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Anyone else intimidated by very high achievers?

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[quote]Quote From pjlu:

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Finally, I think it is really important not to assume that people who have the most marvellous achievements and things, are necessarily unhealthily driven or unhappy or not nice people..


Returned for a bit :-) to say yes to this above. We must not assume that these horrible people "cry into their soup at night because they have no soul" or "even if they outwardly deny it are working insane hours to outshine others".

Who are we to decide if someone has a soul or not? And if they are crying into their soup at night, it could well be us next. And what do they have to do to prove that they are perhaps not trying to outshine others? Work less? Achieve less? Stop? Become a clone of X person? Becuase clearly denying it is not enough.

I absolutely don't mean to offend Wally or Sneaks, but both these comments seemed unfair. But it is good to know people think this way.

How to deal with difficult people/ people you don't like?

Thanks very much dear Ady.

A story from last month. So i finished my PhD in 3 years and moved to a new country (again) with this job. Ok. The moving months were incredibly tough (emotionally) for various reasons however, it did not reflect on my work (I developed work as an outlet for other pains back when I was 14-15).

A friend of mine - who is in a phD programme came to visit me. She is 4 yrs older, halfway through the PhD, has a partner. I cooked for her etc. All the time she was there she told me how sad it is that I dont have more friends in the new country, and that I am single and I should asap join stuff to find people because work is not everything.

I felt miserable, I went online and tried to google groups and clubs and got stuck. That evening, we had drinks. A male friend of mine, with his girlfriend around - had had a few caipirinhas. He said point blank - "look at you. Moving around from continetn A to continent B, and now you will move again. I dont want that life. Maybe it is because you dont have a relationship that you feel this tremdnous need to perform".

he is a really nice guy and I did NOT expect that comment.

Inadequacies are fine and they often get reflected on to those we think are in a better position. But things become a problem if we feel small as a result - like that evening, I thought - wow, I finished my PHD earlier - but he is right - they have partners and stability and I am this rootless person.

How to deal with difficult people/ people you don't like?

I will be honest.

Let me also add that I am one person who for a fact - feels completely inadequate - when I see people balancing a PhD and a relationship, or a PhD and kids. My CV shows a young age and some achievements, but within me, I know for a fact that my own priorities (top prioriites) in life and a long term, committed, stable relationship and children - primarily because I never got a proper family when I grew up and my parents were unhappy and then broke up.

And when I see PhDers or post docs with a partner to go home to or throwing a lovely party with their kids making little hand printed cards for them - I sometimes feel I am making all the wrong f*&&*ed up choices in life. It takes me quite a long while to tell myself - there is still time, and maybe, maybe, I am not that inadequate.

But who knows, perhaps those who I feel inadequate around feel PhDbug is young and has 3 articles published and did a phd in 3 yrs and always asks excited questions about research - she is horrid. They dont know what i feel with regard to their lives.

This is my point - what I revealed above is a bare, honest confession of my biggest feeling of inadequacy. That does not make my colleague with a kid or with a 15 yr relationship a bad person.

How to deal with difficult people/ people you don't like?

I'm on my way out of this forum, but I couldn't help adding - what is wrong in people asking questions about your research? Many ask of me - if I am enjoying my research, if I am happy with my department, if my supervision is fine, how many bla bla or bla are there, whether we are encouraged to publish. I do too, and I dont think either side feels challenged in the process. at least in the questions Mak identifies below - I would see *absolutely* nothing wrong! Research is about people asking questions and being interested.

I would strongly re-iterate what Heidy says and what I said in my reply - a lot of the original post is about things the OP feels as inadequacies when everyone might have different inadequacies or flaws. That should not lead to the assumption that the question "are you happy with your PhD" is necessarily such a horrid question to ask.

B'bye peeps!

Awww thanks so much Andy!! This rocks, totally! :)

B'bye peeps!

Dear forumites,

It has been so wonderful getting to 'know' some of you over these 3 years and in countless ways you have inspired and sustained and energized me. I think it is time to call it a day on this forum, with the PhD thankfully done, with your support!

A big thank you to all of you, but especially to those that I remember for their help - Eska for her loving support last year when a relative was very very ill, and for her support in general, Natassia for being so inspiring. for sharing with me her loving relationship with her grandad which strengthened me and for much needed hair advice, keenBean for being a great academic example to learn from, Bilbobaggins for being a true inspiration, Walmiskipeasucker for his humor but most for a sweet poem he wrote for me one summer on the forum which I have saved with me, Sneaks for her help with sharing work when I needed to see some good stuff for direction, and many others who offered sympathy solidarity, congratulations, pushes and pats on the back as appropriate.

So, b'bye for now,

Lots of love,


How to deal with difficult people/ people you don't like?

