways though, so there's that too. I have also spoken to my previous MSci supervisor, and he has also said that he is happy to provide a second academic reference for me, so I have two.

To Jamie: That's a nice way of thinking about it. I feel blue now - but not in a bad way :P. My MSci was quite data heavy and I really enjoyed it, so it's definitely an option. I've applied for a few (non academic) graduate roles in the data science field so one of those options may play out too. In fact I only opened my laptop to do a video interview for one of them... but here I am!

To rewt: thanks for the input - I'm glad the consensus is that I won't be unsupervisable. Since my current supervisor has said he'd offer me an LoR, I think I would be silly not to mention it in my application at some point as questions will surely be asked. I think my reasons are sound however - I just need to make 10000000% sure that next time I've made the right choice!

Changing PhD, advice needed desperately.

Hi all!

I'm currently doing a PhD in particle theory in the UK. I have dreamt of doing exactly this since I was in VIth Form, however as soon as I arrived at my current institution I began to realise I had made the wrong choice. I found that I really struggled with how abstract the whole subject was. I also was not 100% sold on my supervisor's research topic, however I thought that given time I would come to enjoy the field. Then to top it all off, I failed my first qualifying exams in January because I simply didn't put enough time into solving problems, instead focussing on trying to get a good understanding by reading extensively. I spoke to my supervisor about the quals, and he was understanding - I can't complain about his supervision at all.

Since then though I have been on a downward spiral of trying to get motivated/interested in my field, whilst really not enjoying it at all and being ever so concious of the pressure of the second round of quals. I really don't think I will be able to complete the whole PhD, because I just don't have the interest I thought I would have. Then just this week I was offered a well paid graduate job near my home town. I am going to take it, and leave my PhD, because it isn't fair on everybody involved to drag things out.

With that being said, I really am not enthused by the job - it's definitely a stop gap for me. I really don't believe that I am through with academia, or that I am not capable of doing a PhD - I simply feel as though I picked the wrong field entirely. I had considered climate science/meteorology before deciding on HEP, and I think I want to try and reapply at different universities for a 2020 start in this field.

Is this possible? Am I going to be radioactive for leaving early? How should I maximize my chances?

Thanks in advance!