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I have a great problem with my PhD

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3 replies to this topic

#1 PandaCreamPuff



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Posted 20 June 2010 - 04:28 PM

So I have a situation. It's quite lengthy so hopefully you will not get bored.

My subsidiary supervisor is leaving the department and he hints that I might have a chance of getting a post-doc positive with him. He is extremely smart and I respect him dearly. However he wanted me to report to him about my data while keeping my main supervisor out of the blue. He basically wanted me to show him the draft of my paper to him first, because he says my main supervisor would "confuse" the whole thing up.

Then soon after my main supervisor wanted to see my draft within that day so I actually went on and told him what happened with the subsidiary. He was very glad I told him because it shows my loyalty whatnot, and started saying "things" about him to me. He then said that from now on we'll work closely together and rush to get this paper out. We had been working really hard but then with my main supervisor I feel as if I am doing a lot more for him than what is required for the paper....and the editing process has been brutal.

Now 3 weeks later my subsidiary replied back to my initial draft (which since then has had many editions) he says he wants to meet me (and only me) first thing a few days from now. I am so nervous I do not know what to do:

Basically I'd like to be assisted by my sub because he's too knowledgeable to be ignored and he knows what he is talking about, but sub and main do not agree on most things. I see main more often but then I feel sometimes he takes up A LOT of time (no offense he is very patient and helpful, but for example I would spend 3 hours looking at him editing a section, when my sub can probably do it in 30 minutes). I also get very distracted by my main sup, as he is always asking me to deal with things not related to my phd (I have trained all sorts of students in my 2 years here, and that takes up A LOT of time, among other mundane tasks).

The situation gets even more complicated because they both are hinting they will offer me a post-doc position. I would want to stay at my current geographical location (moving with my sub means that I will need to move away as well), but then politics in my lab is way too crazy and I do not want anymore of it.....moving to my sub would give me amazing networks and reputation, but then i have heard he is not a people person (well to be fair I have had no problem with him, and he's simply very nice to me)

Please give me your few cents to this....I am so stressed grrrr :lol:

Edited by PandaCreamPuff, 20 June 2010 - 04:32 PM.

#2 casandra


    carpe diem by the jugulum

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 07:31 PM

Oh, the secrecy, the wheeling and dealing, the intrigue….stuff of Frederic Forsythe’s novels :) …...I can understand why you feel you’re in a sticky situation PandaCreamPuff but haven’t you already chosen sides when you informed your main sup about the “request” of the sub sup? And I’m still trying to figure out why he undermined your main sup in the first place and put you in this difficult position bec what does this say about him or shld we just accept this behaviour as normal, justifiable or even expected of an upwardly mobile researcher? Do you think that he has your best interest in mind when he asked you to go behind your main sup’s back?

Unless thwarted by a freak act of nature, your main sup would still have the final say about your thesis, publications etc so what did he hope to accomplish by telling you to show him the draft first? So he'd have more input there than your main sup? OTOH, your main sup shldn’t also start backbiting the sub sup- not ethical nor very professional but I guess it’s bec the other guy started it but still…And then both of them dangling the proverbial carrot …ppfftt... :P ...Anyways, your priority is to get your thesis done and your manuscripts submitted so if you have to continue walking this fine line, you don’t have much choice imho. In the end you choose your own side, I mean, what you think is best for yourself and you do what is right or feels right for you. Goodluck.

reason for edit: bad grammar though not much improvement....and soo tempted to write main soup...:P...

Edited by casandra, 21 June 2010 - 04:08 AM.

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#3 gebirgsziege


    I like fungi

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 10:38 PM

I would advise you to keep out of the quarrel of your supervisors as far as possible. You should tell your subsup the truth as well like you did with your primary supervisor. You should also tell both of them that you do not want to be in the middle of their troubles as you would like to finish your thesis and AFTER FINISHING THIS will decide where to move on.

You should be crucial to include everybody who helped on the paper as if one of your supervisors would not like to include the other on the paper you will be in real trouble and will have taken sides forever.

Completly agree with casey, your supervisor has the last word over your thesis and everybody will understand your dependence on his decision (esp. your sub-supervisor). You should make up your mind how real the canches for a post doc are in either lab......and after this choose your side.

Keep your head up!
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#4 miRNA man

miRNA man


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Posted 22 June 2010 - 02:06 PM

Regarding postdoc positions, I would suggest to take neither of them. I had a similar option to take a postdoc in my thesis lab but many people advised me against, because it won't broaden your skill set and knowledge very much. Better to pick a new lab that is working on something similar (if you already enjoy the field you are in) with some different aspect (different model system, for example). And by doing this, your sups might not see this as a competition to recruit you to their lab? Or maybe that part is just wishful thinking...

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