Overview of pm133

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pm133
Friday, 8 January 2016 at 12:02am
Thursday, 23 March 2017 at 10:39pm
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page 1 of 14 recent posts

Thread: Upgrade process

posted
23-Mar-17, 23:45
edited about 17 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 hours ago
Quote From nake:
Hi,

Thanks for the comments.

Yes, I guess it should be my approach, they think am not showing enough enthusiasm and they want me to mix up more with other students. They want me to talk more at meetings. They also want me to challenge their views but in earlier supervisory meetings where I did this or made suggestions based on my prior research experience about a particular method we should use, my opinion wasn't regarded. At times I would be told to go and find out from certain methodology experts and those experts still end up making the exact recommendations which I initially made, they don't acknowledge that I also said the same thing, or trust my opinions better. This was why I finally decided they should have their way instead, but now it seems that's also a problem, I can't seem to get it right with them.

I attend research events, but they just recently pointed out in this last meeting that they expected me to report back to them after every event or interaction to tell them what I learnt. But why wait for me to be halfway through a PhD before pointing this out.

They have also mentioned that my meeting agenda is not detailed enough, that they weren't expecting bullet points of issues, that I should provide more detail in this. My initial understanding of what an agenda means is that it should be bullet points of issues I want them to discuss, but if that isn't what they wanted, they had about 1.5yrs to say this but they didn't, and they waited to this moment to flag up such issues.


I am going to make a stab at this. It sounds to me like your English is the problem here.
It's very common for people without English as their first language to focus on the actual language itself, syntax etc. but neglect nuance and context, which leaves them completely baffled. Sometimes this is a cultural thing and sometimes it's just an experience thing. A natural English speaker can usually sense cues from body language and context that the exact words being spoken are not literal and require careful interpretation. Us Brits for example can be VERY bad at being straight with people. For example it is considered extremely rude to tell someone their work is terrible, Instead you will usually have a Brit tell you that it perhaps needs tweaking but overall it's a decent enough effort. We apparently want to give you the impression that we want to help you whilst denying you the exact information you need to actually help yourself.
British people have an infuriating way of literally killing you with what they genuinely think is kindness. It makes us very hard to trust IMO. I suspect Americans have the same issue as do Canadians etc. All of this is very upsetting to foreign visitors to our shores.

Thread: Finding a PhD with a specific interest already in mind.

posted
23-Mar-17, 23:28
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 hours ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
You can approach potential supervisors in the UK with project ideas, but it's unlikely a supervisor will have funding and so they would then have to apply on your behalf which could take years. You could give it a go and see what happens.

Alternatively you could apply for a funded PhD in a similar area and then apply for a fellowship yourself for your idea after finishing the PhD.


This is what I did as well.
The downside is that after 3.5 years of taking direction in terms of overall objectives(although working largely in isolation to expand and then achieve them), there is a danger that you don't develop the skill of seeking out your own questions and creating your own big ideas.
That is a problem I now face right at the end of my funding.
Literally 3 minutes after formally submitting my thesis on Wednesday I stood outside in the rain to take in the wave of euphoria and relief and suddenly realised I hadn't a clue what big ideas I wanted to submit to a fellowship committee.
It seems that great age doesn't necessarily bring either great commonsense or the ability to control a wave of panic :-D
Still it was nice to get 3 whole undisturbed minutes of bliss.

Thread: Literature Review Struggles!

posted
23-Mar-17, 23:22
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 hours ago
Quote From matt123:
My advice would be to make a draft plan. Specifically, write a skeleton contents page, which contains all of the sections, and subsections that are important. Essentially, it's like writing the contents page before the lit review but in this way you will quickly establish some kind of structure. Then write under the various heading s and you will quickly see it coming together.

My background is in Life Sciences so I am not so familiar with social sciences sorry, but I can sympathise having had two supervisors from two very different fields! I had two completely different areas to talk about that had to merge. I made a few suggestions on some of the crossovers and this became my PhD project. An interdisciplinary approach is a good thing especially concerning publications. I hope that helps :-)


That's brilliant advice and it's exactly what I did as well.
Cannot imagine trying to do it any other way.
It allowed me to split my thesis intro into a series of 3 page blitzes per mini topic and allowed me to easily structurally knit them into a sensible overall story.
Mine was in Theoretical Chemistry but I suspect all sciences will be easy to breakdown this way.

