Overview of Mackem_Beefy

Overview

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Mackem_Beefy
Monday, 13 September 2010 at 6:14pm
Wednesday, 3 July 2019 at 1:26pm
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page 1 of 85 recent posts

Thread: Unemployed :(

posted
27-Jul-15, 15:48
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From kathryn15:
Quote From Eska:
Hi Kathryn, No one should feel reduced to a panic attack at the thought of socialising with colleagues.

It's just a sinking feeling... I can't go home at 5pm, instead I have to socialise with colleagues after work and it's just another chore. I have to put on my fake "social" face and pretend I'm interested in small talk, and think of things to say. It's exhausting. I'd prefer to be at home with my cat and family.

One of the reasons I liked being a PhD student was because I was mostly left alone to get on with my work without anyone interfering. I actually do ok with teaching because it's very structured interaction where we're discussing pre-defined topics. I don't have to be chatty or witty and nobody has to like me.


Like it or not, this is par for the course. Even if you only stay an hour then excuse yourself for childcare reasons, it shows willing, making a massive difference in colleagues' perceptions of you!!!

Referring to my earlier post and comments you've made since, I was also in the situation that my research record wasn't current. Yes, I tried to publish my existing data and managed to push out several papers from it. Glancing at scholar.google.com shows people are reading and citing them.

However, an additional problem was academic and research posts were going to fresh PhD graduates and I basically stood no chance. I'm still in the real world job I mentioned I'd found earlier. A point comes you have to admit that not everything follows that golden path you might have planned for yourself, simply to ensure you're earning a wage. It's also easier to find a job when in a job.

I'll be blunt. Your PhD is only important to you. Be proud of your achievement, but don't believe the world owes you more because you can call yourself "Doctor".

Ian

Thread: Unemployed :(

posted
23-Jul-15, 20:15
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Kathryn,

Dare I say, been there got the T-shirt. I ended up in your situation due to a very poor post-doc experience at a Uni. other than my PhD Uni. I'll not bore people with the story, however, I took on what was meant to be a "moving on" 2nd post-doc away from my PhD Uni., I fell out with a post-doc assigned with my mentor and ultimately the project leading Prof. I left without a reference, making my job hunting especially difficult. Put simply, my face didn't fit and they should never have employed me as I was not suited to the post.

The feelings you are having are vitually the same as mine back then. I felt that what I had to offer was worthless and I had a skills set no-one wanted. I attacked the jobs market for both academic and real world posts. The responses you'll recognise, in that I was too academically oriented, I would move on as soon as something better came along or I'd find the job boring.

In the end, I restructured my CV to emphasise my real world skills, demoting my academic achivements largely to the second page. I also learnt how to better sell myself. Wording in CVs and interviews should be about what you achieved and what positive outcomes resulted, rather than about "what you did". I made the language more positive and saleable as well. I had per-PhD industrial experience to fall back on, helping me to finally land a job albeit outside academia.

A further factor was I was called back to my PhD Uni. for some unpaid work, which helped reset my references. You have teaching experience, thus you might become a trainer in industry.

One key difference between you and I. I never regreted the PhD iitself, an orignal contribution, new knowledge, the reasons I did a PhD. And all that fun kit to play with too I never thought I have the chance to use. No regrets!!!

Ian

Thread: Academic career with ex-polytechnic degrees?

posted
14-Jul-15, 20:44
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Two MScs? I wouldn't be worried about the ex-Poly label to be honest. As long as you submit a strong application and if invited, interview well, you stand as good a chance as any.

The one thing that would concern me (speaking as someone who did their PhD after two Masters - though I had a five year real world working gap) is the two similar MScs may give you a perceived perpetual student label. You will need to explain why this is not the case.

A good first degree will probably be as good a selling point as any here, to give you a variety of knowledge and skills to take into a potential PhD.

Best of luck.

Ian

Thread: 1st year problems

posted
14-Jul-15, 20:39
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
:X


Are you drunk TreeofLife?

