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Tuesday, 4 June 2019 at 4:33am
Friday, 7 June 2019 at 1:28pm
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Thread: Relationship with supervisors unworkable months from finishing

07-Jun-19, 13:28
by Kelpie1
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posted about 1 week ago
To everyone - all of your comments are helpful!
I guess one of the things unique to this position as a PhD student is the solitude, so just having people relate to what you are going through , or sharing their stories give you a healthier perspective.
One of the things my husband told was - "think of the worst thing that can happen (not get a PhD). Now imagine it. It's not so bad is it? the worst possible scenario is disappointing - but not an all consuming disaster!". And I gave to agree. Almost everyone I know deals with some type of crap or failures in their lives.

With regards to complaints - at this moment I am giving my supervisors the benefit of doubt, but I did fully involve my committee. I thing that (at least two of them) are genuinely non-malicious (the third guy - only god knows, as he keeps fighting with everyone else) - but because this type of horrendous behaviour that does verge on bullying is sort of "encouraged" - they feel free, and even obliged, to act like this. And my main supervisor, instead of making it very clear to them that "this is NOT OK" , keeps laying the blame back on me. They also have some social issues - the perks of doing a PhD in engineering.

All in all I think getting some support and understanding from peers goes a long way. After 6 years in paid work, with crappy bosses and annoying colleagues - i have to say the PhD experience is a lot more challenging, and not necessarily for the "right" reasons.

Thread: Relationship with supervisors unworkable months from finishing

05-Jun-19, 02:35
by Kelpie1
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Thanks for your reply guys/gals!
I'm trying to muster up the strength of character needed to push through. The idea of rocking up to my graduation with 2 kids does sound appealing :).
I bet you do remember the process though - how demoralising it is, and how it can make you feel like a failure.

Thread: Relationship with supervisors unworkable months from finishing

04-Jun-19, 05:46
edited about 23 seconds later
by Kelpie1
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posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi All,
I would really appreciate some advice - especially since I have no one to consult with that is in a similar position.
I have been doing my PhD for the past 4 years (incl. mat. leave and a switch to part time) and am very close to completion. I initially had 8 months, but then found out I was pregnant again so that cut my time in half - which put me on a super tight schedule. So obviously this is a stressful situation.
This is made much worse by my supervisors: their constant and unrelenting criticism of everything I do, and much worse - everything I AM. It has been a problem since the start, but recently has gotten worse to the point where i feel it borders on bullying.
These 'episodes' are triggered by short, benign, technical (one might say boring) conversations which then end up with as 5-hour explorations into what is wrong with me as a person. I never know when "what do you think of this figure" will spiral into "why you don't deserve a phd".
Also there are no other students in my lab - just two postdocs who are hardly there, and the trio of people constituting my supervisory team. So really no one to have a conversation with who can understand what I'm going through, offer advice or just hear me out / provide positive interaction. My main supervisor doesn't acknowledge the extent of the damage caused, and thinks the problem lies with me. I am of quite a mature age - nearing 40, so obviously this is not the first time I have a boss, or a job, and even doing a research degree. In ALL previous instances I have always found a way to work collaboratively with people I don't necessarily like, ending with very good outcomes.
Together with the stress of time, the pregnancy hormones, and the fact that I can't afford a week of doing jack and just recovering mentally - mean that I really haven't been dealing with it well at all. I am also worried about being so stressed and depressed during pregnancy.
I am a bit stumped as to what to do. Quit - even though I am nearly finished? Continue - even though I don't have a working relationship with my supervisors? I have no interest to continue in academia , but also wouldn't want the last 4 years to have been in vain.
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