Thread: I need a solicitor !!

posted
23-Mar-17, 23:18
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 hours ago
There is something about this story which doesn't add up.
I have a gut feeling that you are not giving us the whole picture here.

Successful people generally don't get kicked out for no reason but you appear to be painting the picture of the good student who simply loses their position for no reason whatsoever.
In all my years of experience watching working relationships break down I have never seen one which is completely one-sided like this and whilst I am happy to be proven wrong, I tend to always trust my experience and instinct.
My guess is that you have either given the impression of not been putting in enough hours, not getting good enough results, not achieving other targets expected of you or have been at the root of a personality clash. Those are the usual problems in 99% of all cases I have observed and I have seen way more than I can count. For what it is worth, I personally have been at the centre of 3 of those and it took me a while for my ego to accept my role in my own downfalls. I now advice other similarly hot headed individuals who seem intent on making the same mistakes as me.

Three things have been brought up by you which raise red flags for me. First you were told by more than one person that your scientific English isn't good enough but apparently you have disagreed with all of them, choosing instead to believe the word of a non-expert. Re-thinking this would be a good idea.
Second that your hours are not up to scratch and nobody else in close neighbouring groups recognises who you are. Again apparently literally everyone is telling lies and you are the only one holding the truth?
Then thirdly you appear to have pressed the nuclear button by making a formal complaint and then announcing in front of the university authorities that you are terminating all contact with your initial supervisor when it seems you have already failed your viva and been replaced. That smacks of ego right there.

You need to be absolutely honest with yourself here over what went wrong before you waste money on a court case you will certainly lose.

Personally, just based on what you have posted, I would agree with a poster above and strongly, and I do mean strongly, recommend that you drop this, learn whatever lessons you can about yourself and move on.

One caveat. I am, as I do with everybody else, taking your series of posts at face value. The above is the impression you have left on me. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong on any of this.

Thread: Prof's response on Postdoc in Germany

posted
23-Mar-17, 22:56
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 7 hours ago
Quote From ranpeace:
Hi all, I will complete my PhD viva in August 2017. I recently applied for a postdoc position in a german university. And professor said that profile sound interesting and I can join him as soon as I complete my PhD. I was extremely eager to work in his lab. I replied him thanking and accepting offer immediately. And I asked for any further information they wish to provide or they may seek from me. But its been 24 days since I sent reply. No communication after that. Are they usually take this long. what if they dont reply at all. Any suggestions on what this means. Should I apply somewhere else now.


Did you have an interview face to face or over Skype?
If not then I think you might have misunderstood what he meant.
Are you absolutely sure you have been offered the job?
I ask because you used the phrase "he said my profile sounded interesting". That sounds like an offer to write to him again after graduation rather than a firm job offer.
Has he made a firm contract offer with paperwork being sent to you?

Thread: Do other PhD students find it difficult to meet a partner?

posted
23-Mar-17, 22:47
edited about 5 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 7 hours ago
Thank you for replying :)

Just to be clear, by institution you mean department right? Please don't tell me you are advising against a relationship even with PhD students from different departments/schools within my university? That would make things very, VERY, difficult :D[/quote]

My advice is going to be a little blunt but I am trying to help you here so bear with me.
Your original post seems to betray that you have two problems not one.
Firstly you are lonely for friends. Secondly you are looking for a partner.
I believe your second problem is causing your first problem. You are making the classic young person mistake of confusing friendship and partnership. Separate them out.

To explain this perhaps you could consider why on earth you would write off your female colleagues are "too old" for you when they are barely into their thirties. Too old for what? Friendship or courtship? Why write them off for both because they are too old for courtship?
Is there some problem you have socially which makes incapable of talking to these people as friends? That might sort your first problem out and in doing so you might actually solve your second one inadvertently because these young women will almost certainly have friends If they get to know you as a friend they might be more than happy to introduce you to someone special. I would be prepared to bet that women in this age group would be happy to "mother" a young guy and help them out.

If you want to sort both problems out I would suggest you take a more mature outlook and stop writing people off because of their age because when you do that you should listen very carefully. That banging noise you hear will be doors of opportunity closing all around you. Get yourself some friends first and foremost and go from there. It's way easier to make friends than to pull a date.

