Signup date: 10 Feb 2006 at 12:45pm
Last login: 02 Mar 2018 at 10:20am
Post count: 160
I was sort of under the impression that just by completing a PhD, it would be a passage of right to apply for any position even if the research topic is not related to it. Surely employers are aware of the determination and dedication required to be successful in a PhD, aren't they? I thought the phone would never stop ringing the day after I graduated with offers of gainful and fulfilling career opportunities but I have thus far been clearly misguided.
I do actually have a job but I am not using my PhD. It was something I did until I graduated but looks like I'll be doing it for the duration. I just fancy doing something that equates to all those years of PhD work really. Even my boss said that she expects me to leave now I have the doctorate under my belt. Maybe I should just count myself lucky that I do have a job and stop whinging on.
The main reason I did a PhD was to get a top job, like 'Chairman of British Steel' or similar. However, I have struggled to attract any interest from potential employers after applying for several postdoc positions. I find that many want you to be Albert Einstein or insist you have a Nobel prize before applying. I even applied for a RA post that was pretty much the same as my PhD work (and at the same university!) but did not even receive an invite for an interview. That's just downright nastiness, right?
I was criticised in my viva for not updating my references. I just kept the old ones in and updated my references where applicable, probably adding about another 50 in my corrections plan. I used Endnote, so it wasn't any drama doing it really. I suggest updating as much as your thesis as you can so as to avoid it being an issue for you your examiners.
I made a really good start to the project and my new supervisors were very pleased with my progress. I went on conferences to Finland, Switzerland, France and Prague as well as all over the UK. I once even addressed a learned society in my field and was nominated for a young investigator's prize. We published in several peer-reviewed journals and I was loving my work and was virtually self-supervised. I was also lecturing on a part time basis in the university and even managed to train as a radiographer during the PhD writing-up stage. I landed a job in the NHS and have been promoted in that position. Last year I passed my viva with minor corrections and have recently graduated with my PhD. I don't really think it could've gone any better.
Therefore, my advice would be to take stock of your current PhD study and see if you have sufficient material to write up a Masters degree or similar. Put this in your back pocket and seek a studentship elsewhere. You will have learned a great deal from being micromanaged and will be able to judge potential supervisors with much more of an insight. In my first PhD, supervisory style was not at the forefront of my tick-list but it should be a priority if you want a positive and successful PhD experience. Best wishes to you and good luck!
I can really empathise with this situation. I was a mature graduate in my thirties when I commenced my first PhD project and my experiences mirror those described by you. I was micromanaged by my supervisors who wanted to know everything about my life, including where I lived, how I was travelling into university and even how I should equip my bicycle for commuting. They would not allow me to work unsupervised and admitted that they had no confidence in my ability to work at PhD level. Once, I caught the train into work but it was late due to breaking down. My supervisor refused to speak to me for the rest of the day, even though I had gone through the correct channels by contacting the admin office as soon as I could. On another occasion, my wife became ill and I needed a few days off to look after our baby son and my supervisor said it was my fault for having too much 'baggage'. I ended up completely losing all my confidence and left my PhD after just seven months in but, luckily, I had done enough work to submit data for an MRes and was awarded this degree. However, I did not attend the graduation ceremony and left on pretty much awful terms and was even told that I was the worst postgraduate student they had ever had in an email written to me from the lead supervisor. It was a catastrophe from start to finish, I was exhausted, very disappointed and had made more enemies than friends at the institution.
After leaving, I returned back to my old job as a cook in a college and thought that I would never darken the door of academia again. A year later I saw an advertisement for a PhD studentship at my local university (a different one from the first PhD) that sounded perfect; I applied and was successful. Things were hugely dissimilar in the new project and I was given a free reign to pretty much do as I pleased regarding the work. Continued...
I'm in agreement with Beefy, a break is definitely in order after such an ordeal as a PhD. I just had my corrections approved six months post-viva. Thesis copies now in process of being hard-bound, so will catch the January graduation. I studied part-time so was already working throughout the closing stages of the PhD. I am in an NHS role as a cancer research radiographer and I used nearly all my annual leave up doing my corrections. I have just enough left for a few days' skiing in January but that will be it until the next leave year starts in April. Skint and leave-strapped but worth it!
Thanks Incognito, it sounds like they really put you through the mill so nice to hear that you made it in the end. I managed to finish my corrections and had them approved this week, therefore I too have got through. I added 61 pages to the thesis along with 3 extra control studies as requested by the examiners. I'm glad I did them as it really has lifted the quality of the writing. I have actually got to know the internal quite well and think most of his attitude was a bit of a ploy to intimidate me a bit to get the work done. He's a nice guy really, first impressions etc. I will graduate in January!
Corrections done and dusted, took six months to produce an extra 61 pages with three more experiments in the lab. Got them signed off this week. Graduate in January!
Mr Don't_Run_On_Time, I am sure you have misunderstood our friend KimWipes. She was merely pointing-out that she doesn't fit into the most probable demographic that prize winners share, further reducing her chances of ever receiving the award in spite of her scientific prowess. Whilst I, as a mere mortal, gaze in wonder at the godlike beings that have gained Nobel status, can we just take stock for a moment that Nobel was the bloke who invented dynamite and was the producer of armaments that were used (ok, by others) for less than peaceful means? Is it really a prize that we should be revering as we do? I would like to know what percentage of the human race gets awarded a PhD, an achievement that one is in much more control of than ever getting the Nobel Prize.
Thank you Pineapple, sounds like you really have earned your PhD! I am almost through my corrections, and look forward to resubmitting my thesis in few weeks' time. Supervisor says it looks ok, which is a massive plus coming from her!
Thanks for the response Beefy. I think I will be okay with the corrections, as I met with my sup today and she does not share my concerns. I am confident that if the thesis meets her approval then things will be fine. I just need to keep on task. Best bar on campus sells Grolsch at £2.60 per pint btw in a proper Grolsch glass, and has frequent top bands playing there too. Just saying.
Thanks Dr J, I appreciate your encouragement. The internal is a new broom from a high-brow research institution (coming to ours that certainly isn't, but has the best SU bar on the planet), so I think he may have a point to prove. Even during the 4 hour viva, the external was looking at her watch whilst he split hairs over the most trivial issue. Anyway, I will do the corrections as best I can and hope that it's good enough for him. I have just been appointed a top new supervisor (original retired recently), so am in good hands.
I am still doing my post-viva corrections, and have until November to do them although I reckon they will be done by the end of September. I have to submit them to the internal examiner at the university. However, he seems extremely arrogant and I suspect that he did not approve of the 'minor corrections' outcome from the viva. I have heard rumours from my supervisor that he wants to make things very difficult for me when I return my thesis to him. For instance, he said that I have only 'one shot' at the resubmission, and will fail me if it's not perfect. My question is, if I do everything on the correction list, can he still not be happy with it? (E.g., he might say I didn't cover things in enough detail, etc). Can the external examiner (who is much more realistic) overule his decision if the worst comes to the worst? I'm just a bit nervous about him...
Passed with minor corrections yesterday, have three months to do them.
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