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Advisor kicked me from group.

  1. Sep 25, 2012 #1
    A little bit of background I have passed all my qualifiers and my even passed my preliminary exam (research plan). My research area was particle searches at the CMS detector. The issues that led to me being dismissed was due to my computing ability. I am able to program however had very little experience in it until I started working with him a year ago. Ok to be honest I didn't even know anything about C++ or really programming in general. I was late to the programming game due to the fact I thought I wanted to be a theorist and the fact that all I learned in undergraduate was Visual Basic. I was improving but not at a pace he liked and it led to me being dismissed. To be honest he was new there when I started working for him and really didn't know him before hand. At first I took the work to lightly but for the past two months my work hours increased up to 60 hours a week. Now the question is what do I do? Its like I just wasted a year of my life. Do I try to start over at another university of choose another advisor in a field that Im not to excited about? If I had another six months I believe I could have had my programming to a level he wanted me at. There is no going back to him as this is a done deal. I do know a few other professor who do particle physics but they do neutrino detection. I am concerned that they wouldn't want to work with me since Ive already been dismissed by one advisor. I really don't know what to do.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2012 #2
    "The issues that led to me being dismissed was due to my computing ability. I am able to program however had very little experience in it until I started working with him a year ago."

    How sure are you about this being the true reason?

    In the real world sometimes you aren't given the true reason. For example, sometimes a company will fall on hard times and have to lay some people off. Sometimes it's clear that a person's role is no longer useful. Other times, a person may have a poor work ethic or a poorly-meshing personality, or even bad hygiene. They will really be let go for these reasons but may be told "you don't have the right skill set" and not "you don't bathe and nobody wants to be physically near you."

    Ignoring the quality of the actual programing work you did, do you think you we're a pleasant, friendly easy-to-work-with fellow?

    When you were told you would be leaving the group, did the group leader express great regret that he's sorry he has to find a more effective programmer, or did you get the sense he was ticked off at (something) and had finally had enough?

    You don't have to post your private thoughts, just make sure you go through them.

    If it really was a need for a more seasoned scientific programmer, just accept that you had the wrong job and start looking forward to finding a better one.
  4. Sep 25, 2012 #3
    Actually the reason is very close to the true reason. In August he told me to think a few days as he didnt think this was for me. Up to that point i do have to admit my work ethic was bad. I told him I really wanted this and just needed time to imrpove. So I actually started acting like a phd student working 60 hours a week and such. However since that confrontation in August I had developed a fear of my advisor to some extent and was actually afraid to voice my opinions or anything to him. Plus we were under sudden pressure by the CMS collab to publish. So yes it was partly my fault and I recognize this but since August 2nd I had been doing everything in my power to improve. To be honest to be at the level he wanted me at would have taken me about another 6 months to a year. This wasn't a problem for me since I had three years but was a problem for him cause our group like i mentioned above was under sudden pressure. As for the conversation itself he was like look I think things just aren't working out and I don't see you being ready for a Phd in three years. He thanked me for my contributions for the group. Im sorry I probably sound like an idiot.
  5. Sep 25, 2012 #4
    Now the main issue is who do I ask to work for. I feel like since me and this advisor didn't work out that Im just not good enough and should give up.
  6. Sep 26, 2012 #5


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    Well, if you are interested in neutrino physics too, why not ask and see?
  7. Sep 26, 2012 #6
    Agreed. I think if you talk to professors and tell them it wasn't working out with your old advisor they might consider it. I saw a talk wih neil desgrasse tyson can't remember what it was but he said something similar. I cant remember exactly but something happened between him and his advisor and he went to professors at other universities and talked to them and one of them took him in. I cant remember exactly what he said but it was sometjing along those lines.

    If i were in this situation i would do the same. Its worth a shot.

    One my math teachers told me something that stuck with me.

    If you don't ask for something, the answer is always no. If you ask, you may get a yes or no but you don't know till you try. I hope that helps.
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