I know my question is not about an academic course of study but more on dating a PhD boyfriend. I myself just completed a LLM program and have started working as a lawyer. I am now however facing big problem because my boyfriend is currently still studying. He has been on his PhD since I did my LLB and then my LLM and now that I have completed my education, he is only writing up his thesis. (November 2012)
He has no jobs lined up for him and I am getting quite frustrated waiting for him to complete his education. Our conversations revolve around his school work and his supervisor and it is honestly getting quite dull for me. He is a great guy don't get me wrong but I have waited for a long time for him to complete his education and get a job but I am not even sure now if that would happen anytime soon.
What really worries me is that he still has not secured a job when his submission date is November 2012.
Can someone please advise me on this? Is it normal not to have a job lined up for you upon completion of a PhD? Perhaps if someone could advise me/ reassure me that it will be alright in the end and that i'm just being an over anxious blob.
Any kind comments would be great comments.
======= Date Modified 26 Sep 2012 22:42:58 =======
This is really interesting to see from the partners perspective. I can only give advice based upon my experience as a PhD student with a partner.
Firstly, securing a job which neatly coincides with submission is fairly rare. In fact, even thinking about applying for a job so close to submission is daunting, and completing applications would take up a lot of time that is so valuable. I wouldn't worry too much about not having a job lined up. I certainly wouldn't put pressure on your partner for not having a job lined up at this time - the last thing he wants to feel is somehow inadequate at the very time he is going through constant self-doubt and insecurities with the thesis.
Secondly, I don't think you need to have any concerns that he is somehow lazy/not interesting in working - believe me, working on a PhD is something which requires constant self-motivation and work ethic, and all for very little or no money.
Thirdly, why are you so concerned that he has nothing lined up? Is he? Are you worried that you are delaying your lives somehow? In many ways, doing a PhD can seem selfish, that everything goes on hold until it is done. I think it's dangerous to compare your programme of study with his, or understand his study as unsuccessful as he doesn't have a job lined up.
I couldn't have asked for anything more from my partner in terms of support, understanding and patience - i will always remember this, and it certainly helped me maintain my motivation. We had little money or time to do much, yet I was never made to feel guilty for this. My partner is very proud of me, as I am of him.
Honestly, I know it seems worrying now, but it's just a couple of months left to go and think of the wonderful lives you will have in the near future. Just remember he is probably a little over-sensitive at the moment so any comments may be seen as criticisms.
Hope it all works out well for you both :-)
Firstly, I just want to thank you so much for giving me such a constructive response, it is really great to hear from the PhD student's perspective.. AND Congrats on completing your thesis!! I am really pleased you and your partner pulled through such a difficult time together and I know how difficult it is for your partner as I currently have to withstand constant 'moodiness' but I am really happy that you guys got there in the end.
Second,with regards to the job, it is my parents that are always on my back ie getting married etc and as really traditional parents, they keep harping on the fact that my boyfriend does not yet have a job. It didn't use to bother me but their constant nagging has made me feel relatively anxious about the situation. I try not to distract him from his work but at the same time I just needed to get some assurance from people who have gone through this route -once again thank you :-)
As I don't know the PhD job market very well, I was wondering is it difficult to land a job after completing a PhD? I have heard from another PhD friend that for Post-Doc position one has to apply a year in advance? Is this true? The world after a PhD is a very confusing one for me..
I welcome anyone to give me some feedback on this matter for I would be deeply appreciative. Thanks!!
======= Date Modified 26 Sep 2012 23:36:30 =======
I'll be blunt - this not meant in a bad way.
Just because you've finished doesn't mean he's finished. That's life and whilst it may not seem fair, that's the way it is. On your side, you just want to put the student / education phase of your life behind you. He's not there yet. You may also be a little embarrassed he's still a student and you're now following a professional career - that does happen and is perfectly natural where one partner might be forging ahead and the other is still not quite where the more progressive one wants them to be.
November 2012 is not that far away. He's almost there.
Yes I remember write up and yes, I remember that family and friends found me as dull as ditchwater during it. One of them even put pressure on me to put the PhD on hold to sort out to me another minor issue at the time that he considered an overriding priority. A suspension with six weeks to go would have been crazy.
