I have been working all day to get my literature review finished for my end of year review but didn't manage it. I still have other things to finish but am nearly there. I had intended to e-mail stuff to the panel members on Fri but will now do it Sat, giving them the weekend to look through it. However I had an e-mail from my supervisor saying she had gone home on Fri eve and hadn't received anything and would not be back in work till Mon. She suggested I get in touch with the other panel members to explain 'what went wrong'. I think the only thing that has gone wrong is that she for some reason can't read e-mails outside office hours. I have home e-mails for the others and university e-mails can be accessed via the web. I can't believe she has no internet access at home. Maybe I am assuming too much. Anyway I can't sleep so am trying to finish my work off now. I'm out of sync - awake at night, sleeping during the day and wanting to send e-mails out of 9-5 hours. Am I a freak?!
I suggest you don't panic. You are not a freak. Some people prefer working at night like me. However, that can be changed. At the moment, if possible try to get in touch with the other panel members. If not wait until Monday and try to justify. Patience !
Sorry, but I'm completely on your advisor's side with this one. I wouldn't read my emails outside office hours and quite frankly, you can't seriously expect anybody to do that or "to read it over the weekend". It seems that she tries to have a life outside of university and that's a good thing. Also, if you agreed to send the stuff on Friday, sending it on Sat is just not good enough.
Jouri, that is a ridiculous comment to make. I am not saying staff are there at our beck and call, but when staff take on PhD students they know the implications, they are paid to take on that work. They expect us to work weekends, so should they. Last week, I emailed my supervisor at 3am in the early hours of saturday morning, by 10:30am I was round at her house with cake and coffee she had bought to talk about a chapter. She is married and very much has her own life, but she knows that I do too - and that if someone is having problems with their work it is better all round to have the situation resolved asap.
Any member of staff that uses the excuse that they do not check their emails regularly should be given neither the responsibility nor credit (academic and financial) of being involved with PhD students. My undergrads email me about everything, from their essays and exams to where the best place to find a dentist is, and I always reply within a day. That's just crap.
I can see what you are saying Jouri and thanks for the defence Sleepyhead. Apart from this one supervisor who is temporary and will be replaced this year, all the other people I deal with e-mail me from work and home addresses at all times of the day and night. In fact when I asked where they would like me to send information most say to home e-mails. My main supervisor is on sabbatical and works at home at the moment whatever hours she wants and we regularly e-mail each other in the evening and weekends. I think the problem may boilk down to the fact the one supervisor is not an academic and works normal office hours in museum so she is not as much part of the research culture as those of us based at the university.
sorry sleepyhead but I think what you write does not make any sense at all. I don't know why you assume that being a PhD supervisor must involve working on weekends?? That's just rubbish. In fact, working on weekends is not very healthy over the long term.
Replying to students within a day is not good practice either. To meet student's expectations includes reply within a reasonable period of time, that could be anything up to 5 working days, depending on the nature of the email (for example if it includes reading lenghty drafts, etc.).
I see where you are both coming from but it might be worth thinking about the advisor's life work balance as well. We work to live and not vice versa.
PhD students tend to forget that because we think about our PhDs day and night. Otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here on a Sat afternoon trying to put words on an empty word document.
And also, if I was married to that woman who meets with a PhD student on a Sat morning and is checking her emails at 3am on a Friday night I would probably file a divorce. Only the existence of certain unhealthy research cultures does not eliminate the fact that they are rubbish!
If something includes reading a lengthy draft, yes, this does take longer, but you acknowledge the email, and let the person know when you will be able to reply. Most academics I know do work weekends and nights on the grounds that very few people doing research can 'train' their brains only to think between 9-5. If it is boring uni admin then yes, that is office work ergo to ideally be kept within office hours, when it is research related, that's an impossibility.
If a student contacted me to say, for example, I have personal problems can I see you, I would never, ever ignore the email for five days. Or if someone needed any kind of help. It is not as if it happens on a regular basis, but when it does it is best to be as responsive as possible, for everyone's sake.
My supervisor's husband is great by the way, and more than accepting of what she does. He understand the rigours of PhD work as they were together when she was a PhD student. Part of academia is opting out of the 9-5 lifestyle - ie I work at night rather than day like pamw - and there are benefits (avoiding the rushour, working from home) as well as disadvantages (weirdio hours).
I repeat, if you are not willing to respond to the needs of PhD students, you shouldn't be involved with them. It is extremely good practice to respond to students as soon as - just take a look at the national student survey Jouri.
Well, it depends on the individual case. But expecting everybody to work on the weekends should not be the standard, IMO. I tend to work better in the middle of the night, too, but I doubt that this lifestyle is healthy over long periods of time. Lectures tend to be in the morning, so most academics would have problems to regularly do research in the middle of the night as teaching quality would suffer. I just don't believe academia is healthy for anybody, to be honest.
My advisor does not reply to emails over the weekend or after 8pm and quite frankly, I admire him for this. Drawing a clear line might be annoying for the student but good for the health of the academic. Emergencies are a different story, obviously.
I am most definitely with Jouri on this one. I think it is wrong to expect the supervisor to be available 24-7. Academia is a job and people should be expected to be able to have downtime. One of the greatest work place stressors has to be the inability to shut off from work and being expected to be available like this is really unacceptable in my book. I have my supervisor's home telephone number & mobile but I would never use either unless I had been specifically asked to call him on one of them at a set time/date. Before joining academia I had one job which I left as I was expected to have my work mobile on 24-7 to deal with work issues. 8 months late I felt ill from lack of quality time away from work.
I don't want to sound mean but, to be honest, if you have run out of time to complete your lit review by the deadline then that is your problem and reflects poor time management skills and/or lack of communication. (But I have every sympathy as I am shocking at meeting deadlines too so I am condeming myself too here)...
I'm with bluberry and jouri. If you were supposed to submit your lit rev by Friday, then you should have kept to the deadline, or at least have the courtesy to email saying you're going to miss it. IMO you should apologise for missing it and explain what went wrong
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