Supervisor forbids me to apply for a fellowship...

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Re: Supervisor forbids me to apply for a fellowship...

Postby C.K. » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:38 am

Hi Ana,

Sorry, I was writing from my cell phone and this is why the message was in one block. You summarized the situation right.

He replied to the email, and this time, saying it would be useless to send an application because of the "lack of progress" of my project. Of course I will not reply. I don't even want him to acknowledge that I've been doing a good job.

Anyways, the application was a four-page project for a fellowship application. Given that we have agreed on the changes to be made, I believe it wouldn't take him more than a couple of hours, problably much less, to read it and give me feedback. Now he decides not to do it anymore. And to justify it, he says he is too busy, then he says the project isn't good, then I didn't progress, then it woud take the whole Institute's time to review it while they have more important grants to review.

So yes, I will do myself a favor and find a better place to work.
Last edited by C.K. on Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:22 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:50 pm

Re: Supervisor forbids me to apply for a fellowship...

Postby Rich Lemert » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:40 am

C.K. wrote: What was I supposed to say ? "yes sir, you're right ... ."

Beyond expressing your disappointment with the situation, you should say nothing. That's the professional approach. Your response made this a personal issue.

Note that this in no way implies any agreement with his assessment. You know what the truth is, and you're not going to change either what he thinks or what he tells others. There is no way your little tirade was going to improve the situation - and every likelihood that it would make it worse.

When you're in a "can't win" situation like this, your objective should be to salvage what you can - not ensure that you lose.
Rich Lemert
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: Supervisor forbids me to apply for a fellowship...

Postby QJL » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:35 am

I don't know if my experience will be of any help - the general consensus is just to leave the situation (which can have its pluses and minuses for academic job search, but will help your quality of life I guess).

I wanted to write a fellowship application, and my postdoc advisor discouraged me. He told me that he didn't "know me" well enough yet to recommend me. At the time he had over 12 postdocs in the lab (so I am not sure who he did in fact know well enough).

Long story short, I never applied for that fellowship. I did apply to a self-nominating fellowship though. I think that there may be opportunities in some areas where you can get the ball rolling yourself without expecting your advisor to be helpful or supportive (though not ideal). I ended up getting that fellowship without my advisor ever reading the application, and I even wrote my own recommendation letter, which he signed off on.

I just don't think advisors discouraging postdocs from writing fellowships or not caring if they do is that uncommon an experience (beyond the other things going on in the lab in this group).

While it's a harder road to go without the support of your advisor, if you can manage it, it's not impossible. Now, when it comes to academic jobs where you need your advisor to say nice things about you to everyone he/she meets, that might be another story...
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