Overview of Cakeman

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The Other Side...

Returning from the dark side after only 5 months?

I suspect i'd be quite similar if i'd taken an industry job. Trouble is the constant moving around may get the better of me in the long run, I still can't find anything else I would rather do than be a post-doc, so that's me for now.

SOunds like your fairly similar

Is it becoming more normal for students to take amphetamines to get them through?

Surely, the stimulant powers of any amphetamine are no match for tea and cake?

If those two both became illicit substances i'd have been F***ed

What a joke, if you need drugs (aside from the above mentioned tea and cake) to finish a PhD chances are you were simply not clever enough in the first place.

Advice for supporting a PhD-er

If you want my advice, go out with me instead! you sound so kind and caring.

But seriously, my advice is don't ask too much about the work just give him plenty of time and space to sort it out. Be aware that he could be going for a while yet.

For a light hearted insight into the lives of PhD students, you could try this website: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php. Not directly relevant, but it may give you some understanding. I found it quite funny and much of it is relevant to British PhD students, even if it is US based.

All the best, Cakeman

Your lessons learnt - what and how?

Hi Folks

Re Sneaks, that comment totally strikes a chord with me too. My supervisor was so bad (not entirely intentionally, she was v busy and had very little background in what I was doing), I basically designed and ran my own experiments from start of year 2 onwards. From getting no good results for the whole year I went on to pass in 3 and a half with a few papers hopefully still to be published. The worst thing is my supervisor has never had the balls to admit that it was all my ideas. In the end I was working on the basis of having an idea, and thinking it through. If i could find no reason it would not work, then try it, it usually worked.

Strange dilemma

Hi Folks

I'm currently working as a post-doc in the medical school of a red-brick, russell group university. As a general rule i'm happy with my job on a day-to-day basis and work fairly hard at it (mostly 45-55 hours per week). I also have a boss who is very reasonable to me, and whom I would consider a friend also.

Somewhere in the last 6 months, although I still like my job, I've sort of decided academia probably is'nt for me. I think the lack of stability and short contracts thing is starting to bother me. As i said earlier, i'm happy with the job I have, but not sure I can be arsed with moving around and constantly worrying about my next contract. I also don't think i'm really interested in being a lecturer, although i do like research.

It's been made more complicated lately in that my girlfriend now has a fulltime permanent job albeit one that pays 10k less that mine, so i feel a bit pressurized to try and find a job where she is (we are currently long distance, about 150 miles apart), so we can settle down etc.

My main problem is I really don't want to let my boss down by moving outside academia, although I consider him a friend, I think he would be quite put out by this, also I can't really find anything else I would rather do than academic research. I think about something like school teaching but I don't really fancy it.

Any suggestions or inputs would be much appreciated, firstly on understanding why I should feel so indebted to my boss, and secondly if you know any alternatives to academic research that you may have found equally fulfilling.

Publishing a second paper

No particular conventions in my field

if your article is similar to the last one, maybe the same journal is fine, or if you think you could get higher impact, then go for it.

There is'nt really such a thing as publishing etiquette, it's not like journals have feelings or anything, as a general rule aim to submit to the best journal you think might accept your article. Obviously if its the same article, you can only have it published once, but you probably already know that.

Trying to find a high paid job, is it really worth it ?

Good for you Gudwin

I quite agree with you in many ways, I now have the PhD and a post-doc job and therefore reasonable money coming in etc, but at the same time i'm stressed as anything and have very little time to do much, or many friends outside of work. All in all I think I would probably be better off with something like you have. I was'nt thinking postman specifically, my initial thought was something like working as a youth hostel assistant, something where you get accomodation thrown in, so you don't have to worry about the bills too much, but merely accept limited income. My contract is up in 16 months and i'm sorely tempted to do what you are doing. I'd be interested to hear how you get on.

ATB, Cakeman

Super published my co-authored work as his own


I'm not entirely surprised about this, some academics seem to go in for this type of thing. Have you been in touch to check that this was not simply a mistake? that would be my first option, after that I would simply write to the journal and state that some of it is your work and not your supervisor's. When making such allegations, proof is often required, do you have such a thing eg an accepted PhD thesis from the institution with some of the contnets of this report in it, or some other published document with tis information in it that acknowledges you as an author.

Without evidence, it becomes your word vs his which could be difficult, but if you have evidence, then take him down.

