Had a horrible meeting with my supervisor this morning - ending with me in tears :-( She is generally a lovely lady, and we get along well, though today something turned sour...After making a huge fuss and telling me how wonderful my latest draft was, something seemed to snap. We changed topics (onto the next thing on the agenda) and I was berated about my body language as I was sitting with my arms folded (in my defence, it IS the middle of winter where I am and I was a little cold - it meant nothing more than that). I was told that my PhD isn't a "fight" (she seems to think I'm making it into one, due to my body language...) and that if I don't want it (PhD), then I should leave.
On top of this, she brought up the fact that I have had a number of problems with an ill family member - she said "we're both adults, we all come with baggage - deal with it". The only reason I made her aware (months ago) of the family issues was becuase I needed to take leave - I have not spoken of it since, in fact, I thought I WAS dealing with it as it hasn't got in the way of my work (she said this morning that I'm MONTHS ahead of where I need to be); I've kept up my responsibilities to my family and I'm also working casually. I just don't get it. I'm really dreading seeing her next week (a meeting she insisted on)...Not sure whether to put this down to her having a bad day or what. It was just soooooo strange & very uncharacteristic!
*end of sulk*
hey snappy, you say it yourself - it was uncharacteristic. so unless her "character" changed totally within minutes, it was a bad day. perhaps she just had a fight with her partner where body language was a major issue - or some other reason why something generally harmless like that got her up in a fury. a bit unfair to let it out on you, but she's just human. i'd take it as a good sign that she wants to see you again soon - it could be remorse speaking.
If you haven't known your supervisor long (less than one year?) then I'd say this is just a side of her personality that you haven't seen yet. It might not happen very often but you'll know now to be prepared for it to happen again, and it probably doesn't mean much (if it happens very infrequently).
I've had my supervisor 'snap' and the first time it happened I was left completely stunned and in tears too. You'll probably get an apology.
I've said before on this forum (a long time ago) that one of the things my PhD has taught me is to wait a LONG time before claiming that I really 'know' anyone. I think what you've just experienced, whatever the cause (you might never know) is simply a not very nice part of getting to know your supervisor.
Thanks Claudia, Sharni and sue I'm not as upset about it anymore, though still a little confused - but you are probably right: I just got in the way of something that I didn't do.
sue, I have known my supervisor for a LONG LONG time (about 4yrs), which I think is why it was such of a shock! I met her as an undergrad and she "took me under her wing" so to speak. She supervised my undergrad work and started this year as my PhD supervisor...I guess that it's just one of those things - we are all human - even supervisors!
Hope it's OK and was just a one-off. Body language is not her consideration, it's your work (unless body language IS related to your PhD). I hate things like that. Someone shouted at me twice on a temp job recently when I couldn't have known what I was doing, and it was just bad on her part even though I was nearly in tears at the time.
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