You've made a few very strange posts this evening. :-)

Ian

Thread: Failed PhD

posted
14-Jul-15, 20:37
edited about 7 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From adamA:
I attended the hearing today and before the judge introduce themselves; the chairman mentioned that I have a very strong appeal grounds and I could see sympathy and anger in his eyes.

They ask me to give my statement. All I said, you have my length (20 pages) appeal statement and there is no point for me to repeat the same thing. All I want is to be examined fairly like every other PhD students in our university and I want to be examined by two examiners who are expert in my field.

After that, they ask couple simple questions to verify my statement and they ask me to step outside. After 30 minute they call me in and said they have approved my appeal.

They quashed the examiners decision, and have given me 12 months to do any changes as I wish and a fresh Viva examination.

If you find yourself in my situation and I hope you don’t, send me a private message, I do my best to help and advise you what to do. There are many things which can help your appeal but you don’t know. I have read many rule, regulation and UK quality for higher education (QAA) regulation and learn a lot form them.
After I put my story on here, I had a private message from (Scrabbler) and he gave me a very good advice which strengthened my appeal statement significantly and I’m very grateful for that.

I will be letting you know when I set my new Viva and how the examination goes


Adam,

Is the new viva with fresh examiners? You've not made that clear.

Apart from that, nice one lad!!! :-)

Ian

Thread: The strange post-PhD year (or more) - what did/will you do?

posted
05-Jul-15, 20:57
edited about 15 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From MrDoctor:
Thanks for all of your helpful replies!

Ian (Mackem_Beefy), I find your post really intriguing because it resonates strongly with me.

The PhD has nearly broken me. I posted on here a while back that I was in a constant state of worry, anxiety and am generally burnt out. Yes my CV looks great, but it's come at a cost.

The notion of a quiet two years or so is very interesting. I *do* feel like I need to find myself again. I'm still me, but with some scratches and bruises which weren't there 3 years ago.

It's a constant battle in my mind. On side 1 is the voice saying "you've got a PhD and a teaching qualification, so you should be working in academia now. If you aren't, you've failed". On side 2, and we'll call this guy Mr. Rational(!), the voice is saying "take some time out! You're not even 30 yet, and you've been in education for over a decade on and off. Get a job you enjoy which pays enough to keep you happy, keep researching in the background and building your profile up, and each time a job comes up, go for it. One day, you'll get one".

The key question is - how do you make Side 2 triumph over Side 1?!


You need side 2 to make sense of side one is my take. You can't stay in hyper mode for ever or your health will suffer, physically or mentally. You've just got to browse this forum for half an hour or so to see where people have been at the end of their tether.

Ian

Thread: MPhil without Phd

posted
05-Jul-15, 11:30
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
To go just for an MPhil without PhD will probably not add anything to your CV.

An MPhil is seen by many as a poor relation to a PhD. It's what's awarded when a PhD candidate has failed to make an original contribution or new data to their field.

A taught Masters is a different matter, in that clear skills are being added to your repertoire. This makes a taught Masters an easier sell and better justification of your time in education and out of the jobs market.

I personally would give just an MPhil a miss, the one exception being if it was as part of a teaching company scheme with a placement in industry. With a teaching company scene, you're at least picking up real saleable work place skills.

Ian

Thread: The strange post-PhD year (or more) - what did/will you do?

posted
04-Jul-15, 19:55
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
The post-PhD year varies depending upon the person. With me, it was to try to have a quiet post-doc period whilst I got my head sorted out. The truth is I wasn't sure where to go to begin with, so I needed time to think. Unfortunately, changes in my friends' lives and other factors meant it didn;t quite work out that way.

I went from hyper to nothing in about 10 days. Minor corrections, sorted within a week, then I suddenly realised I had my life back when out for a walk one lunchtime.

