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Unemployed postdoc

Quote From Dunham:
Quote From PhDefault:

My phd ex-supervisor has given me crappy references too in the past, and I've lost job offers due to them (it's really poor form! I don't know why it's not illegal to give a bad reference!)

In Germany it is "illegal" and it does not help at all. You are obliged to write a positive reference, but in the end this just led to the development of a code language, where certain phrases are equivalent for certain grades. So if your letter does not state that your one of the brightest minds the boss ever met and that you are god's gift to employers, it does not help you at all. Your letter then might say you did a good job, but everybody knows that "good job" stands for satisfying and not good.
In the end, if your employer is not happy with your performance, why should he be obliged to write otherwise? He could just refuse to say anything about the ex-employee when asked but I doubt that this would help your application to succeed :D


I totally understand a poor reference being written for someone who might not be above a certain level of performance. But my phd super was a bit special, in the sense that she'd be all praise to my face, but poor references when it came to it? I'm only glad one of my interviewers felt sorry enough to tell me that I couldn't get the job because of a bad reference! I changed my referee following that to say the least.

It's amazing that it it's illegal in Germany. Britain should consider it. Unless there are rules in place that nobody follows...? :/

Unemployed postdoc

Hi DrPurple

I feel for you. I've been there. But it does get better (for want of a better cliche). The interviews in a few weeks time is a good sign, so keep your hopes up :).

My phd ex-supervisor has given me crappy references too in the past, and I've lost job offers due to them (it's really poor form! I don't know why it's not illegal to give a bad reference!)

The worst thing you could do is feel like what your parents (quite meanly, if you don't mind my saying) thought out for you is manifesting itself. It might be because you're not feeling particularly at a high at the moment that it's feeling that way.

In no way should you feel embarassed at your life. You've achieved alot, and you're feeling a set-back at the minute. But yeah if your feelings do continue, seek some help maybe?

Is there a possibility that you could continue your training part-time, while you did a part-time job somewhere? (even if that part-time job wasn't what you were looking to do in the long term?)

No Job 5 months after graduating.

Quote From AndrewPetelov:
Over 60 rejections, over half a year of meaningless search, not even single invite to an interview. I'm getting suicide thoughts fellas.

AndrewPetelov, please find a way of getting out of those thoughts. Every single one of us posting here is in the same boat. Start anything: volunteering, private tutoring in a subject of your choice (I did. It's great money in hand and you're interacting with people - eventually you'll find you're more and more in demand for tuitions! It might not be exactly what you're looking for - but, and from someone who now tutors quite a few young adults - it's rewarding and it's effing fantastic money!), anything to stop you eating away at your own thoughts. Unemployment sucks massively. But you're valued!!!

No Job 5 months after graduating.

Quote From idawo:
Part II
Keep the faith.

Got to hand it to you for this line. That's quite an ordeal you've been through, yet you're still able to stay positive. Very commendable.

How to withdraw application

That's really awkward. I don't get why some academics feel the need to push their authority by acting meanly. Surely they'd get more appreciation by being nice??

I'd say it's better to get out now instead of going through the whole process. Do you have any another active applications going? Even if you don't (and you're 100% sure you don't want to go with this person anymore still) you could pretend you have been offered a better position elsewhere? maybe say something along the lines of, "thank you for your time and the helpful meetings, but I have decided to take up a position elsewhere".

Calling all Scientists esp Chemist, Pharmacists

Your method sounds good. Use an aqueous or polar solvent (water? ethanol?), dissolve the hydrophilic powder, filter, dry, IR/NMR/mass spec it.

R &R Trust issues with supervisor- need honest answers, but don't know how to ask

Why have they said they can't supervise you anymore? Seems a little harsh and unfair for them to say that, and then leave you without a reason for them for saying that.

Depending on how major your revisions are (do you need to recollect some data, or is it just formatting and extra writing?) - can you resubmit from your home country? There were lots of international students from my department that did that when their visas ran out, and just had to come for their viva after a via renewal. That way they had a break and got to visit home, and got the work done. But of course, they had the support of their supervisors and knew that they would be able to return for the viva.

I'd hold back from going in all guns blazing towards your supervisor. It can do more damage than good, and you don't need that on top of what you're going through right now. And unfortunately academia is so incestuous (there is nobody that isn't acquainted with academics you have to work with), that you have to keep a reputation about you. Or at least don't give anyone an excuse to use anything against you. I feel your pain, because I've seen international students go through being used for their money like you said and then left in the lurch. It's awful.

But, at this point - for your own sanity at least - detach yourself from the situation. It's all professional (or lack thereof!!), not personal. Get admin involved, ask for a reason for them not wanting to supervise you anymore, you're well within your rights to considering it's your money they're using. And if you can, request for a change of supervisor. Even if it is purely for the purposes of a quick proof-read (unless you can trust someone to help you do that - I proof-read myself before resub, it hurt but I managed it) and signing off on resubmitting.

Publish and Perish blogpost

Quote From JStanley:
Maybe Stefan Grimm's death will prompt some discussion about the corporatisation of third level.

I hope it does. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

boycotting exploitative posts...

Not the first time it has happened. Disgusting. Universities are feeding off the desperation of the unemployed.

Kick up enough of a stink though, and they'll listen.


Ah glad the brownie in a mug went well! :D
I'm just going to...paste this here. THE most amazing banoffee pie recipe I've ever used. So easy, and so tasty! Plus, the website has little Christmas prezzie ideas (the cutest mint creams!!!)

Have a warm and indulgent winter. :)

PhD Fail viva Appeal

My supervisor was exactly the same. I got out with a lot of fighting, and my graduation delayed. But I recently found out she was giving me bad references for potential jobs (I was stuck with her as a referee, which she agreed to), plus a whole list of negligent behaviour that I have recorded.

Is it worth the hassle/expenses of going through the courts, even if the PhD has been awarded and certificate received?

Anyone else on an emotional rollercoaster of huge ups and bigger downs?

Ha yes, we've all had the deep philosophical "who am I?" sort of debates with yourself at unusual times. I had one this morning at 3am...perfectly good night's sleep ruined!

You've got a good plan going. Sometimes you just need to forget the phd exists for a while. Feel like you again. Chin up! 😊


I think concluding the viva is a good sign. One guy from my department defended his work for 6 hours (!!) and then they had to reschedule to continue the discussion, because neither the academic nor the guy would come to some sort of mddle ground.

Congratulations on finishing!

Anyone else on an emotional rollercoaster of huge ups and bigger downs?

Have you just described "imposter syndrome"? There's a few blog posts about it out there.

Or you're just in dire need of a break!

Informally reviewed unpublished papers

Oh ok! Sorry, i thought you were fully meaning to publish it, just not wanting to add coauthors/your supervisor etc hence the "burning bridges" comment. And by "might not mean anything" was again a referral to if you were fully intending to submit to publish but hadn't just yet. Because I've been told that a submitted manuscript is an active manuscript etc which shows people you're actively publishing. But you can ignore all that. I got the wrong end of the stick completely! :/

I guess in that case you can refer to it by all means as a way of showing potential employers what you've been doing. And there's nothing wrong in handling it as you want to, it is all your work after all. :)