People say the most annoying things

03-Sep-10, 01:10
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for Walminskipeasucker
posted about 10 years ago
Firstly, I'd like to add a disclaimer. I'm well aware that I lack subtlety and tact. I'm equally well aware that I can sometimes say annoying and insensitive things to others. Now, perhaps it's because I'm working extremely long hours and not getting nearly enough sleep. Maybe I'm just becoming a grouch in my old age. So, I'm a fine one to talk. But there's a couple of things people say to me that are really starting to grate. However unlikely, perhaps it's the same for some of you? On a point by point basis, here they are:

1) You'll miss it when you've done it [my PhD] - you won't know what to do with yourself.

My subsequent action: [Shrugs shoulders]
My instinctive reaction: No, no, you idiot! I really won't miss it when it's done. I'll never look at it again or speak about it. I'm going to start doing normal things like normal people because I want to be normal. In fact, I'm going to take a bound copy of my thesis home and inflict the same torture to it that it's inflicted on me by burning it alive in some twisted re-interpretation of the Wicker Man.

2) You'll be on loads of money when you're done.
My subsequent action: Well, it's really not like that.
My instinctive reaction: You what!? No I frixxin' won't! If I ever manage to get a job I'll be on a series of short-term contracts for life, never knowing where I'll be working from one year to the next. Tell you what, you have my job and I'll have yours!

3)What, you're still doing that PhD?
My subsequent action: Yep, it takes a long time.
My instinctive reaction: What the XXXX do you think it is? A 500 word story and a multiple choice exam!? What, you still asking the same stupid questions?

4) It'll all be worth it in the end!
My subsequent action: Hmm, I hope so.
My instinctive reaction: Well thanks for that Miss Editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement and world-renowned fortune teller! When I ring you up to sell you a mobile phone, I'll say, 'you were right!'

And, this one really gets to me :-s

5) What ya gonna do when you've finished.

My subsequent action: Well, I think I might want to do research and be a lecturer.
My Instinctive Reaction: That's the 607th time you've XXXXing well asked me that! I quite fancy a stint on JSA taking up filling in job applications as a full-time hobby, eventually graduating to the dizzy heights of part time work!

And this one's personal...

6) Eurgh! There's a spelling mistake on your questionnaire...
My subsequent action: Oh, let me see?
My completely unjustified instinctive reaction: Gerroff! 3 years of toil, and you just had to ruin it all for me, didn't you!?

Well, that's all my little bug bears and it was almost cathartic turning it all into pixels on my laptop screen. It would be interesting to see if anyone else finds things that people say to them annoying.
03-Sep-10, 01:18
edited about 21 seconds later
by phdbug
Avatar for phdbug
posted about 10 years ago
Wally, tbh, questions 1 and 4 seem quite ok I think! Question 5 could be a generic question we often ask others/ourselves. Perhaps the PhD stress makes us react to some 'normal' questions with irritation, at times? At least, for me, it happens a lot!
03-Sep-10, 01:29
Avatar for Alpacalover
posted about 10 years ago
I am EXACTLY the same! I could just scream at people when they do these things! I think its peoples instinctive questions because most of the time a) they don't understand what a PhD is, b) they don't understand what it entails, and c) they just don't know what to say to make you feel better or encourage etc!

but it drives me insane! One of the worst people is actually my Dad! He means well, but i've blown up at him a couple of times! He seems to care more about me being a DOCTOR, than I do (generally cos I don't give two hoots anymore other than getting the damn thing out of my life!!).

I also get - but you just don't know what will come along when you're done, and it might not even be a field you'd consider, all different sectors head hunt people like you!

What is a person like me? what am I? Cos all I see is an almost manic, sleep deprived, suddenly very skinny, stress ball that no-one in their right mind would look at and want to hire!!! :)

Anyway that's my moan over! Keep smiling and just know that whatever rubbish is going to come with it, at least we can have bank cards that say Dr! (maybe we'll get bigger credit limits?) - I'll need it on the wage i'm on right now!

03-Sep-10, 02:02
edited about 9 seconds later
by teek
Avatar for teek
posted about 10 years ago
I suggest printing out copies of this comic and handing them out as informative fliers for people who look tempted to ask such questions. Perhaps with a line saying "Yes, Really. Your inane questions will be taken AT LEAST this badly".

All I can say is thank God my last conversation with my mother was by phone, though that said, I'm sure she could sense the dagger looks and rolled eyes even across the mobile phone network. Apparently it's worth it because;

"You'll be a doctor!" - and this matters why? Ok, admittedly even I once considered this bit of status-slutting a perk. That time has long since passed.

"It'll be useful" - no, no it won't. I am going into a field in which it's barely relevant, and in which using even my title would confuse people. Unless I have a some sort of amnesia-inducing seizure and forget the horror that is academia, I can't see any circumstances under which I'd actually make use of this.

"Once it's written you'll have your PhD" - oh, the simplest of lies. Once it's done I get to; do endless corrections, have it torn to shreds by people who know more than I can ever hope to, if I'm lucky then do more corrections, and if I'm really lucky, pay for the privelege of having the final item gather dust on university shelves.

I think the only vaguely convincing reasons I've been given for continuing were offered by one of the postdocs I work with. He came up with;

Once it's done, you never have to do it again
Once it's done, you never have to look at it again
Once it's done, you can forget the torment and have some sort of life

These reasons I can stomach, even if they are a bit pathetic in terms of motivation.
03-Sep-10, 02:08
Avatar for Alpacalover
posted about 10 years ago
my motivation is this:
Once i'm done, i never have to deal with my supervisor again....!!

