======= Date Modified 09 00 2008 11:00:40 =======
So few motnhs ago, my supervsior has suggested that I go to an internastional conference. I have already started to make plans and work on anabstract/paper. Supervisor was supportive and it was assumed I was going. Yesterday however, supervsior suddenly said that I was not going. Reason is that it's not really that relevant to my PhD. I feellike that's bullshit as the same reason was there when he suggested that I go. I started a long argument as I was really pissed off. Therehave been other promises along my candidature that have never materilized. I feel that this is all to do with whatever suits his personal agenda at the time. Not to mention that I haven't been to a single conference outside of my city and I am 2 years into the PhD.
All in all I now can't stand to look at my supervisor and just want to avoid him for as much as possible. I do not know if I can hold it in for the next year or two until submission. I am the type of person who can not even make small talk with people I can't stand.
Question: how do you go on with the PhD when you hate your supervisor and are supposed to meet them frequnetly?
Second question: Can you get kicked out of a PhD for yelling at the supervsior?
Hi Confused: First of all calm down; welcome to lab politics. You may not like your supervisor much but he/she/it remains your boss. You are quite right in wanting to go to a conference outside your immediate area but, as you know, these cost shed-loads of cash. Money is always tight. Therefore, and particularly for international conferences, make sure this conference really IS important to your field. Then suggest you will raise the money from external grant sources, eg: societies, the university graduate funds, etc (that eliminates the arguement of cost). Next stress WHY you want to go, what you can gain from it, essentially defend your reasoning for wanting to go. A well constructed and carefully considered arguement will usually win most people over. Finally, you are two years into your worl so your PhD is becomeing just that - YOUR PhD. You know more about it than they do and so are better able to direct where you want it to go. And if that all fails, you may just have to suck it down and try for it next year :-(
What bothers me most is that supervisor makes the decision that's very negative for you and then tries to make it somehow look like he IS ACTUALLY DOING YOU A FAVOR. I can't win the argument for this year as I am all out of justifications and it is true that I don't have a good case for going but supervsior won't even discuss alternative conferences even within my country. On the other hand he goes to conferences that are irrelevant 5 times a year.
I have lost all motivation to do my PhD now...
It is pretty rare in my dept for a student to get funding to go to any conference anywhere and this is not unusual. I try to present something once/year but it is entirely up to me to find the conference, organise my trip and fund it. I have had some luck with funding from outside sources but never from my dept. Money is too tight. I think you are being unrealistic if you think you will get sent to any conference that is not totally relevant to your topic. Of course my supervior goes to many conferences - that's the usualy thing with superviors.
If you can't make a really good case to go then that's the end of the story. Cool down. If this were a job and you yelled at your boss over something like this you'd probably have disciplinary procedures begun against you.
Your supervisor should be careful not to make promises he can't keep. In future always view such 'promises' as 'possibilities' until they materialise.
======= Date Modified 11 Oct 2008 02:11:19 =======
Tough one really. Fall out with your supervisor and you can almost kiss your PhD goodbye. Alternatively, if there is a straightforward mechanism in place for a change of supervisor, this may be worth exploring, but tread carefully because the walls have ears in the PhD world as am sure you know. Alternatively, you could go on an assertiveness course (secretly) - this should give you this skills to get through it.
I think that honest advice is the best advice, and having been through the PhD game, I can honestly say that unless you take some positive action (I suggest the assertiveness course), then you're at a high risk of not completing because it sounds like a breakdown in supervisor/student relationship is on the cards without drastic action being taken. Remember, they have all the power until you pass that Viva - its as simple as that - get smart!
======= Date Modified 11 Oct 2008 02:31:58 =======
Since the yelling incident, supervisor has been very polite to me, even cracking jokes etc. I have since found other possible conferences to go to and suggested to supervisor and he has agreed but it was probably only to placate me. I have remained distant as I really dislike the man so much. We were supposed to do a full day of marking exams (just me and him) but the thought of making small talk with him for the whole day makes me ill so I have asked if I could do all the marking by myself - my reason was that I really need the money and he agreed (hopefully he didn't see through that!). I'm buying time as I hope in a couple of weeks I will cool off and be able to be polite. In the next 3 weeks, I could probably get by with completly avoiding him.
In a way I feel 100% trapped in this situation. The only way out is quitting PhD and I'm not prepared to do that :-(
I've been in an identical situation and I agree that to a certain extend you are trapped - perhaps accepting this for the benefit of your future may help?
I know it didn't help me, because I could not accept my supervisor's bad behaviour - I ended up quitting after 2 years.
BONGO, did your quiting negatively impact your supervsior in any way? If I end up quitting I want to at least do some damage to supervsiors career/reputation. Not sure in what way I could have the most impact though.
I'm struggling to undestand the extent of your problem here - I think it might just be too difficult to get the full picture via this medium. Sounds serious though - I think you should see your local counselling service who will be better placed to advise you and get the full picture.
Guys what do you think of the idea to ask supervisor for 6 weeks off? I think I might need to get some prospective and decide from there. And yes, there is a lot more to the story than what I said in here (and all of it negative). This is just the last straw so to speak.
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