Signup date: 29 Sep 2017 at 12:15am
Last login: 26 Aug 2021 at 1:45pm
Post count: 66
Many years ago I worked in a lab which involved liaison with a senior scientist who was very blunt and came across quite aggressive at times, never friendly on any occasion. This made my job more difficult, I didn't enjoy the job because of this. I informed director of that area, they informed me they knew of this person's manner, there had been prior complaints, my role had a high turnover. However, I was informed nothing would be done as this person was an 'excellent scientist' and they did not want to lose him from the lab. I resigned and moved on. My initial Ph.D. supervisor had a similar manner, which had affected others, again its likely that nothing will be done about him. Given what you have said I would just move on, particularly as you are being subjected to negative behaviours from someone very senior. You sound like you are suffering from anxiety, my initial Ph.D. supervisor caused me to feel like this also.
I mostly wrote up as I went along, and the content of conference and journal papers became parts of chapters in my thesis. There was a period I then set aside to focus on the thesis in the final 6 months. Ph.D. students I encountered had quite variable working patterns, do what works for you. The hours I worked varied depending on what I was doing, when I had experiments running I would often be in the lab 7 days a week, other weeks would be less intensive. I advise aiming for around 40 hours a week on average, take breaks when needed and don't compare your work to others.
I was bullied during my Ph.D. and lacked supervisory support. There was a period of time during write up I had to take a break, I just couldn't look at the thesis for a while. Applying for jobs helped keep me motivated.
I also had depressive episodes during the Ph.D. I took breaks when I needed to and then pushed on. You are at the final stage now, just keep going. You perhaps have little over a month to get the corrections finished now, so I would just focus on this now as much as possible, ignore any negative comments from others around you. It helps to have a plan for after you finish, perhaps reach out to your University Careers Service if uncertain about your plans after the Ph.D.
I submitted around 15 applications, there were just three of those I could evidence 100% of the person spec for and I got an offer for one of those. I was interviewed for three positions before getting an offer. It is a quieter time now in respect of Postdoc positions being advertised, its a time when academics take holidays. I am not sure where you are based but I am in the UK and I wouldn't have applied for anything above a Postdoc in academia as I would not have met the requirements. I know former Ph.D. students in the US who have gone straight into faculty jobs shortly after their defence, so either a Postdoc or Assist Prof position can be an option there. 10 applications isn't that many, I think you just need to keep going, since you have had interviews you should hopefully get an academic position if you persevere. Doing something different so that you have income before securing an academic position shouldn't go against you.
I'm at a Russel Group University and have been subjected to victimisation as a result of speaking out about behaviours that I can only describe as bullying. I have just had to persevere with very little support.
I can only hope that Removed62360 does not ever get a job in a University given the views that they have.
I think if Universities require printing to be done they should cover costs. It is also my view that electronic submissions should be accepted and that hard copy submissions should not be mandatory. This also lessens environmental impact.
I think you may have a lower chance if you apply for funding once you have started and are a registered student. The University may just assume once you have started self-funding you will continue. I really would not even consider doing this without funding, especially not in the UK. I considered self-funding once. Most academics I spoke to about this were really against it and I fully understand why now. I did get a funded place but have still had to source other grants to go to conferences. Course fees and living expenses are not the only costs you will have.
I applied for a postdoc late last year which I didn't get shortlisted for, I emailed to get feedback and was informed they had about 50! strong applicants and those shortlisted had several publications. Seems there are a lot of people competing for Engineering postdocs currently, the OP just needs to keep persevering and get feedback where they can.
Where I study there are more Ph.D. students in Engineering than any other discipline, its likely a similar situation in other places. There are so much more Ph.D. studentships being advertised than postdocs. You are up against a lot of competition. Ensure that you can evidence most if not all points in the person spec for the role advertised. Ask for feedback even if not shortlisted, some may give it.