That's it, the best reason i have for getting this over as quickly as possible!!

Right i'm off to bed, must get some semblance of sleep so I can feel half human to get this to printers tomorrow! Don't wanna spend a fortune on the f***ker and find I did it wrong..... :p
03-Sep-10, 07:43
edited about 21 seconds later
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 10 years ago
Yes Wal, I feel your pain.

I keep on getting the 'you'll get a really good job after' at which point I just spiral into a deep pool of despair. I had a student tell me that this week - a student who has NO idea what the job market in academia is. And this was the day after I had to sit down with hubby and write out a budget because my funding has now ended, I have no job and I have essentially educated and specialised myself out of 'normal' jobs :-(

03-Sep-10, 08:00
edited about 20 seconds later
Avatar for algaequeen
posted about 10 years ago
Oh Wally!! How that made me laugh!! I've been fending these off myself, and ready to kill at times....

My personal favourite, was the night I flew home for a meeting with my supervisors a few weeks ago. I had stopped off to visit my cousin who I hadn't seen in ages, and was telling her about how stressed I've been, how worried about my writing, and I was literally terrified about the meeting the following day. Her fiance walked in and asked "Writing up, is it hard like?" in a tone that implied, you're just writing, how hard can it be?!

I had to restrain myself from screaming at him. BUT!! we're nearly there eh?!
03-Sep-10, 10:24
by Cakeman
Avatar for Cakeman
posted about 10 years ago
There is some truth in the first one, for a bit after you've been to the pub and slept, you probably won't know what to do with your free time for a bit after you've done, although that will pass after a few months.

As for the rest, i'm coming to think that the only people who really understand PhDs are thos who have done them or are doing them, but you should remember that they do at least mean well. Having said that I do empathise with you in that it's so annoying when someone asks me what I do now as I have to go through the whole process................ and nobody ever seems to quite understand.

As well as that people attach massive importance to the title, which I don't do at all, and I don't think many PhD people do.

If possible, it's probably best just to try and humour these people, they do mean well after all.
03-Sep-10, 10:35
by Eska
Avatar for Eska
posted about 10 years ago
that's hilarious, amde me laugh out loud. Maybe you should send it to the Guardian Ed section, and then you could answer question 5 with 'I'm considering taking up some opportunities in journalism'.
03-Sep-10, 10:59
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for stressed
posted about 10 years ago
Oh I feel your pain! I get asked much the same questions again and again and they are enough to make me weep!

Even my hubby tends to do it, his favourite is saying that when I'm done I can then miraculously immediately gain a great job and he can give up work - its enough to make me cry, literally - you'd have thought he'd have got it by now - talk about piling on the pressure! The chances are there will be no job in the current economic and academic climate - the chances of anything beyond a short term contract are remote. Actually, why the hell are we doing this?
03-Sep-10, 11:37
edited about 3 seconds later
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 10 years ago
======= Date Modified 03 Sep 2010 11:42:08 =======
my dad is ALWAYS saying "oh you just need to get this phd done" and I feel like saying "well dad, you went to art school 40 years ago and therefore have NO idea what a PhD is or what it involves, plus, what the hell do you think I do all day - this is the process of 'getting the phd done' its just going to take longer than 1 week" :-s

ETA: My parents also seem to have the habit of asking me how my PhD is going when I've just spent 30 mins trying desparately not to think about my PhD and have at last achieved some 'psychological detatchment' from the blimmin thing e.g. evenings/weekends. They then tell me what they think I need to do to get it done. Right dad, sorry your expertise in my very specific area of psychology is outstanding, considering you don't even know what psychology is.
03-Sep-10, 12:38
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 10 years ago
Hmmm, my personal favourites are a bit more subject specific...when I say I study psychology/clinical psychology I usually get a response along the signs of 'ooooh, can you tell what I'm thinking?' or 'oh, we need a counsellor in my family' or 'oh, so you understand body language then?'. That used to infuriate me given that I was spending all of my time studying the biology of mental illness or examining brain scans or doing horribly complicated statistics or something. In fact, after a particularly patronising comment from my flatmate I once went through an episode of leaving my textbooks lying open on the most complicated looking pages as if to 'prove' that I wasn't doing a 'soft' subject! Sad, I know, but most people really don't know what psychology involves and it infuriates me at times when they assume it's something really bullshitty! Anyway, rant over lol! Best, KB
03-Sep-10, 13:00
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 10 years ago
so true KB - "i had a dream last night...what does it mean?"

My mother in law asked me on advice about what colour to paint her bathroom 'because you're a psychologist' WTF!? and has also asked me if I know of a 'syndrome' where people graffiti things - so she could complain against a planning proposal in her street because she thougth it might cause this 'syndrome' i.e cause people to graffiti things. Erm..what!?
03-Sep-10, 13:14
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for chrisrolinski
posted about 10 years ago

Oh this post is so very true - so many questions, such despair! So glad mine is over. So glad.
03-Sep-10, 13:28
Avatar for stressed
posted about 10 years ago
Ha ha, you psychologists should try being a historian!!!! They try and catch you out all the time - soooooo..... who ordered the charge at the battle of whereever in 1245?? huh? huh? oooh you don't know? Thought you were a historian!! (do you get that Chris or is it just me who suffers?) Trying to explain that I'm actually a social and cultural historian studying a certain sector within a time frame of 60 years in a specific geographical location tends to stump them! They think I should know everything that has ever happened everywhere in the world since creation!

Sorry... the syndromes and the can you tell what I'm thinking are just classics - I think with the latter I'd be tempted to say that no..its impossible... you need to have a working braincell for me to do that :p


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