After a few big holidays (I'd not had a decent holiday for a few years due to the PhD and family problems) I decided in a change in direction and applied for post-doc at another University. For reasons I'll not go into (already discussed on here a number of times), it didn't work out as the decision was rushed at the behest of some well meaning relatives and it was not a position that was right for me - I wish I'd looked around a little longer. But that's a long time ago.

I feel you need healing time once a PhD is over as you go from a bruising, high stress situation to virtually nothing at all. It's just a case of using that time to decide on direction and purpose once you have the chance, as during the latter stages of PhD there is nothing but the PhD. It dominates your every waking and sometimes sleeping moment.

One further thing I've picked up on is that women seem to recover more quickly than men. Men seem to need that quiet two years after, whilst women seem to be up and running far more quickly (they might talk of a quiet six month to a year if at all).

Ian

Thread: MSc in last year of PhD

posted
27-Jun-15, 12:08
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
You seem pretty determined on starting the Masters before finishing the PhD and you being a father, I understand you want to be in a position for both to be over as quickly as possible so you can start earning money for your family.

I'll start by saying my Masters and PhD were done at very different times. However, during both the Masters and PhD, my time commitments were heavy with a 12 to 16 hour day commitment in both (during the write-up phase at least of the PhD) a regular feature.

Your Masters will overlap with the last six to eight months of your PhD, at a time you completing write-up. This for me is a critical period and as many PhD candidates know, the dreaded red pen of the supervisor will see three, four, even five drafts of your thesis script returned to you for alteration and revision. There's also the hazards of the supervisor back tracking to ask you to revise a section you thought was complete, new literature appearing before submission forcing further changes and other unforseen delays.

In a best case scenario, you can surely see that 12 hours (Masters) plus 12 hours (PhD) wipes out your time. So when exactly do you intend to sleep? You will find very little time to work on your PhD.

I was doing an evening a week lamguage course before and during the early stages of my PhD. As the PhD ramped up, I had to give up that course. Taking on a Masters at the same time is something I would not contemplate.

If you're determined to do this Masters as you seem, I would advise looking at your options on PhD suspension whilst you work on your Masters. The number of posts I've seen on health issues due to the stress of PhD alone on this forum is quite staggering.

Ian

Thread: PhD age limit?

posted
29-May-15, 13:19
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Mark_B:
Re. the under-30 limit for the UK loans - the Government is justifying the cap on the basis that under 30s apparently face the greatest financial barriers when considering further study. They've released evidence and rationale for this, which may be of interest:


To be cynical, they also have most of their working lives ahead of them when they complete their PhDs (worst case, finish at 35), meaning the government is going to recover more money from the student later on before they approach retirement age.

Ian

Thread: What's it like to do a PhD?

posted
29-May-15, 13:08
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
What seems like years ago, I did a blog on what to expect during a PhD and what a PhD actually is.

It was done originally for other students who were asking me about PhDs at my former University so I wouldn't have to answer the same questions over and over again, however, it's proved to be of use to others so here it is.

Have a read and perhaps it will be of help to you too.

Ian

Thread: Can you refuse some revisions after viva?

posted
22-May-15, 12:23
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From JStanley:
I was actually given major revisions in order to rewrite it as a book! They wanted a book there and then and no amount of explaining that this is a thesis not a book could get through to them. As I rewrote their poxy changes in 5 weeks it's a very crap book ;-) As someone else pointed out though OP it really doesn't matter because now the university owns a very crap thesis from me and I get to use my original thesis for my publications without worrying about self-plagiarism. It's actually worked out for the best in that sense. I've managed to get publications in high ranking journals very quickly using the version the examiners made me rewrite. I understand how you feel about this because I've been there and done it too but you just have to play along for now and then do your own thing afterwards. It was heartbreaking being made to dumb it down and rip it apart but I had to do it because it's a court with no appeals. Just do it and then do your publications as you please (and, yup, you might be asked to revise for publications too but it's your decision then whether the reviewers have a point or take it elsewhere). Publications are entirely different IMO and much more fun.