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Quote From huhu:

Now, looking at my current situation- lack of support/ guidance from my supervisor, not much progress, only doing about 50% from my initial research plan, still have a large part of my research to finish until the end of this year, feeling lost, no one to discuss about my project with in here, not so many robots existing/ produced in my lab, I do feel lonely / depressed sometimes in here, have been on sleeping pills every now and then, will be presenting a very basic topic in the conference (that I am really suffering) and looking at her situation- having husband, 2 or 3 kids, a good career as a lecturer although she does not have a Phd yet (in my country we can be a lecturer although we don't have a PhD yet), producing many papers every year, became a paper reviewer, won a research grant from the government last year, will be going to pursue her PhD in "country B" soon, I am feeling that may be she is right.:-( Things have not been as well as I have hoped/ expected but I am still ploughing on. :-l I am quite certain that she will ask more judgmental questions when we meet. I don't want to lie nor brag about things that are not really that good, nor reply to her with harsh words, but I also don't want admit that she is right nor look like a hopeless pathetic person who is going to lose her mind :-s. Any advice? Thanks.

Dear Huhu,

I have a feeling others will disagree with what I say but are you absolutely confident that the issues/problems/whatever you call it are with your friend? Perhaps they are to do with the constellation of factors in which you are finding yourself right now?

I am sure you know her best - but sometimes people ask lots of questions about other people's research which are perceived as competitive when truly rivalry is not the spirit in which they are asked. I say this because I think I have been on the receiving end of this verdict a few times - and because I know who I am, at heart, and I know what kind of a person I am - it has hurt me. Now - if I did not care about these individuals, or if I was an achieving robot without a heart these verdicts would not matter. But they do - but nobody knows they do, and that I think about it a lot and I wish I could change things.

I could cite some recent instances but to preserve anonymity I will not. I am only saying that - if you were in a different position right now, would your perceptions of this person be (even slightly) different? if yes, then maybe it is just one of those situations where it is nobody's fault yet one person does not like the other.

You have every right to avoid those you wish to avoid, so you can always just shut her out at the conference if you wish, be cold and distant and go away for coffee or to 'meet someone' in Room X if she walks up to you.

If this person does NOT really have a bad heart, and does NOT wish her friends to dislike her, but sometimes people do, then there is a chance she feels uncomfortable with every tiny success she has - and if it is of any comfort to you - feeling like that is not a good place to be. If she does have a heart and she does value her friends, and yet notices valued people withdrawing, there is a 100 per cent chance she blames herself entirely and that article or grant or whatver she has acheieved, and perhaps even dislikes herself for it. Now that is of no potential comfort to you, perhaps, so you can always just shut her out - she wont even be able to ask why!

Post-phd precarity

This is an interesting blog post and while it does NOT in my opinion spend any time at all on the emotional issues that often emerge at the end of the PhD, the rest of it might be useful to keep in mind for those writing up and/or aiming to finish soon(ish)


Join me if you have a brain

No, I cant get you. I have cooked a lot today and it is freezing in this country I am in and I tried reading your post twice but you lost me halfway.


Quote From hazyjane:

I don't use this or LinkedIn, but I'm starting to think I should. I have an aversion to 'putting myself on the internet' (my Facebook profile is very private, I tweet semi-anonymously and blog anonymously) but I'm starting to think I should be a bit more open with some aspects, in the interests of professional networking. If nothing else, there are two people in UK research with the same name as me, who I could be confused with by people who know a little about my academic background (one is even at the same uni as me). Perhaps I should do something to take charge of my online identity?

I second this absolutely - I think a personal blog, which is STRICTLY professional to desimminate thoughts, work in progress, pubs, conference talks, and an academia.edu account is a good combo. I de-activated my Facebook about 2 months ago and created these two instead and it has seriously helped professional networking, minimised crap personal disruptions and distractions that Facebook affords and in a good way helped me to focus on my work (the blog helped with this)

Unsupportive family

It hurts quite badly to be cut off by those that matter to you or are important to you in some way. Sorry you had to go through this. Really.

Unsupportive family

Quote From Mackem_Beefy:

I was close to a girl a couple of years back and my mum and dad both fell ill. First my mum then my dad and it alternated between the two. There were a couple of rows with the girl triggered by a failure to invite her to my house on the New Year. My dad was poorly again. A further row a few days later over my apparent attitude resulted in a complete break-off in contact. She didn't even give me a chance to explain.

The next few months saw my dad go right down the pan and finally he passed away a few months later. She remained in contact with one of my friends and had to know what was happening. The situation was such that my friend was even wary of attending my dad's funeral in case he offended her and she broke off contact with him (he did come). There was not even a sympathy card from her in the middle of all the chaos. It's now nearly three years later and it's clear just what a bad piece of work she was. As for my mum, she recovered after surgery, however, there are other issues still to be resolved with her.

Yes, these things happen. Indeed. Hugs to you Mackem Beefy. Did you try to contact her in any way after the break off in contact happened. Did she ignore those attempts?

Reflections on finishing

Quote From walminskipeasucker:

Congratulations, Dr Bug! You've stormed through your PhD and you well deserve it! Good luck for your future, though I don't think you'll need it.

Remember us all when you're something like Vice Chancellor of the University of the Whole of the World, or some such.


hahaha Wallly you're here, long time!! Hope you are very well! Don't disappear off the forums :-)

Reflections on finishing

Sorry to hear about this experience Mak :( it can be a real downer if the person meant to support u most does not!

My sup is an international superstar - high flying, super woman, 25 books (seriously) multi country projects, and still gave me so much of her time, responding to hundreds of emails and listening to every silly stumbling idea - I am indebted to her!!

My father says Master in science has not good much jobs then going in buisness

Please study what you want to study, Your dad has lived his life. You go live yours.