Friday, April 26, 2013

Advisee to colleague

Each time I think I'm done applying to positions for the year and ready to plan for fall, another position opens up. So I've started hearing back from my second round of applications, including a rejection from a position at my old Ph.D. department. Of course I was disappointed, but then I thought about the issues I've had with my advisor and a few other members of the department.
Nothing huge, but a few cases of miscommunication leading to gnashing of teeth and some tears. Communication issues have persisted through present collaborations, such that I don't allow myself to open emails from them on the weekend, knowing the email could ruin the weekend. Part of it stems from the fact, I think, that I'm still seen as a grad student and not as a colleague. That made me wonder if working in the department so soon after graduating would be difficult. Would faculty continue to see me as a grad student and condescend or patronize me, whether consciously or unconsciously? I asked a current colleague when their old advisor starting writing or communicating with them as a fellow scientist and not an advisee. A few years, they admitted. So yes, I may have been seen as a junior scientist at my old department, even more so than a new young scientist, despite the new title and position. I still would apply for attractive positions there, because my experience with the department and location was overwhelmingly positive, but with some thought about how to make that transition obvious to old advisors and committee members.

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