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Should I quit right now?


courage

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Hi

I'm now determined to not quit my research no matter what in spite of the fact that my supervisor has been treating me like a piece of crap. If you read my thread now or in future and you are wondering whether to quit your research due to some unforseen problems with your supervisor or co-workers because they're being some serious ass to you, please know that you are not alone. Do not give in. Thank you for all the talks below.

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I find that a number of postdocs/senior grad students (though not all) seem to think they reign over undergrads because of their expertise.. which obviously came from their years of experience... what they don't realize or remember is that they were once clueless undergrads and potentially worse off than you are right now. They're on a power-trip, and trust me, I've seen it numerous times too.

 

I would try not to let that kind of abuse phase me, first of all, and second, report it immediately to the PI. I, as a matter of fact, plan on doing a similar stance concerning my supervisor, who has been nothing but condescending. Albeit, she doesn't insult me like yours does, but has found my work "too petty" for her attention.. well I'm not exactly making any progress because of her lack of cooperation, so I think I'll just say it as is.

 

Keep your chin up!

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You should not take that abuse, I would report it to somebody or talk to your collegues to see if this happens to them. Or you can have a "frank" discussion with him in your language and put your foot down.

 

On a side note, my post-doc supervisor quit over a situation similar to this, and left me out in the cold. Luckily, there are two other people I can help, but this is a relatively common occurance.

 

Don't feel bad if you do not understand a particular procedure or how to use equipement, it all comes with experience and if these people canno see that than you are better off doing something else with your time.

 

Cheers

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reporting it wont do ****. that is probably the worst advice that you can be given. u have 2 choices, either quit or grow some balls and tell him u arent gonna take his crap anymore. the fact is, people like ur supervisor can immediately recognize ppl with low-confidence levels and will vent their anger/frustration on them because they know they will just take it. ur best bet would be to change his perception of u (which wouldve been much easier from the get go) as a wimp. with that being said, it will probably be very difficult for u to do so since ppl with low self-confidence cant miraculously transform themselves over night. in the end, u just have to weigh the pros and cons of continuing to work at the lab. just remember, self-confidence is key. ppl will treat u like **** if thats how u perceive urself. if in ur mind ur the most competent, amazing human being, ppl will notice that. i guess it comes down to kind of an alpha-male philosophy...

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there's no shame in resigning when you're not being treated appropriately, this is exactly the kind of mindset we need to see disappearing in medicine, walking way from an abusive situation is not "giving in"!

 

Hi

I'm now determined to not quit my research no matter what in spite of the fact that my supervisor has been treating me like a piece of crap. If you read my thread now or in future and you are wondering whether to quit your research due to some unforseen problems with your supervisor or co-workers because they're being some serious ass to you, please know that you are not alone. Do not give in. Thank you for all the talks below.

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amen, brother

 

reporting it wont do ****. that is probably the worst advice that you can be given. u have 2 choices, either quit or grow some balls and tell him u arent gonna take his crap anymore. the fact is, people like ur supervisor can immediately recognize ppl with low-confidence levels and will vent their anger/frustration on them because they know they will just take it. ur best bet would be to change his perception of u (which wouldve been much easier from the get go) as a wimp. with that being said, it will probably be very difficult for u to do so since ppl with low self-confidence cant miraculously transform themselves over night. in the end, u just have to weigh the pros and cons of continuing to work at the lab. just remember, self-confidence is key. ppl will treat u like **** if thats how u perceive urself. if in ur mind ur the most competent, amazing human being, ppl will notice that. i guess it comes down to kind of an alpha-male philosophy...
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You should not take that abuse' date=' I would report it to somebody[/quote']

 

A couple points:

 

1. What kind of "abuse" are you talking about?

- If you are talking sexual or physical abuse, that is illegal and should be reported immediately to the appropriate authorities.

- If you are dealing with someone with Asperger's and/or power issues who is extremely rude (as is common in some brilliant, but socially inept people in academia), then you need to decide on cost/benefit (see #2 and #3 below).

- If you are simply being "worked too hard", then maybe you don't enjoy research enough to do it.

 

2. What position are you in?

- If you are a grad student, then you should talk (in private) to the other members of your committee. Chances are they know that he/she is a difficult personality and may have some insight into what your options are.

- If you are an undergrad student in course-based research, you may just suck-it up since it probably won't last more than a year and the cost of fighting your supervisor may just not be worth it.

- If you are a summer student, my suggestion would be to suck-it up for the same reasons as undergrads, but you do have the option of quitting with relatively low cost (although don't underestimate the reputation that "quitting" has on your future career).

 

3. What are the consequences of reporting?

- In the ideal world, we should be able to report everything to higher ups. In the real world, you have to think about consequences instead of raw ideals and consider the most diplomatic way of doing things because it can affect your career.

- eg. I worked on a board similar to an advocacy/omsbuds board and I saw one poor grad student who fought with the supervisor over a fairly minute issue (although I do feel she was "right" and that the supervisor was a bit of a jerk). However, although she got her PhD she was unable to get any post-docs or any jobs because almost all jobs require a reference letter from your supervisor.

 

 

I know you can feel the injustice of the system, but please try to exhaust all routes of communication (ie. discuss with other students, supervisors, and importantly, tell your supervisor directly how you feel) before you overjump and report someone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

 

Sorry to hear you are in a crappy situation!! Where did you post the entire story of what had happened to you? I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of info that everyone else seems to know.

 

You should go talk to your committee members. This kind of situation is exactly why you have a committee, and they will be able to suggest something for you, and it can be very important to have a non-biased assessment of the situation. I could be wrong, but in my department I think that the committee members have to document certain things in each grad students personal file. That way if there is any sort of future problems there is a record of what has happened in the past.

 

Does his anger towards you have anything to do with the fact that you are interested in medical school? I find that this seems to be a common problem in grad student-supervisor relationships, and this is probably something that the two of you could figure out yourselves. (ex. do not get him to write a reference, or apply after you grad. from your degree etc.)

 

The other thing to remember is that supervisors are people too. There is a very good chance that something else is going on in his life causing him a huge amount of stress. This could be another grad student, or a situation at home. Either way it is totally unfair for him to take it out on you, but again, this is probably something you could have a conversation with him about.

 

BTW I would definitely NOT discuss anything with him in any language other than english. It is to your advantage to have everything out in the open. Even the fact that he chooses to be degrading towards you in a language that only you understand is a sign that he does know he is doing something inappropriate.

 

Best of luck!!

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