Thursday, March 25, 2010

think I'm gonna hurl

Don't focus on demonstrating your own brilliance. Focus instead on expressing genuine interest in your mentor's brilliance

or as my blog women-tors would say, puke on their shoes.

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14 Comments:

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Kea said...

A less-than-stellar outside letter of recommendation, or a powerful enemy within your department ... ends your career

Puke! Puke! And the gender research shows that women can never be BOTH great at their work AND liked. So there goes the career right there. Don't matter what you do. Don't matter at all.

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous mlsurfs said...

i think you took the line a little out of context and in the wrong way. just a thought....

another youngfemalescientist who has just accepted her first TT job.

 
At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AHHAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

I'll go get my pom-poms so I can officially rah-rah about someone else's shit. And I'll grab a bigger bucket for the puke, we're gonna need it.

Wut? no turd blossum too?
jc

 
At 11:55 PM, Blogger Bee said...

Gosh, I believe this is the biggest piece of bullshit advice I've come across. I really wonder, do these people who hand out such "advises" never think about what they are doing to science? Sometimes I really believe we need some grad level class about "What science is all about." 1st lecture: Use your own brain.

 
At 4:19 AM, Anonymous GrrlScientist said...

reading that makes me want to cry.

i went into science and academics because i wanted to live in an intellectually honest way and to be rewarded for my ideas, efforts and abilities. i had to work plenty of poverty-level ass-kissing abusive jobs to earn the PhD, but i thought i'd be free from all that after the degree. instead, i found myself in a situation where my postdoc advisor was my adversary, and he destroyed my career. i think it would have been far kinder for him to have murdered me so i would REALLY BE DEAD, instead of just living this shadow life of the walking dead that i have now.

 
At 8:17 AM, Anonymous former post doc said...

is it really a blog with people from MIT and Harvard? it's got to be a joke since most of it is just pure.... BS?!

Anyhow, good luck with your future. And I hope you can get happy and not as sad about academia as you've been so far.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

mlsurfs- apparently I'm not the only one who read it that way.

 
At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A less-than-stellar outside letter of recommendation, or a powerful enemy within your department ... ends your career

So true. My career ended due to a powerful enemy within my department (who is a male, I'm female by the way). I'm now trying to figure out what else I can do for employment. It really sucks that one single albeit powerful person can literally ruin your career. Not just force you to have to leave your job, but your entire career because of badmouthing you to everyone in your field and everyone believes them due to their position and influence and no one will stand up for you for fear the same thing will happen to them. But hey, it's just academia as usual.

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger Psycgirl said...

ew, ew, ew. Just ew.

I'm kind of confused as to how constantly asking thought provoking questions about my advisor's work is going to help me get ahead....I mean, eventually we ARE going to have to discuss my work, right?

 
At 2:05 AM, Anonymous app said...

Nauseating as it is, this advice is completely correct in my experience, based what I've seen during many years of postdoccing and now as tt faculty. Yes, this is the way career advancement in academic science works in reality.

But what I find 10 times more nauseating are the attempts by various people, all of whom happen to be beyond the postdoc stage (what a coincidence!), to deny this reality in order to preserve the good name of academic science. And to allow them to continue feeling good about being part of it, of course.

Thanks to their lies, academic science will continue to lure in some of the smartest and most hard-working young people in society, who, as GrrlScientist put it, "wanted to live in an intellectually honest way and to be rewarded for my ideas, efforts and abilities". The liars don't give a shit about the human cost of this; for them all that matters is to "defend science" and be able to keep feeling good about themselves.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Dr.Girlfriend said...

"Don't focus on demonstrating your own brilliance. Focus instead on expressing genuine interest in your mentor's brilliance"

Sound advise if your goal is succeeding in academia (or perhaps life).

Sad but true.

Few people are comfortable with the idea of a mentee who might out shine them, especially if they are not going to favorable credit their mentor.

Many people want to be idolized or worshipped, not corrected by their "up-start" mentees. Most mentors want to mentor people who are going to ultimately praise and emulate them.

Stroking the egos of your graduate committee is a more effective strategy than answering their questions intelligently.

It is nauseating because it is the way things are.

I am beginning to suspect that the best scientists leave science because they are not good at or not willing to play the politics game.

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Hope said...

OMG, that’s awful! But I think this “advice” could serve a very good purpose – the sheer stupidity of it might make people think twice about advice they read on the internet and elsewhere, even if it comes from someone who is supposedly credentialed. I agree with Bee: use your own brain.

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger ScienceSmooches said...

Wowsers. I am pretty sure almost anyone reading that will think 'bullshit'. Because. Wow.

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Anon 3:02,

Yeah, I think this is a major flaw. Why should the "system" be set up so that a single person has so much power? It makes no sense to me.

Psycgirl wrote: I'm kind of confused as to how constantly asking thought provoking questions about my advisor's work is going to help me get ahead

This made me laugh. In my case, asking "thought-provoking questions" it just exposed where my advisor had cheated, cut corners, blackmailed people, and outright lied.

And it exposed to him that I was smart enough to figure out that he had done these things.

Ultimately, probably not the safest course of action. Brown-nosing is probably the only way to go. ;-)

app - well said. I agree.

Dr. Girlfriend- you just summed up my conclusion of the last several years. It's part of why I have maintained this blog. It's sort of a record of my coming to this conclusion.

Hope - I wish using your own brain were enough.

 

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