Right now, all your boyfriend will be able to think about is finishing off the thesis / dissertation (I gather you're US-based) and anything beyond that won't really register. He's come through five years of very hard work and right now near the end will probably be the worst bit for him.
At the same stage, I knew finding a job was important but I just couldn't focus. As it happened, I landed a post-doc within my department and I was free to concentrate on the write-up.
One of the biggest problems a PhD candidate will face is pressure from family and friends who just don't understand what is involved with a PhD. Right now, so close to the end can I ask if you truely understand.
If it was six months to go, then you could argue a case with him that he might want to prioritise job hunting over and above the write-up. He could then write up in his own time, time permitting.
However, at one month to go he's in the final push and other pressures he really can do without. At this stage he needs either your support or space to finish as quickly as possible. Your lack of patience with the situation will be putting him off.
Could you possibly lay off him until he submits? Viva / defence will be shortly after and hopefully that will be it. Just be there and support him.
If this is a really big issue with you and you cannot offer him this support, would you living separately for a month or two without contact until he finishes off and submits be worth considering?
In my case, my mother suddenly intervened and told my friends to back off. This allowed me the necessary breathing space of a couple of months to finish writing up and submit the thesis / dissertation. I'd had a nightmare write-up as I've said elsewhere and thankfully the viva / defence that followed was very straight forward.
I do not mean the above in a bad way and in all sincerity hope you can resolve your difficulties. I'm writing this from the PhD candidate's perspective and how I felt near the end. So close to the finish, his main focus is finishing the write-up off.
Do what is right for both of you. Hopefully, bits and pieces of my blog will help.
(http://www.wearthesis.talktalk.net/phdgame.pdf for some humour)
I've just read you follow-up post. If it is your parents putting pressure on your boyfriend by proxy (i.e. via you), then that makes you obviously pig in the middle.
You need either to avoid the subject of his PhD for the next month or so, or politely tell them the situation is not forever. You and your boyfriend are adults capable of making your own decisions and in extremis this may need to be made clear.
You are correct about the jobs market being difficult for PhDs, both in the US and elsewhere. All he can do is when able, keep applying (ensuring he has the best possible CV / resume in terms of saleability) and hope something comes up. As regards post-docs, if he has a good publication record, that avenue may still be open to him.
Hi - I am in a situation similar to you and your partner. I am about to submit on monday and do not have a job lined up. There is no opportunity for post-doc with my university at the minute due to serious cuts and staff lay-offs but to be honest me worrying about not having a job right now isnt going to help me finish my phd. The best I can do is apply for a few jobs while I have been busy writing up but at this point I am focusing fully on submitting my thesis then using the few weeks/months inbetween submission & viva to job hunt more seriously.
My Phd is in the humanities and possibly like you my other half finished a more practical course of study and was offered (yes offered -- he didnt even have to apply) 2 jobs! I try not to compare myself to this as it is simply reflective of the different fields we are in.
As for your parents & their worry he has no job - Do they not realise a Phd is a significant achievement? After being in academia for a while it seems everyone is a Dr, but really - so few get the opportunity to do a PhD and even fewer seem to finish.
Besides, maybe your boyfriend also worries he had no job at the minute? Perhaps he bottles it up because he knows he needs to focus on what's at hand to actually complete. It may seem like he is putting the job hunt off and procrastinating, but so close to the end how can he do anything else?!
I was in a similar position to your boyfriend, and my ex (then girlfriend) who completed professional training frequently argued with me about my progress, my prospects and the fact that everyone else was moving on in life, while we weren't. So, unsuprisingly we split up.
At the time I was furious about her betryal and lack of sensitivity. Getting a PhD was difficult, a rare achievement, academic job or post docs didn't go on trees, she didn't understand what doing a PhD is like and how important my research was. We fought about money, about the future and almost everything about the situation we were in.
Looking back, I can see things differently. In many ways me doing a PhD was very selfish with little or no thought about the impact on her. My conversations were all about my PhD and topic and I held beliefs about how my degree was better, harder or more worthy than hers, which was very condescending. I didn't see a problem with the bad job market making me earn little, and having to uproot myself and her through transient work. I was working wierdly long hours. At the same time I realise I was quite resentful about how her professional line had more respect than mine, that she was earning more than me and had the better career progression and working conditions.
