I need some advice, I don’t have a good relationship with my supervisor

posted
17-Nov-18, 07:58
by Zena85
Avatar for Zena85
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hello
I don’t have a good relationship with my supervisors and I don’t know how is that went wrong.
Every time I want to submit an abstract he tells me that I have to wait, it’s not a good time and I should have solid work to publish. When I want to apply for a fund, he says that the likelihood of getting it is very low as you don’t have enough reasons to support your application. When I get enough support documents for my application, he told me that I don’t deserve it, my other student deserve it more and she should apply for it. In very calm soundi asked but both of us are your students, he said there will be another chance to apply. I waited until I got a solid work with good results and there was a conference and I wanted to apply, at first he wasn’t happy and he said convince me. I tried to convince him but he was just a brick and he said that is not a good reason and I don’t see why you want to submit an abstract. If you still insisted in that bring the abstract and let me get a look . I gave him the abstract and he said this is rubbish and I don’t think it will be accepted. If you want to submit it go ahead and submit it but I am telling you that it will be rejected. I told him you are my supervisor and you should teach me how to write an abstract as you taught everyone in the group. He told me if I am going to do that then I will end up writing your thesis for you as well. At that point I snapped and yelled at him, I told him that every time I want to apply for a fund you say this person deserve it more than I do, why she deserves it more than me when we are both your student?everyte I want to submit an abstract , instead of couragimg me and help Me like your other students , you put me down and kills me? What did I do to deserve that? He said at this kind of behaviour you will not go further in life, life is unfair and I should live with it.
posted
19-Nov-18, 12:34
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi Zena,

You have a toxic supervisor, no doubt about that. He should be mentoring you but and not constantly belittling you. I would try and change supervisors if possible but I know circumstances can make that hard.

Though a few things might be useful; like what year are you, is he like this with everyone in the lab, do you have other supervisors?
posted
19-Nov-18, 14:30
edited about 28 minutes later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 3 weeks ago
Dear Zena,

First of all, I am so sorry for what you have been through, be strong and confident, that everything is going to get better. Actually while reading your story this what had happened to me verbatim, I suspect whether you were in the same group I was, because my ex-supervisor did the same as yours, in terms of publications, funding. My advice to you that this behaviour will never change as those people are toxic, if you are so early, start looking for good supervisors, if you are at the end, stick to it and move on and get your effort. I think if I were in your position, I can ignore that supervisor for some time and I think what you can do based on what you have mentioned: YOU CAN SUBMIT THE ABSTRACT ( I did the same), and if it is accepted, things can change over. If you don't have other supervisors and it is too complex to change PI, try to ignore him and don't interact a lot with this person, and then watch how things are changing. I think you have to answer the questions posed by rewt, as it could help you in understanding what are the options do you have.
posted
19-Nov-18, 19:27
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hey, sorry to hear about these bad experiences. Try to switch asap to one who has a good reputation or you already have had positive dealings with. As for abstracts... really the best way to learn is to look at ones that have been accepted and, in a way, imitate them. Also, do you have some sense of what might be going wrong with your abstracts, or do you feel happy about them? What I mean is - is there a problem potentially with the idea itself or do you have some writing issues? Getting a few second opinions could be helpful. Don't be shy to show your work to others. You may get someone who is willing to give you some actual constructive feedback to help you. All the best, Tudor.
posted
20-Nov-18, 09:04
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi, Zena85,

I agree with Tudor_Queen. Change supervisors asap. This one does not appear to be the right one for you.
posted
20-Nov-18, 20:20
by Zena85
Avatar for Zena85
posted about 3 weeks ago
Thank you very much for the reply
I did submit my thesis a week ago and my viva in a month
However, I was doing my research independently, I did ignore him as he was about to retired at the end of year 2 of my research.
The second supervisor was not involved in my research at all from the beginning of my research and he had no contributions to anything. So when I wrote a journal paper the first supervisor demanded the second one name to come on the paper I said that is unethical as he has no contributions to my research and he was not involved at all and that would be gifted author. He got angry and emailed the head of the department about that and said if I don’t put the second supervisor name on the paper as he said I should make appointment to meet the head of department and explain myself. Of course I did that and raised everything from the funding to the abstract to leave me alone and not helping me with my research. Of course the head of department sided with them but in the same time in order not to push me towards official complaint he made a middle solution where they have to provide me with weekly meeting and helping me to present my research. I think everyone knows how is that ended, by none of them keep their part of the deal. So after four months from that meeting, the first supervisor (the retired stayed as a supervisor because the HoD didn’t want to replace him) told me what is matter to me, my PhD or publication? I said what do you mean? He said focus on finishing your research and your PhD and go back to your home country and I will publish the paper in my name. I said why? He said life is unfair and I should live with it. Of course I was quite calm when I heard that, I left him and went directly to the student coordinator and told him everything. He and the HoD had a discussion, part of them didn’t believe that and the other part what if it’s true, so they removed the first one and put him as technical adviser as the second one has no knowledge in the area off my research (not helpful at all) and the HoS became the second supervisor.
I gave them my thesis in August to review it, they gave it back to me in October, the HoD said that there is some missing work if I added it he would be surprised if I got a major corrections. I did the work and the revision and gave it back to them and they gave me the feedback a week before the submission and the HoD said that I need to work more on writing the thesis as it might end up with resubmission. I asked him why would you say that in the week of my submission, is there something wrong with my work? He said nothing wrong with the work but the way I present the work? I told him why you didn’t say anything earlier, I gave you the thesis in August, he said no the thesis is improved a lot since August but there are some parts in the thesis needs more work, actually you need one more feedback and your thesis will be there.
posted
20-Nov-18, 20:25
by Zena85
Avatar for Zena85
posted about 3 weeks ago
I do, I am going to raise the issue again to the student coordinator and tells him everything again. But I think our department is not a good department
posted
21-Nov-18, 11:02
edited about 21 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 weeks ago
Hi Zena,

It sounds like you have had an awful experience. I really do feel for you.

Academia's office politics can brutal and looks like you annoyed some important people over that paper. I am publishing my first paper and I have a name on it of a person I have never met (allegedly one of my supervisors). Unfortunately senior academics expect names on PhD student papers to boost their publications and in return they help you. They have limited time, so you helping them boost there publication count encourages them to help you publish. If you aren't going to put their name on it why should they use their time to help you publish? It is an awful Faustian bargain but it is academia.

Honestly just focus on the viva, you can't change your thesis at the minute. Your HoD may have been two faced but he also may be honest. There have been people on this forum completely shocked about resubmission, he is at least warning you. Take his advice and understand how you could improve it, the results are good enough which is actually great. Don't take it personally and show that you are self aware enough to understand the faults and take take feedback.

Also just submit the abstract.

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