Oh and one other thing now that you've annoyed me a little. You should be aware that you are on a website where a large number of us are of a vast range of ages. Some of us are in our 40s, 50s and 60s. It's best under the cirumstances not to wander on talking about people at 33 being too old if you want help. It's likely to piss people off. Just some advice my friend. I hope you take it as such.

BTW I wouldn't let people catch you talking to rabbits :-D

Thread: Postdoc/researcher without grant/salary

posted
20-Mar-17, 23:57
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 days ago
If the year of unpaid work will give you valuable experience and you can support yourself then it is a total no brainer. - take the job.
It has to be better than sitting at home doing nothing and will prevent gaps in your CV.
I have used this a few times in my career and it has always led to paid opportunities elsewhere.
Good luck with your situation.

Thread: Going forward???

posted
20-Mar-17, 23:51
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 days ago
Quote From Fled:
Warning I am somewhat of a radical, but I firmly believe there is no reason to do shit you hate (unless you are your family are about to starve.)

I say figure out what you want, and reverse engineer. I discovered what specialisation I really loved halfway through my PhD, so I pivoted, and made sure I was able to write at least 1 paper about it, and now I'm just obsessed with cracking into that field.

Be empirically lead by what you love doing. It sounds airy fairy I know. If you are not sure, experiment (depending on how much leverage you have). DO NOT go with the safe / sensible option if you have the choice man. You will be tiptoeing to a super resentful retirement.


Excellent advice. Wanting to avoid a resentful retirement is a large part of what drives me.

Thread: Going forward???

posted
18-Mar-17, 03:07
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 days ago
Quote From Mackem_Beefy:
Okay, food for thought here.

My job hunting is proving fraught as it's turning out that my skills set was very specific to my last employer. Prospective employers, even if I was to stay in "Quality" (ugh) are all asking for different skill sets and therefore retraining is looking increasingly unavoidable.

Therefore, if I have to retrain then I would prefer to retrain to do something different and my gut instincts to say do a Masters to retrain is seemingly looking to me to be the right path.

The problem is when we opt to do PhDs, we focus very narrowly on portion of a field making us very niche. One employment agent who has looked at my CV has said directly I've done lots of niche projects, making me appear very specialised. Another difficulty is the PhD puts it in the mind of employers that Im going to move on the moment something better comes along as well as appearing too academic. That is depsite a substantial period in my previous "Quality" job.

My retraining idea may sound counterintuitive, however, if I can fix my core Engineering skills to make myself more attractive to employers then this seems to make more sense to me. The alternative, struggling to find a job I enjoy or doing a job I seriously don't enjoy (and now struggling to find even that), is not an enticing one.

There are two approaches I could take. The first is to go full time for a year to be able to sell my new skills set at the other opportunuity (student loans required, which I could live with). The second is part-time for a few years alongside a job (even a Quality one), however, there is a risk whathever job I take could pidgeonhole me further. I'm therefore erring towards option one, that being my "gut" and I've tended to do better when I've gone with my gut.

PJLU, if I can locate the extra "author" then I'll contact him for a copy of the paper.

Ian


I always trust my gut. Like you I almost always end up making the correct decision 99 times out of 100.
Going through that process right now. Submitting this coming week (finally) and havent a clue what I want to do after. Have an option for a postdoc and had contact from two people about a couple of jobs but my gut is drawing me to have a go at self employment. Sleepless nights hence the lateness of the hour. I am on the verge of passing up 3 well paid positions to try my hand at seeing if I can create my own technical product. I dont even have a product in mind but my instinct tells me that if I mess around with some electronics an idea will present itself. This is what my gut is telling me to do and i am inclined to listem to it. Good luck with your decision.

Thread: Who's doing the weirdest PhD?

posted
13-Mar-17, 23:28
edited about 12 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
On a serious note. The Tories are always looking for ways to save money. If they read this thread I think they would have a few ideas about how to cut research funding and to be very frank I think we would be hard pressed to defend some of these research themes at a time when disabled people are having their benefits cut. Blue sky research is one thing but some of these research areas are simply taking the piss.

