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Advisor from Hell?

  1. May 16, 2010 #1
    Advisor from Hell???

    I just graduated with a PhD in Physics. (Passed my defense and deposited. Yay!!!)

    My relationship with my advisor was very rough. I'm a suck it up, non confrontational kinda of person, so I made it through, but this experience has traumatized me in multiple ways.

    I try to take solace in the fact he pisses every one off, not just me, but I still feel bad.

    My question is, is there a forum where we can rant about advisors? Share horror stories, and just validate each others experiences?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2010 #2
    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    So what was it that he did?
  4. May 18, 2010 #3
    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    yeah go ahead and tell us here. id like to know.
  5. May 18, 2010 #4


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    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    Congrats, Iforgot :approve:!

    I had a traumatic experience with a workplace once. The corporate culture there was soul-sucking...think Dilbert on crack. Seriously it took a good year to really get to a point where I could think about that place without feeling real anger.

    The only thing that helped was keeping in touch with employees there who had become good friends. We'd share horror stories and it turned a bad situation into a source of a special kind of sick humor.

    What didn't help was sharing my experiences with people who had not worked there. They just couldn't get it. So I don't know if sharing with people outside that environment would help - in my experience, it didn't.
  6. May 18, 2010 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    Congratulations on finishing your degree!

    What are you going to do now?

    The best advice I ever got was "divorce your advisor". Take some time (say, a year) before trying to collaborate again.
  7. May 18, 2010 #6
    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    I can rant for hours.... But every detail I post makes it that much easier for people to find out who I am or who he is. Or worse, he'll find out what I think.... Which I don't want to happen.

    It sucks because I would like to talk to some one who's been through the ringer and can say "that's the way it is", or "wow!! that was horrible!!!", but without it getting back to my advisor.

    I don't want to make the same mistake choosing a postdoc advisor, so my current tactic for finding one is by personal referral from a trusted person.

    Anyone one my advisor recommends I think "If you like him, what the hell is wrong with him?"
  8. May 18, 2010 #7
    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    I'm still waiting. I don't hear any stories.
  9. May 18, 2010 #8


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    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    If we still have Sunday chat here (I've been away a lot of Sundays, so hope it still is going on), feel free to head into chat and discuss with people there. Maybe create a private room for venting if not everyone wants to hear it.

    I think it's somewhat important for word to get around to prospective students if one advisor is really difficult to work with. There may be people who can work with his personality and be fine, but if a lot of people have trouble working with him, it is a good thing to forewarn new students about before they choose his lab.

    When I used to be involved with grad student recruiting, we actually did always have a mixer type event for the recruits on campus for interviews to socialize with current students without faculty present so they would feel free to talk openly. Not every advisor and every student get along, and sometimes it has nothing to do with either one of them being a bad person, they just can have clashing personalities. So, it's good for students to talk about faculty personalities to make sure they're choosing someone that they can work with.

    Then again, sometimes nobody can predict how things will work out. A former student intern of mine is currently butting heads with her faculty mentor, a colleague of mine. I'm baffled, because both of them seem like such easy people to get along with that I thought they'd work really well together, but something about their personalities just clashes big time.

    But, I also agree with lisab's advice. Good therapy is to just get together with the other people who you know are not getting along with him and go to the bar and swap war stories. Then find a good post-doc mentor and move on.
  10. May 21, 2010 #9


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    Re: Advisor from Hell???

    Usually, we'd blow off advisor / workplace / life steam at the bar over some drinks and food, but I'm going to the same university I went to for undergrad (and in the same city I went to for high school, and...) and thus have friends that know exactly what it's like, but are in completely different fields. It also helps to have friends outside your area.
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
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