The sad thing is I don't think I would have even realised this or changed had I remained in academia. Its only after I was forced out a few years ago and started to do something else I even had the perspective to understand that I was thinking this way. Many of my friends who still stayed in research put their families through this, and still hold those views, and there are lots of divorces and break ups (not uncommon, especially of the partner is equally ambitious and has their own plans).
I have no idea of what the OPs situation is, but I see academic life is almost monastic and really does require a lot of give from partners.
Hey there Azureray! I can only really second what the others have already said. The last couple of months of a PhD are especially stressful, and your other half is probably exhausted, anxious, and desperate to get the thesis finished. So best just to give him a bit of time and space until he's got through it! All careers have different routes- whilst I was doing my PhD several friends had already qualified as solicitors, medical doctors etc and it can make you a bit insecure about being 'behind' your peers, so maybe he's feeling that a bit too. In terms of jobs- is he wanting to stay in academia? It is actually quite unusual to have a post-doc lined up before you've finished your PhD. Some people are lucky and manage to get something sorted, but others have to hunt around for quite a while to find something suitable. Still others decide not to remain in academia and move on to something different. For now, just be as supporting and reassuring as you can- there's not long to go now.
Thank you all for your feedback and responses. It has been really refreshing to hear so many people chipping in and the different perspectives. I am definitely much aware and have a better point of view now. Special thanks to Mackem_Beefy, keenbean, emma8704 and wolfie27 ;)
Badhaircut, I can imagine what your ex-girlfriend (not saying what she did was right) went through but that is only because I have a very similar experience. My boyfriend always disregards what I do and he thinks that lawyers are merely materialistic and selfish fools. He thinks that what he does (science) is far superior than what I do, the fact that he is doing some advance science PhD needless to say is WAY superior. There was a point of time during my LLB that I almost wanted to give up what I was doing because it was so overbearing. It took me a long time to get back on my feet and 'fight' back for my own rights on my career ambitions, but I hope you don't blame yourself too much. Having said that, I constantly ask myself - can I really live with someone like that for the rest of my life when I have to fight for what I want in this manner. Shouldn't he try to be more understanding. Now that you have mentioned it, can I ask why did you put your ex-girlfriend through all that? I really need to understand why a man that supposedly loves you would be so condescending at times? I hope this won't put you of, I am only asking because this is an area that I am quite concerned about in the long run. I keep telling myself he would be less overbearing, but at the same time I don't want to be unrealistic.
I also want to open this question to the floor: I have a close friend who's husband is on his 3rd post-doc, she did her LLM with me (bear in mind that she is 30 years of age) BUT she has NO professional career because she has been 'following' her husband in different jurisdictions. It is difficult to qualify alone as a lawyer and moving around is not the optimum way of obtaining qualification. She recently landed herself a job in the EU Parliament but her husband is going to Asia to do his post-doc for 4 years (Her husband wants her to accompany him in Asia). The obvious question is: Should she give up her own professional career for his? I want to hear from both ladies and gentlemen with regards to this issue. What do you guys think?
Once again thank you! you all have been lovely ;)
======= Date Modified 27 Sep 2012 22:27:31 =======
I know a lot of people have already replied to your post. I just wanted to add to it. I recently completed my PhD in the humanities and while I was writing up I was extremely moody and cranky. My boyfriend is still pursuing his PhD but in a field where jobs are already lined up for him even though he still has two more years.
I always complained that I would not get a job and he would leave me because I was not good enough. Despite my insecurities and crazy mood swings he stood by me. He has a much better scholarship than mine and many t.a opportunities. I recently completed my PhD and got a good job prior to my viva. My boyfriend still treats me the way he did when I was student he does not love me more because I have job now, he always had faith in me.
My point is that finishing a PhD is difficult and getting a job in academia is even tougher. I just got lucky as I was in the right place at the right time. Be patient with your boyfriend if you want to be with and realise that the last stage of writing up is the toughest.
However if he is condescending and thinks he is superior that is silly. My boyfriend's PhD is way cooler than mine and he does the so called real science. Though he teases me sometimes about my work he is never condescending. In any relationship there has to be mutual respect and if you think it is not there, then you have to decide what you want in the future. You have to do what is good for you.