Thread: Accommodation Options for a Mature Postgrad

posted
11-Mar-17, 20:39
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago

Does anyone think it would be a bit 'odd' for a 35 year old to live on campus


Worry less about what other people think and care more about whether you would personally want to live on campus.
That might sound a bit harsh but it's not meant to be.
You will be studying alongside people who are 17-24.
Do you really want to live anywhere near them?
Accept that you are going to stand out.
Some of them will find it weird that you are in "their" environment and will do anything to avoid you.
You need to not care about these types of people or you might find life difficult.
I went through all of this. It's a great experience but I had to pretend I wasn't seeing some of the things in front of me like not being invited to things where everyone else was going.
You might find yourself being "shoe-laced" as well.
This sort of thing might drive you crazy if you let it :-D

Thread: Wanting to quit my PhD

posted
11-Mar-17, 20:25
edited about 7 minutes later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
"I currently have no desire to continue in the research field or the subject area my PhD is in if I finish it, so is there any point in me continuing? "

If after just 5 months in, you have already decided this is not for you then there is no point continuing. Nothing else matters.

You have a few life lessons to learn very quickly here so I won't beat around the bush. I am not having a go at you here - I am trying to help you :-)

1) You need to learn to say No to people starting today.
You have become overwhelmed by work piling in but you haven't learned to say No to people and so they will pile more on you. This will not change until you learn to control what other people are allowed to pile on your desk.

2) You also need to learn to prioritise. It should be obvious that your top priority is to learn the background theory so why on earth are you allowing other people to distract you with technician responsibilities? What your industrial sponsor wants is irrelevant. They have no control over you. Don't allow them to push you for results. Give them what you discover, when you discover it. Don't let them set the pace. Same for your supervisors. Get the theory learned and then make your own decisions about the dirction you want to take. Don't let anyone else bully you.

3) The wedding. This can be as difficult or as easy as you want. I am not going to advise you here. I will merely tell you what I did with my wife because we were busy and had no money to waste on one single day. We eloped. We found a registry office where she was born and got married there with a couple of witnesses and a meal afterwards followed by a couple of nights in a B&B. We knew we would have probably 50 years to be "romantic" when we had more time and money. In our view there was nothing romantic about spending £5k to £10k on what was essentially a party that we wouldn't be able to enjoy anyway because we would be stressing over how perfect the bloody cake was. Best and most relaxing, fun and stress-free days of our lives. I will leave it at that.

4) "I want to leave but it will just be another example of me being a failure". On this note I am not good with self pity :-D
You need to stop this. It's destructive.

Personally I think if you have genuinely lost interest in the PhD then you should bail now.
Staying with it because you have "nothing else" is a terrible idea because the damage caused to your mental state by staying in a job which has made you post the above set of posts might become irreparable. Not everyone is cut out for a PhD. Stop beating yourself up and concentrate on understanding who you really are and finding a career which suits you better. There are no failures in life. There are only bad choices and bad matches. Almost all of which can be fixed simply be making better choices which match who you are.

Thread: Will my literature review be read?!

posted
11-Mar-17, 20:09
edited about 9 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Quote From acecard:
I'm my supervisors first PhDer and to be fair he is very enthusiastic so i do believe he will read it. But do you think my examiners will??!!


That is irrelevant but it is safest to assume that they will.
It's irrelevant because you should not be writing the literature review to pass a test or an exam.
You should be writing it to provide yourself with the background you need to succeed at a career you have committed to. As a result you should be trying to produce an excellent piece of work regardless of whether or not anyone else reads it.

Thread: Going forward???

posted
11-Mar-17, 20:07
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago

I was made redundant at the end of last year and looking at my CV, mooted returning to Uni. for a year and retrain to break out of Quality as a career. However, a former colleague said quite bluntly that I should be looking at professional and not academic qualifications at the stage my life is currently at (now late 40s).

Thoughts?

Ian


You need to ignore your colleague. With respect, anyone talking to you about late 40's being too old really should be ignored. It isn't too old. This is just an utterly ignorant and outdated view which wouldn't be out of place in the 1970s. Unless you plan to be a professional footballer your age is irrelevant.

The only thing that matters is what you want to do. Decide on the career and that will dictate the path you need to take. If that requires another degree then you should consider doing it.

Thread: Examiner Disagreement

posted
11-Mar-17, 20:01
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Congratulations. I can't imagine how it must have felt to go through that nightmare.
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