Signup date: 31 Jul 2013 at 12:06pm
Last login: 11 Jul 2021 at 2:32pm
Post count: 33
I do not quite understand your post. What is your actual problem? You write that you are unhappy with your PhD, but why? Is it boring, uninteresting, the wrong topic? Are your supervisors doing a bad job? You mention the choices you made and/or could still make. But what are you actually considering - not doing a PhD at all, or switching to that other project you mentioned? Unfortunately your post really is not very clear.
In any case, it is normal to feel demotivated after a while. No job in life is ever quite as it seemed (or was presented to you) before you started. Feeling some disappointment after a while is therefore normal. Maybe it is possible to adapt the objectives of your PhD research to become more interesting without leaving the general framework of your project, in agreement with your supervisor.
Thinking about the path not taken is common, but ultimately useless. It will happen to you with every life decision you ever make, and in particular with every job offer you accept. With every opportunity you accept, other doors close, and in hindsight, they always seem tempting. This type of feeling and "buyer's remorse" is particularly common among PhD students - quite simply because it is the first really important career/life decision most people make themselves.
However, thinking about the past and what could have been is ultimately futile.
Make the best of your situation, be proactive, talk to your supervisors if you think your project could be improved. Focus on the positive things about your work (e.g., work environment, pay, colleagues, career prospects). It is normal that it takes a year or two just to get into the rhythm. Only if there is no improvement in sight despite your best efforts, make your decision and quit
Everything you describe in your post sounds fairly normal to me. Professors not being around and not answering their e-mails is about the most common thing in academia. Several weeks to get comments on a writeup? I know cases where it took more than a year.
The same is true for supervisors not being "supportive enough". A large portion of PhDs result from students essentially working by themselves with little or no supervision or support from anybody.
Curiously, you entirely fail to mention in your post what the status of your research is. I would say this is the most important aspect. Do you have results? Publications? A convincing argument to make and presentable conclusions? Only when and if your supervisor is happy with those aspects, she will give her OK for you to wrap up.
Frankly, your post sounds a little like you are trying to impose your personal timeline on your supervisor, no matter what the state of your work is. I can tell you that in the history of academia, this has worked exactly 0 times.
Finally, at the end you say that you would really like to quit and take a job elsewhere. You should realize that this is a decision you have to make independently from how your PhD is going. If you want to quit, quit. If you want to finish your PhD, finish your PhD, which realistically might take you another year or two. Make up your mind - and then live with the consequences either way.
Frankly, your question is a little weird. I guess you are in your mid-30s at least based on your statements, have a PhD and 2 years postdoc experience? And yet, it seems you are waiting for "your prof" to take career decisions for you. One of the main lessons you should have learned during your PhD and postdoc is working independently, and in particular setting and pursuing your own goals, even if they may be at odds with the goals of your colleagues (this includes your prof).
What are your career goals? Do you want to stay in academia? How many faculty positions have you applied to during the last few years, and to how many interviews have you been invited to? Honestly, if you have trouble finding a permanent position after a two-year postdoc, it is probably time to seriously consider abandoning any academic career plans. In any case, at least some experience abroad and/or as a visiting researcher at some prestigious institution are ESSENTIAL for any academic success. Both of these conditions are not achieved by staying with your PhD- and postdoc-advisor.
It seems you are waiting for you prof to come up with the funding, but how much funding have you acquired yourself? How about pursuing fellowships or initiating a research project or industry partnership of your own? If you ever apply for an academic position anywhere, a record of the funding you have acquired YOURSELF will be among the most important selection criteria.
Concerning "bad references", this is a matter of diplomacy and political skill, which are the two most important skills in academia in any case. Obviously, you should not simply tell your prof that you've had enough and are leaving. Tell her you thank her for her support, but that you think working somewhere else is necessary for your career at the moment. Offer her to keep collaborating and stay in touch even after you've left.
Honestly, based on your post, you will need A LOT more independent initiative to get ANYWHERE.
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