Any views/hope/advice sought! My PhD was a bit difficult at the end, as I fell out with my super who is also the Prof. But it's a developing field, and I'd like to take my research forward, to test one of the theories I'd explored. Currently, I can't get a job in research as I'm 66, but I have a burning need to do this. A month ago I had to turn in my Library card. I've managed to get an extension on my Uni email, which gives me access to the electronic database, etc, until the end of July. Then I'm finished. My PhD is the only one ever done on this topic which is highly debated, and as I've said, it's been accessed more than any other piece of research on the Uni database.
But what do I do now? Do I just fall out of the balloon and on to the scrap heap? I NEED TO DO MORE WORK ON THIS!!! I'm writing a book, and putting some papers together, but I just can't find room in academia, and don't know how to navigate my way round. Please help this distressed Dr OAP!
I have a couple of ideas that might help.
1) Graduate annual membership of my university's library is actually pretty cheap - if nothing else if you had continued access to the literature you could continue to publish.
2) It's a shame you've fallen out with your supervisor because they'd be the obvious person to ask but my university has a system whereby they can nominate people to be guest members of staff, which while it's unpaid does bring computing and library facilities and a continuing institutional affiliation. Might that be a possibility where you are? They often use it here as a way of keeping new PhDs in the game so to speak given that the likelihood in my subject of any new PhD going straight into a job are minimal but I do know of a man in his 60s who has stayed that status for quite a few years. He does a bit of paid seminar teaching too, which I guess if you're interested is the other possible way of keeping a foot in the door.
Thanks Bewildered! That's helpful! I do have limited facilities at the Library, so I can actually get in and can take out a couple of books for a couple of weeks because years ago I subscribed to a building appeal. I'm interested in this 'guest' idea, and will make enquiries.
My undergrad uni had a similar system to the guest staff member mentioned by Bewildered, they called it Honorary Research Assistant so that might be a phrase worth mentioning. They didn't have a formal system of nomination it was just if you could find a member of staff prepared to take you on they would sign authorisation letters for access to computer/library/anything else necessary to do the work.
Right - will look at that option, too! But the falling out with my super would appear to knock that on the head. I was for a few months his research associate - and when I was working with him as a colleague, he was fine, very complimentary indeed, and we wrote two reports and book together, too, and he's just published one of the bits of that as a joint paper (without telling me, but at least citing me as joint author!). Anyway, I've just written a couple of emails to my Uni suggesting they put a module of my specialism on a couple of the courses. Then I'd become an Associate Tutor, which would be great.
Is it a big falling out as you know some academics have fiery tempers which seem to die down once the moment has gone? Is it possible to make amends? If it is that would help you get on as you know academia is all about networking and who you know which is a pain especially if you are in such a specialised area as yours.
The honorary post would definitely help you access resources while you write up papers and do more research. I know of people who are in those positions at my uni too so I don't see why they wouldn't got for it. It'd good for them as the dept gets their name on your papers without having to pay for the privilege!
Good luck with it all. (up)
Thanks Doodles. Yes, it's a pretty big falling out. A couple of months after my viva it all kicked off. The problem was that the two related faults in my viva were things that should never have happened, as he should have seen them (I put some quantitative stuff in a qualitative thesis). Methodology was my big weakness as I don't have an academic background, just a writing background) He saw 6 drafts in all. I passed, however, but with revisions. For two months afterwards he was all sweetness and light, while I took charge of the copy-editing phase of our book. Then he got a bee in his bonnet, wanted me to change the whole thesis to mixed methods, said I must have done the work behind his back (!), and turned what was smaller than a molehill (I just had to remove the qualitative stuff which was only a few pages - seemples) into the Himalayas. He became obsessed that my thesis was too theory-driven. He started sending me nasty emails. I knew he was overworked and over-reacting (I'm an agony aunt!), but it wasn't helping me, and I was getting more and more confused and depressed, especially when he suddenly announced that he was going abroad for four months in three weeks' time.
I just stopped seeing him or sending him anything after I sent him the first 5,000 words of my rewritten methodology telling him that's what it was, and he knee-jerk replied to tell me that 5.000 words was too short for a Methodology chapter, and where was the Method etc and this just wasn't good enough. So I took myself off to the Uni Student Study Support, and with the most extraordinary luck found I was given a tutor who specialised in Methodology and was a PhD examiner in a closely-related field to mine. She told me just to get on with it all, my way, and to cut him right out because he was destroying me, and that his comments verged on the 'nutty', which I knew anyway. She gave me the right to take control again, and I ended up, in the next five weeks, completely re-writing the last 40,000 words of my thesis. I never let him see it again, I just submitted, and the examiners thought it was brilliant. I haven't seen him since, even though I've sent him a couple of chatty emails and he's kind of replied. So that's dead in the water.
