Defending and depositing my engineering dissertation by end of April. Strained relations with advisor and distant relations with committee. What next, and how? Please advise.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A part of me wants to continue in research. I definitely don't want to do consulting, finance, or software development. (But I would do the latter two, if I have to. I did software for a couple years before grad school.)
I'll have a nice job talk by that time, but no publications. (My program and my advisor do not require publications for graduation.) My advisor is interested in keeping me around until August, to submit papers from my dissertation and to ensure transfer of knowledge to another couple students. My dissertation is a nice story, and is a real advance in its own little way, but it's nothing sexy or groundbreaking at all. (Think signal processing on bio data.)
My relationship with my advisor is non-sabotage-y but quite strained. Maybe it's passive-aggressive. Discussions have led to near-shouting from both of us, and we interact as little as possible. It's difficult for me know what would end up in a letter from him. Another couple of committee members have, in the last few months, have been supportive and really willing to meet regularly and dig into details of my work with me. My work got off to a realllllly halting and slow start. It's taken this long for things to coalesce significantly and interestingly. So I also have no idea what would go into letters from them, either.
Because of advisor issues, general lab non-structure, lack of data, lack of well-defined projects, and so forth, it was difficult for me to know whether I liked research. But, as the tiny p-values have started lining up, as the story started coming together, as a real dialogue with the literature began, and as testable hypotheses for future work began lining up, research has been stimulating to me in a way nothing else ever has. But the last four years have been hell, and I don't really want to continue on this line of inquiry. Well, I wouldn't mind for a few years as a transition, but it's not sexy enough for grants, I think. At least, that's what my advisor and committee members think.
1. What systematic behaviors do I need to engage in for the next 3-6 months if I want to leave the research door open?
2. I'm on the border between engineering and medicine. I am quite curious about nanotech (which I have an excellent *distant past* pedigree for) and clinical psych (which I have the stats background for but zero relationship with my research or education history). What behaviors might I engage in to open these doors wider and also figure out if I wanted to go in these directions?
3. Are there research-y industry jobs? How do I locate these?
4. I am in my early thirties and poor. No debt. What would you do if you were me and why?
5. So I have a clear pattern of massive issues with authority going back to birth. I've done a lot of therapy but never focused specifically on this. I am disciplined, smart, conscientious, organized, future-oriented, and a self-starter, to a rare degree (really), at least as far as I can tell. Does that matter cf. the above? I keep eyeing startup-land because of my software and executive skills, but I might value my relationship with family and girlfriend too much to risk jeopardizing either. But maybe I'm still too naive about what any of this entails.
Authority figures, as long as I've been subjected to them, while gritting their teeth, have consistently and explicitly praised my "rare," "creativity," "originality," "bold thinking," "scientific mind," etc., (and unprofessional, disrespectful, bad attitude). I really want to make a difference and not perpetuate the status quo. And, as a member of the teeming masses of unique snowflakes, maybe I will, as intelligently and un-self-destructively as I can. But, help?
Thank you for reading and answering.