======= Date Modified 28 Sep 2012 09:18:48 =======
Grief, this sounds more than just the PhD and you really are pig in the middle between your parents (concerned about him not having a job) and your boyfriend. You've really unloaded a lot of pent up frustration here.
My advice as regards your parents remains the same, in that you are an adult and capable of making your own decisions. That said, if they're there when you need them (which is looking very likely) that is the important thing.
Your boyfriend is going to be seriously stressed and moody, especially with just a month to go before submission. However, you also describe someone who to me is not a very nice person under the surface. I personally would not tolerate staying with some one who is condescending and belittling. But perhaps that is the stress. Or perhaps he's showing his true colours. You know him best.
In my first reply, I suggested one possibility was to live separately until he got this out his system then sort out things when he submitted. If he is running you down as seems to be the case, then I would advise this as your course of action until he submits. Once that is over, then (not yet moving back in) talk to him, really talk to him and see if there is a future for your relationship. What does he want and what do you want. At that stage, you'll know whether or not it was the stress talking. Just say that you can't handle this situation as it stands and tell him to get in touch with you once he's submitted (one way of letting him really know you're not happy). But let him make the first move and if he doesn't, then you have your answer.
I know under similar circumstances to those you describe in your last post that I'd want some space to decide for myself what I'm going to do and I honestly believe you need to be out of that atmosphere to think clearly for yourself, free of both your boyfriend's and parent's influence (though knowing your parents will be there for you if needed).
As regards the job situtaion, the post-doc world can be one of moving around from position to position geographically. Does he expect this of you and can you live with this? I don't know much about law as a career, however, I gather you need stability in order to progress and develop. Is he expecting you to give up your chances of a life and career for him to be able to follow his? One thing I do know is people can become so wrapped up in their own little worlds that other people's lifes including those close to them can seem unimportant.
However, these are all questions to be answered after he has submitted and he has hopefully got in touch with you. Right now, it sounds as though he needs his space to complete and submit his thesis / dissertation and you to decide what you are going to do. You may find a different, more considerate person re-emerges once the stress of submission is over. If not, then you might need to consider going your separate ways.
You've basically unloaded all your frustrations in your last post and you really don't sound happy with the situation.
From what I've heard (and I'm not submitting for another 6 months so I'm only going on what I've heard from other people in my department) finding a job before you submit can be quite tricky as whether (and when) you get the PhD is dependent on the results of the viva so people don't always want to employ you before you finish anyway (although apparently this is more of an issue if you're looking for industry jobs rather than a postdoc).
As others have said, it's quite worrying that he doesn't seem to respect your career and ambitions. Your career is probably going to be stressful enough without having to defend yourself to your boyfriend. Tbh this actually makes me quite angry and I think some other people have already given you good advice so I probably shouldn't comment further.
Personally I don't think that your friend should feel obliged to follow her husband everywhere he goes, but again, for me this is quite a sensitive issue. My boyfriend went straight into work from uni and is a few years older and therefore is making buckets of money, is ridiculously successful, and is travelling all over the place for work so we're currently long distance, and unless I magically manage to find a postdoc where he's moving to next (because that's already been decided) we're probably going to be long distance for quite a bit longer. Much as I'd love to be with him, I know that if I put my career second to his I'll end up resenting him and having very little respect for myself. Really it's down to her and what she'd be happiest doing, but if he's going to choose where to take a job without allowing compromise, then he should be prepared for her to choose what she wants to do. One person making all the comromises just isn't fair.
Sorry if that got a bit ranty. :p
I know enough people replied to your post, I just want to add my story to it. I am as a PhD student for quite a long time, longer than most of other people for various reasons. My husband had got his PhD several years ago, and had a good job. He is a family guy, and wants to have kids, buy house to settle down, etc. All those have been postponed because of my PhD. My husband has been furious about that for a couple of years, especially when I procrastinated, and didn't work hard on my thesis. So I think you have reasons to be unhappy and anxious about your bf's PhD. My husband is a smart guy, he gradually learned he need to change his way of dealing this. He became more tolerant and patient of my slow progress. I saw his change, and very grateful to that. I am going to have my PhD done in a couple of months, and I have no jobs lined up. My husband seems not worried about that. I think in future days, if my husband experience some very difficult time, I will be more willing to sacrifice for him. Hope my story helps.
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