Looking back on the whole experience is pretty depressing. I had to take 8 months out to work for him as I couldn't afford my self-funded fees. I thought he was saving my life. Actually he was getting cheap skilled labour. I was only paid for 6 of those 8 months. It worked out to £6 per hour. He had grandiose schemes and work proposals which came to nothing, and I trusted him and believed they would.
Don't get me started! Anyway, it ended OK for my PhD but it's now just scrap heap for me as he's the Prof.
So I have to get some papers written (should have done that along the way) and have to get back as an Associate Tutor, which I used to be. I just have to try to get a gig from another source in the department! I have until the end of July before I lose my affiliation totally and I can't publish without a Uni affiliation. Hope springs.....
Shame about the falling out. I specifically asked my deparment (via my ex-supervisor) if I could get an Honorary Research Fellowship. Joining the library as a graduate member wouldn't have been enough: it wouldn't have given me any access to electronic journals, and many of the jojurnals are only available electronically in uni libraries now. This is the case at both local uni libraries for me, and I'm already a life graduate member at one (am a graduate of both local unis), but have no electronic database/journal access. But the Fellowship (which was granted) has given me library access + full computing access, including to the electronic resources. Which I can access from home.
My Fellowship was just for a year but I'm going to ask if it can be extended. The purpose of it was to help me convert my PhD thesis into more journal papers. I already had 2 during my PhD. I have had 2 more accepted recently (including 1 in the most eminent journal in my field), have 2 more in review, and am working on 2 more. So it's going well enough that I think I will be able to make a case for a fellowship extension. And every published paper that says I'm an HRF of the specific department adds to their reputation.
I can't work in academia due to severely disabling progressive neurological disease. I don't know how long I'll be able to do very part-time research/publishing, hence trying to do as much ASAP.
Are you sure you can't publish without a university affiliation? It's very common for people to publish that way in my field (humanities - specifically history). I sent in 2 journal papers in the autumn (after finishing my PhD) without any affiliation, just giving my home address and home contact details. I got my research fellowship later on, and they were accepted anyway.
What field are you in?
I have found that a great way of getting access to online journals etc is through the Open University. I'm doing a short course with the OU at the moment (purely because I'm interested in the subject) and have access to a wide range of journals, including quite a few that I can't access through my university. You would obviously need to sign up to a course, but I find there's always something interesting, including short courses, on offer. :-)
The OU method is great, but the online access only applies for the duration of your course. So once it finishes your library logins and access to electronic journals will immediately cease.
I am currently studying an OU art history course, and get access through that too. I also benefited from it during my conversion to history BA(Hons) which I studied with the OU. But the courses are quite expensive, so it's not necessary an ideal solution.
That's awful Beajay and definitely not what you need! Unfortunately it sounds all too familiar as my supervisor sounds very like yours apart from the becoming obsessed with my thesis bit as they couldn't care less about it until I finished when they suddenly started mentioning papers!!!! Funny they didn't show any interest beforehand and hardly read any of my thesis before submission! We have a great non-relationship! I haven't spoken or e-mailed them since my viva as I know their promises of help are empty! I would go as far as to stay that they hindered my research and things would have been so much easier if they weren't involved! It was such an uphill battle and constant struggle that was really wearing me down! They were also funny about methodology as they were into shortcuts but I said I needed to justify why I was doing what I was doing but they didn't think so. But I got commended on having a robust methodology by my external examiner so it just goes to show that they are not always right!!!!
It is probably better not to work with your supervisor who will drive you mad in the long term anyway so it's better for your sanity this way. However, it might not be as bad as you think as at least your supervisor has acknowledged your e-mails so at least there is still some response as I only get a response off mine if I'm very, very, very lucky and that is usually when they want something or to give a sarky reply to something I've asked! Usually my e-mails are just ignored which is very frustrating when you need some help so I learnt to find alternative sources help yet they lay claim to my work as they expect to be on my papers and PhD related work!!!! That's just cheap labour as well!
Unfortunately this still doesn't solve your lack of library resources problem but if you could get your dept to take you on as an Associate tutor/Honorary research fellow/academic you would get to do some teaching/research and library access which would be great for continuing your research. Good luck - I hope it all works out. Have you tried other academics or supervisors if you had any to support your request? It would look good for your dept to have more papers published to raise its profile especially as your thesis has been accessed so many times already!
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