I am pondering whether to Tell the truth that I was a first year PhD student for future interviews

posted
23-Jan-19, 17:53
edited about 14 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 6 months ago
As you may know, I was a first-year student and forced to leave and it was a long story, I have posted here. My question is: since I pledged myself to be honest and tell the truth, the interviewers when they hear that they are negatively affected. Recently, I have applied for a position and I was shortlisted to 4, and then when they heard my case they told me we want someone who can commit, I told them my story positively and never mentioned any negativity. I have received an email from ex-PI who forced me to leave asking that he received an email from the interviewer and I saw the email that he is extremely interested, and the ex-PI asked me what I have told them about the lab so that he can be consistent with my words, honestly, I didn't have a good intention from his email, I have been always honest and candid, but the ex-PI used to lie based on multiple situations. I have been rejected. I am struggling as I was blamed and honestly, the reason for leaving is that I am an independent researcher and ex-PI didn't like that. However, I look through interview embarrassed sometimes and a nervous little bit because of their reaction like have a taboo. I don't want to lose any future interviews, I have noticed that students apply elsewhere and don't mention they are a current student in a specific program, however, my situation is awkward as I spent one year and my name is still indexed in their website although my webpage is removed. Please, suggestion, should I hide it, but I tell myself it isn't ethical.
posted
23-Jan-19, 18:13
edited about 26 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 6 months ago
Hi Monkia, I am sorry to hear about you not getting it. Though you don't know if it was the reference or one of the other 3 was more suited for the role. Can you be cheeky and ask that potential supervisor what your reference was like? Mention how your old PI contacted you afterwards and had made threats in the past. You may find out that this PhD was just not suited for you and not your previous history.
posted
23-Jan-19, 21:05
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 6 months ago
If PIs have good PhD projects with good funding and expected great outcome, they will want to get the best PhD student they can find. In other words, they are very unlikely to take a chance on someone with a history of giving up their PhD midway, especially if they have other candidates with similar qualifications to choose from. Try seeing from their perspective.

Your decision to reveal your past is yours alone to make. Just understand that there might be some prejudice if you reveal it and so deal with it. They will of course want to talk to your past supervisor about you and who can blame them for wanting to know about why the last PhD didn't work out? Also, your reference may have also been put on a hard spot when asked if they knew of any reason you may stop a PhD.

My suggestion on a best way forward is to get a job, as an RA in a suitable lab group and then work hard to show your worth before applying for a PhD in that group. This way, they know you and will not ask about your past or reference. You will also know the supervisor and will unlikely make the past mistake of choosing a bad supervisor.
posted
23-Jan-19, 21:27
edited about 22 seconds later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 6 months ago
@tru, I totally agree with your perspective and that is also what I am thinking. I managed to get a job in a lab in another country, however, I know I accepted it because I have no other options, also the lab am in, the topic they imposed far away from my background, but I told myself work as you can and consider apply to other good positions, however, when the name of the institute appears they ask about the past although they know I am working in a new institute in a different country, I do think I have not told that I was a student because no one will believe that I was blamed and what is controversial that I had to get grants from top-tier conferences, which every potential interviewer made him/her suspicious more, why I have been forced to leave! I am crying I did nothing and this asshole ex-PI apologized after spoiling one year, I am tired of thinking as I am still applying, should I hide this story.
posted
24-Jan-19, 08:37
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 6 months ago
Hi Monkia. I have read your previous posts. From my personal and my peers experience, if you talk negatively about your ex-supervisor it reflects on you. If you say your former boss was bad, the transferred message to the prospective boss is that you were bad. In my opinion, it is a general case even in personal relationships and in particular in professional life. Have you watched "Sleepless in Seattle"? All women wanted to marry the widower who talked positively about his dead wife. I do not ask you to lie and say you former supervisor was extremely nice. But you can tell the story in a diplomatic way that lack of fund and different visions of research was the reason that it was for the benefit of you and the institute to stop at this point.
posted
24-Jan-19, 08:46
edited about 2 minutes later
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 6 months ago
I agree in the last statement as that is nearly what I was said, I vouch all I said is as I remember: I was in a very good and experienced team, and I was fit for their research directions and funding for a project from the company stopped. The problem isnot me, is the ex-supervisor who interviewer reach him although I have a couple of references from other good people, I think that is because they know my real story and not hiding it.
posted
24-Jan-19, 09:39
edited about 5 seconds later
by eng77
Avatar for eng77
posted about 6 months ago
Just tell him that you told them it is funding problem and hope for the best. Do not assume and over think bad things to happen.
It is for the benefit of you first, and ex supervisor next to have a "neutral" relationship. You do not have to have a hard breakup.
posted
24-Jan-19, 13:38
edited about 14 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 6 months ago
Monkia, I am a bit confused. Are you volunteering this information or are they directly asking for it? Why are they asking your ex-supervisor for a reference?
posted
24-Jan-19, 13:46
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 6 months ago
Actually, I wrote in my CV that I was a graduate student, I was wondering how to call it, that is a question and I found some people who had the same situation like mine mentioning " graduate student". Then they ask me you were a PhD student in that place, then I tell the story in a very positive way indeed. I am figuring day after day I am lacking of personal skills, for instance when I go inside clothes shops and ask them should I return clothes or leave them in the rehearsal, they look at me as if I stole something, I get nervous and anxious for unknown reasons, it is really awkward the kind of look I had although the fact I am very very honest person, that is the same situation here, they look at me as if I hide something.


I need an explicit answer to my question: How would I call this year on my CV? and if they asked you stayed there, what you did? what I should answer.

I am sorry, I know I am not bearable and kind of stupid, but I want to get out of this mess.
posted
24-Jan-19, 13:50
by monkia
Avatar for monkia
posted about 6 months ago
@pm133, what I have understood, is that the title on my CV research graduate student, I didnot mention any word of PhD, I get shocked when they asked you were a PHD student, maybe I have to change the title. Secondly, I dont have my ex-PI on CV as reference, there are other very good researchers as reference, however, all of sudden, I found that the interviewer searched for my name apparently, and in google search, I have on article with the ex-PI and my name also appears in the first search indicating their lab, and then maybe he found his name as the head of the lab, it is quite strange. Indeed I am confused maybe the title, maybe the article I had, I dont know, I feel my mind frozen and maybe I am the reason for all of that, I dont know.

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