I have actually never had a progress panel review and I am now in the final year of the Ph.D., the failings in my case on the part of the University have been that bad. I always submitted the required documents for progress reviews each year. I am certainly experiencing the retaliation you refer to currently. I am trying to keep going and focussing on end goals.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
You say you now have a funded postdoc, my advice is to move on and leave the bad Ph.D. experience behind you. I can relate to how you may be feeling, I have felt depressed at times also. I am at an earlier stage currently and the reality of my situation is that I will likely need to submit my thesis early next year without anyone having looked at it. The bullying primary supervisor, who still causes me issues in the department, has not been involved for over 2.5 years now and a co-supervisor I have is nice but heavily overworked and has been ill and so there is not much contact there. I have been through the complaints process about matters relating to my PhD and supervision, that didn't help and nor did the OIAHE. I raised the matter of compensation for the delayed Uni complaints process with the OIAHE, and they ignored it. The OIAHE don't even stick to their own guidelines re. timescales. To get the best outcome from the OIAHE you need legal support now and there are solicitors who specialise in this.
I find what you say about your thesis not existing now odd, that couldn't happen in my field.
I know of another student in my department who had a supervisor who he had very few meetings with and little support from, he had 12 months of major corrections after his viva and like you no stipend during that period. That period should have finished a year ago and he is still a registered student with no thesis in the online repository.
I don't think you are going to have any chance of compensation for distress without legal support and what the OIAHE may or may not offer likely won't be worth the stress and time involved, and a court will not award compensation for distress for these matters. You passed the Ph.D. and now have a postdoc, and my advice is to focus on the postdoc, building your network and future opportunities.
I'm going through a period of fairly bad depression currently which I have been for a few months now, I'm in the final year so I am trying to push myself through it. I can relate to the issues with lack of interest and motivation. I find focussing on the end goal now helps a bit. When feeling depressed you can lose interest in things that normally interest you so it makes decision making very difficult.
Think about why you made the decision to do the PhD and why you chose your particular project. If this doesn't help to motivate you then you perhaps you need to think if the PhD is really for you. I have a history of depression and anxiety and have had a lack of support during my PhD and it has been quite a negative experience at times as a result. Having an understanding supervisor will help and is I think is particularly important if you are susceptible to periods of poor mental health, in my experience supervisors don't always have a good understanding of these matters and central support has been lacking for PhD students where I am. Now is a good time to engage with support services and see what the support is like where you are.
I would perhaps wait a few weeks now before making a decision to see if your mood lifts. At this early stage in my PhD I was engaging in training courses and face to face networking with other PhD students. I don't find what is offered online now substitutes for this. You are starting a PhD at a difficult time currently.
The other University which this postdoc went to is now advertising roles I am very interested in. I emailed and they replied back with a very positive email, they copied in this person and that was the end of the communication. I sent this former postdoc a friendly email directly and they didn't reply. Seems there is already an enemy there, perhaps they see me as a threat and this is now having an effect on job opportunities. I wouldn't like to work with that person anyway, the roles hadn't been advertised with them as a contact. I would like to continue doing related work, they pushed me from something I really wanted to do as a PhD student. I was able to do something related but it didn't interest me as much and I have had to work with very little support and have faced many obstacles. Hopefully I find a suitable interesting role in a supportive team.
I would advise you against starting a science PhD during the current academic year. Lab access is very problematic currently and the situation could worsen again. I have links with a US university and its interesting hearing of the situation there, of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases after the fall semester commenced and now plans to have remote teaching only after thanksgiving, they currently have a blend of in person and remote teaching. Given your past experience another difficult start to a PhD could be detrimental to ever completing one. Most importantly you will need to find an understanding and supportive supervisor if you decide to start another PhD. You will have more support and be less isolated if you find a PhD that is part of a training school/ Centre for Doctoral Training, sometimes these PhDs will have a requirement for industry input whereby some funding comes from industry and you have an industrial co-supervisor. Industry-based PhDs are few and far between as you have found.
You have job security currently, that is a good situation to be in. You can take time to think about what you want and find a good opportunity for you. It may help to assess your current skills, think about what you want from a career. Some career coaching may be helpful.
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