When you say ex-supervisor, I take you have finished working for him now and have completed your PhD, and don't have anything else you wish to publish with him? if this is the case you have nothing to lose by kicking up a fuss about this behaviour

The One Goal Thread


Does your husband not do any housework, your even having to pack bags for him?. Please say there's a good reason for this

PhD superstitions?


I do both of those things too, but i did'nt think either was particularly strange

Acknowledgements seems reasonable - don't want to tempt fate plus opinions of people may change if you don't pass. I did'nt have any acknowledgements in the submitted version, I put these in after I passed.

Formatting - I don't do any of this untill i'm happy with a body of text and it is complete, my way of signing it off as a done job I suppose.

I don't think i'm crazy at all

Second Phd vs Postdoc

Surely, when you've gone through the post-doc level you could become a lecturer then you would be able to do what you want, on the condition that you could get funding for it.

Some post-docs are more specifically goal directed than others, mine for example has some scope for doing what I want, it also has quite a small budget through, so i'm a bit hamstrung by that.

Furthermore, if you want to do what you want, then why not try getting together your own post-doc grant proposal. I'm sure your current supervisor would happily help out if you have some worthwhile ideas.

article help requested

Hi people,

It would be really helpful if anybody has access to the following article, and is willing to let me have it, please pm me if you have it, the article is:

Spectrophotofluorometry of reserpine, other rauwolfia alkaloids, and related compounds

R. P. Haycock, P. B. Sheth, W. J. Mader

Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association

Volume 48, Issue 8, pages 479–485, August 1959

DOI: 10.1002/jps.3030480816

I know it is out there, the journal website says it has been released online in 2006, there are stars in it for anybody feeling helpful, it's not even for me, I have a masters student I am supervising on a small project that this would really help out.

many thanks

Unemployed, no prospects :(


Just wanted to apologize for suggesting you move away for work, I appreciate with a child this would simply not be possible, I did not know to what extend you depended on your family for assistance.

In this case I would suggest maybe try and cast the net wider in terms of considering other career options that would use the skills you have but not directly in an academic science type situation. I know this is not ideal, and I cannot obviously think of any specific job types to suggest, perhaps some kind of careers advisor might help, maybe try your old academic institution? I'm sure you have probably been down this road though.

I wish you the very best of luck

Unemployed, no prospects :(

Hi Rigel 34

Very sorry you feel so disillusioned with the jobs situation just now, I know it could be a lot better certainly.

I found that when I finished my PhD there was nothing in the area my old university was, so I moved. I still have a long term gilrfriend in my old University town, we are currently 150 miles apart, this is not ideal but I'm happy with work, and like it or not this is where i spend most of my time, so I think doing the long distance thing is probably the best thing for me.

Would your BF be happy if you widened the net, so to speak, in terms of where you apply for jobs? Surely he wants you to find work, so maybe you would have to move. Perhaps his work gives him options of moving around, so maybe if you talk to him about this you could try moving. Regarding family ties I appreciate this is a difficult topic, but presumably they do not want you to be unhappy, so perhaps if it was just a few years, this would be ok (remember most post-doc contracts are 1-3 years only).

Apart from this, I have little else to suggest, but try to remember you are not the only one with this problem, and try to stay positive if you can and talk to people, especially your boyfriend and family

Disappointed with faculty


I'm sure it's not everyone in the department who is doing terrible science, I'm sure this is true in some cases but it could be that people are trying to fob you off in discussions because maybe they don't want to really talk deeply about their work to "just" a PhD student? this could be the case.

I would say that most academic departments probably have more politics than any work department, and fewer concrete "rules" which probably leads to more politics. The academic staff may have never had a job outside academia, which means they have always gone through life arriving and leaving when they want to and setting their own agenda, as long as publications result from this, nobody has any problem.

The publications, people are under much pressure to publish, so such a system will either mean: people work harder, or they publish lesser quality work. In my experience this usually means the latter takes place, so there are external factors contributing to the standards of the work. Chances are if it is a top department, there are some very clever people there plus many who are simply good at playing the game. A game is basically what academia has become because of all the pressures to publish that are out there now.

I know this sounds like a random stream of consciousness, in short should you expect professionalism: probably not, should you expect intelligence: yes, although there is also much pressure to perform causing a drop in standards.

This is how I see it anyway