Rewrite it as a book??

That goes against the norm for sure. But sticking to point, it that's what they wanted, so be it!!!

Ian

Thread: Can you refuse some revisions after viva?

posted
22-May-15, 12:12
edited about 6 minutes later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From thxht:
Bilbo, you are probably right about the pragmatism - I should be more cynical office worker and less sensitive artist :-) I just find it disturbing how coercive and undemocratic the whole thing is, and how normal everyone seems to find this. Again,it's not that I'm refusing to do any corrections at all, just this one seems arbitrary and frankly a bit abusive ("spent five years creating something you're proud of? Great, now we want you to set it on fire, then you can have your degree. And no, you cannot argue because we're your superiors which automatically makes us right, ha ha").

Yes, that's academia for you. But do we have to just lie down and accept that?


I've just checked my old Universitiy's regulations and guidelines. I have to concede in the case of my old University, you're right!!!

This is all it says, quote:

--------

In a single volume thesis, material should be arr anged in the following
sequence:

An outer front and back cover
A Title page
An Abstract of the thesis (on a separate page)
List of contents
List of tables and figures
List of accompanying material
Preface
Acknowledgement(s)
Author’s declaration
Text, divided into chapters, sections and subsections
Appendices (in single volume thesis)
Glossary
List of references
Bibliography
Index

--------

That said, I'd still just do as the examiners say and get the damn thing finished with.

I get where you're at, as your head is still in hotwired mode with the thesis and the viva being so recent. However, people here are telling you to just do what the examiners want.

Once you hand over your hardbound copy and begin to wind down, you'l see the wisdom of these words. Just don't blow it now by resisting and finding yourself without a PhD.

Ian

Thread: Can you refuse some revisions after viva?

posted
20-May-15, 15:07
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
(Part 2)

The variation of outcomes basically covers the varying amounts of work the examiners think is needed to bring the thesis up to PhD standard (and format). What can be faced by the candidate can vary, though typical outcomes may include the following:

a. a straight forward pass (the thesis and exam were error free) - this almost never happens;

b. minor corrections, where the thesis has a few typing mistakes - this is the most common outcome for passing candidates and the candidate is asked to resubmit with errors corrected without any further examination (that's what happened to me) - the request for corrections is a token gesture by the examiners, to show they've had a good look at your work;

c. major corrections (also known as 'revise and resubmit') - this can involve a significant degree of rewriting with resubmission six months to a year later;

d. major corrections with a requirement for a second viva (re-examination) probably six months or a year later after resubmission;

e. downgrade to M.Phil. - the work was not original enough to justify a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. (Master of Philosophy - with possible corrections) is awarded instead - a Master of Philosophy is a lesser research degree not requiring the same degree of original or new work (though people originally doing an M.Phil. can also be upgraded to a Ph.D. if the level of new findings warrants this); or

f. the candidate fails because they've completely messed up - this is very rare as most supervisors would not allow examination to go ahead without being sure their candidate would pass (as said before, with no more than minor corrections) - also, clearly failing candidates generally either withdraw or downgrade to MPhil.

--------

Hope that explains things for you!!!

Ian

Thread: Can you refuse some revisions after viva?

posted
20-May-15, 15:05
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 4 years ago
Quote From Dunham:
In most other countries you have no minor/major corrections. You submitted your thesis, defend it in public and pass or fail. Maybe that is the reason why you call it viva in the UK and not PhD defense like most other countries :) I also think it's strange. Never heard of that process before I found this forum.

I think you can't really negotiate. A thesis usually has to have a certain structure. I would just change it in that way and then publish the other version as a book. If you negotiate that examiner might get even more pissed. I would just do it and get rid of it ;)


"Viva" is short for "Viva Voce", Latin for "Live Voice". It's just the term used in some countries (i.e. UK, Canada, New Zealand) for the oral thesis defence.

(Part 1)
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