when your sups hate each other...


Has anyone been in the situation where their two advisers seem to strongly dislike each other? Especially if they both have conflicting research interests, world-views and general attitudes to life? I have a very similar philosophy to my main supervisor and so far we have worked well together. But in some ways I'm more like my second sup. I really, really like them both and I like both of their research and I like them both as people. They are always making little digs at each other and making snidy comments when the other isn't around. It puts me in a difficult position of not knowing whether to laugh, join in, look stern, disapprove... I can be a bit sensitive and I worry about being caught in the crossfire. Has anyone been in this situation?

Also, I do really like my main sup. He's close(ish) to my age and we have a lot in common. When he's around, I see him more as someone I can have a laugh with and sometimes wonder a bit if I'm crossing boundaries. I told him I'm lucky that he's my supervisor which I think might have been a little bit weird. I don't want him to think I'm too open about myself but I'm not good at sticking to complex rules either. I've always worked jobs where my bosses were either friends, or acted like prison guards. I think I prefer informal relationships, but is there a line that's too informal? Has your relationship changed over time?


Hey cornflower! Am in a very similar situation to you- I really like both of my supervisors but there is a lot of nasty rivalry between them and a lot of sniping and bitching at each other. They're like little kids in some respects, although one is worse than the other! I just try not to get involved and when one sup makes a snipe at the other I just smile or ignore it. I've got quite an informal relationship with both, and get on really well with both, so it's a shame that they feel the need to slate each other. I think it actually stems from one of them being jealous of the other...I just watch and learn how not to behave if I ever get to that position!! I wouldn't worry too much, I think there is a lot of bitchiness in academia. I would just keep your nose clean, because you can be sure if you join in, it will catch up on you! Best, KB


======= Date Modified 20 Dec 2010 10:11:41 =======
Thanks. I'm quite sensitive and tend to see conflict as a reflection on me. This might sound really weird but it reminds me of my parents fighting with each other! They are always making bitchy, snidy comments when the other one leaves the room or is away, making me feel like I have to take sides or that liking / talking to one is betraying the other. They are both so different in their academic experiences and interests and I like both of them, but I don't know if they know it. I'm scared that they will both end up hating me because I'm too much like the other. I see myself in both of them and I am really grateful for them both. I think I need to grow thicker skin...