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''friendship'' in academia


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15 replies to this topic

Poll: ''friendship'' in academia (12 member(s) have cast votes)

how do you consider frienship between two academics could affect your personal performance?

  1. Very strong and positively (6 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

  2. Somehow positively (6 votes [50.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 50.00%

  3. Doesn't affect me at all (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. Somehow negatively (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. Very strong and negatively (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 toejam

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 03:32 AM

hey guys,

I didn't know whether to put this in the chit chat, or in the rant and rave subforum, but since this is not properly a rant I consider this is the right place to post it.

Recently a close friend has been having problems with her supervisor, actually for quite a while now, keeps asking for meetings and the guy just won't reply the emails. Therefore, my friend went with the "student representative" or whatever title he wants to use to talk about this situation and hopefully find a way out. After talking with him, this guy said: "oh yeah, no problem, I will talk to him, he's my friend...."

It's been over a month and nothing has changed... I'm worried about my friend because her scholarship will be finished before she finishes her PhD and this guy is no help at all, I still wonder who picked him for this role? All he cares about is to recruit more international students, and when they've got them don't care about them any more! I don't like this scheme where universities have become private businesses rather than institutions in the search for knowledge...

Edited by toejam, 19 August 2010 - 05:41 AM.

"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#2 K.B.

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 05:25 AM

Your poll answers are not precise. Eg. I would pick first answer - in my experience friendship have very strongly and positively affected performance.

In the case you have described, my advice is to go higher - if "representative" is not doing his/her job, talk to his/her boss, or talk with supervisors boss, or boss of their bosses etc.

#3 toejam

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 05:42 AM

thanks k.b. :) modified properly.
"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#4 gebirgsziege

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 10:44 PM

Cannot answer the poll as I could tick all options, but I think this is what half of science is about: the science of networking....my friends are your friends and my enemies should be yours ;)

In the case of your friend: is the guy she talked to the grant representative who is in charge of all problems arising during the fellowship? If no I would contact the contact person at the grant authority, they are giving him the money and when having too much complaints he wont get any grants anymore. So if I was your friend I would write the supervisor an email telling him that if he does not find time for a short talk, I fell forced to contact the authorities. Ok its some kind of blackmail, but if he keeps ignoring me although it is his duty to look after my scientific progress.....

Plan B: run into the boss' office without warning and appointment, and tell him you wont leave before he has talked to you or given and appointment for a talk and get this date confirmed by email (the guy sounds like someone who might play dirty tricks and be away that day, and never underestimate the might of words on a piece of paper). Not the polite way to do, but she already tried politly.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#5 toejam

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 04:43 AM

hi gebz,

you're right, after all i think most of the times the networking works well, thinking about potential collaborations and sharing of information, but as well all are aware here, that doesn't always happen and it's just a hypothetical situation in a wonderful world :)

thanks for your suggestions, i'm sure we will consider them ;)

pfiati!
"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#6 pito

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:55 AM

Are you only asking how important friendship is when working together?

Or "friendship" between people from different labs?

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#7 gebirgsziege

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 10:32 PM

pito, do you really think that this is making a difference?

and btw I think tj was thinking about the friendship of your superiours, so if your boss does not like you he will tell all his friends where you might need something or apply for a job that you are not good and so you will have no chance to get into their circle, but have to look for something else to do.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#8 toejam

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 11:11 PM

hi guys,

Yes gebz, you're right, that's what I meant :) thanks.
"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#9 lab rat

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 07:54 PM

I can tick off all the choices, as well. I have learned the hard way to be friendly, but not friends. It's best to keep personal and work lives separate...otherwise, how would you be able to complain about co-workers if they are drinking with you at the pub? ;-)

As for being friends with your boss, be friends after you don't work there anymore for the reasons that Gebz describes.

Edited by lab rat, 26 August 2010 - 07:56 PM.

42..."An immutable fixed-precision number of unlimited magnitude." <a href="http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)</a>, accessed 25June2009.

#10 sera_tonin

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 08:11 AM

at my university, friends/enemies among the faculty cause problems for students - we have to be careful when choosing our committees not to include two people who don't get along, and to avoid choosing someone who's friends with someone another member doesn't get along with. my phd program is interdisciplinary; my mentor is the chair of the department i work in, and she doesn't get along with the chair of my program, and often i end up stuck in the middle of painfully polite disagreements. but knowing about these friendships and conflicts upfront definitely helps to be able to deal with them and avoid potential problems. as far as asking someone to help discipline his/her friend, i'm not surprised nothing has come of it! sad, but true. is there a provost or someone in charge of the faculty who would be willing to step in and mediate?

#11 pito

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 08:04 AM

pito, do you really think that this is making a difference?

and btw I think tj was thinking about the friendship of your superiours, so if your boss does not like you he will tell all his friends where you might need something or apply for a job that you are not good and so you will have no chance to get into their circle, but have to look for something else to do.


Eum, you do have a point there.

But to be honest, it always suprises me how much anger and bad "feelings" there are at certain labs, between labs etc.. I really do not understand this.

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#12 lab rat

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 04:34 PM

pito, do you really think that this is making a difference?

and btw I think tj was thinking about the friendship of your superiours, so if your boss does not like you he will tell all his friends where you might need something or apply for a job that you are not good and so you will have no chance to get into their circle, but have to look for something else to do.


Gebz is right. (Been there.) Sometimes they do that if they want to keep you, too...which screws you when they can't afford to keep you and they spent the last few years trashing you behind your back.

Can your friend talk to the graduate school provost and get some help? The uni-level graduate school administration is probably the best place to go, since you are getting nowhere at the departmental level.
42..."An immutable fixed-precision number of unlimited magnitude." <a href="http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)</a>, accessed 25June2009.

#13 gebirgsziege

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 01:27 AM

Just curious: tj did the situation of your friend get better or is she still stuck?
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#14 toejam

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:25 AM

hi gebz,

i think she's better now, but after talking with her, and having a look at her data, i have a very bad feeling that the lack of supervision she had during 3 years will hit her really hard...

the other problem i see is her own personality, she gets very easily intimidated (?) by her supervisor, and rather than confronting him she looks for help in people who can't really do much about it and keeps putting it off. time is running and honestly, i don't see any easy way out of this.
"When there's no more room in hell the dead will walk the Earth"

#15 gebirgsziege

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:05 PM

Thats bad. I know such people and most of them left academia and some of them a number of jobs frustrated and angry on their bosses. In fact I "lost" one of my students because she was this way (she simply "vanished" just before finishing her master, for what I heard from third parties the reasons you mentioned in your first post, although she did not ask for any help and when asked if she needs help everything was working fine and there seemed to be no need to help her), so I know the other side as well, if somebody does not tell that there is something wrong it is difficult to react and to treat them in the right way. Because most of us (not only when supervising people) are very busy and lack the time to be really empathic towards our colleagues at work.

I hope your friend will recognise soon that she is responsible for her own well being and needs to confront people when things are going wrong. I keep my fingers crossed that she will make the best out of the situation and is able to finish her PhD in time.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)




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