Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reading between the lines

Following up on my two recent posts drum roll and fuck me, regarding my PI's response to my finished paper. I was hoping to submit and use it as a chapter in my dissertation.

Turns out Dr. AH never really read it and after making me wait weeks to get some "feedback" he only ok'd it for my thesis. I was so bummed until I received good advice from PIT pointing out that I didn't hit him with the obvious question.

Which was: so...are you saying it's ready to submit AND for use in the thesis?

Yes, great idea. This kind of feedback is exactly what I hope for...the reason why this blog was started (deer in the headlights)! Because I've been hit with absurd stupid shit, read between the lines and assume I know what's up and that's it...I'm done. Don't know what to say. And fuck, I'm the deer in the headlights all over again.

So instead, this time I responed to Dr. AH with the following:

Hi Dr. AH,
Is this good news? Does that mean it's ready to be submitted and/or added to the thesis?

The response:

This can be added to your thesis as is. I would say that is good news for everyone.
For submission, there is quite a bit of work that I need to do. I will work on this over the holidays and into January.
When will you set a date? I am here from Jan 5 on, all the way through January, but of course you should see if the other committee members are here in January when you defend.

Now...fuck me. I guess at least I didn't just stand there like the fucking deer, but really I don't see the results panning out like I hoped. I feel better regarding the way I handled it.

Reading between the lines:
1. What I notice here is that he doesn't want to submit my paper because he has a lot of work to do??? What work??? NO IDEA, since he has NEVER talked to me about it!!!! Our mediator (also a member of my committee) said that my draft looked like it was ready to why does Dr. AH not feel the same?
2. Dr. AH said he was going to work on "what ever" between the "holidays and into January". Ummmmm, does anyone else read in the following line that he wont even be back until Jan. 5th. Yeah....NICE....what a FUCKHEAD!

How do I handle this on my CV as I'm applying for post doc positions? Do I just say "in preparation?" Obviously leaving out the fact that it WILL NEVER BE SUBMITTED!!!!

Funny thing did happen immediately following. I was in the coffee shop and was going up to approach this customer I've talked some with in the last couple of years. He is a prof. at the medical school. We both have recently switched from PC to Mac and we often share tricks/advice. So as I approached him and said excuse me, he looked up. Ha...fuck me it not's PI, Dr. AH.

Oh, shit...I didn't know what to say. Neither did he. The entire thing was shocking the hell out of us. All I could pull out of my deer in the headlight ass was "ah, hi, just got your only thesis and not submission?

To which Dr. AH looks down in a scared kind of way (probably thought I was about to bitch slap him), and says "yes, use it for you thesis".

I said to have a good morning and walked away. OMG! A good lesson in remembering to wear my glasses!!!!


  1. That's good news! Go ahead and organise your defence asap as your number one priority right now is to graduate.

    As far as the paper goes, I think you're reading too much into it - it will need to be polished and then sent around to all of the coauthors (assuming there are coauthors) and their corrections and edits incorporated before it can be submitted to a journal. Talk to him a couple of days after he returns in the New Year and ask how the manuscript is looking - also come up with some suggestions about journals you'd like to sent it to. Also don't forget that PIs need a break over the holidays just like everyone else :) It's not unreasonable for him to put the manuscript tweaking off until the New Year.

    Re your CV: list the paper as being in preparation.

  2. PiT keeps beating me to the punch--and is absolutely right. Don't read too much into delays getting back to you or his comment about needing to work on it. This is typical for many PIs--asshats and decent ones alike. It does take some polishing and modification to convert a thesis chapter to a manuscript. PiT's advice to come up with journal suggestions is an excellent one: It serves as a reminder without being too pushy and allows you to start formating figures, etc. while your PI is revising the manuscript.

  3. You both are right. I am working on letting things go. I just hate that the paper wonderboy is working on (where we are co-first) keeps getting Dr. AH edits. His comments are through out wonderboys drafts even statements like "rock on baby" when he is adding track changes. I just crave that kind of engagement.

    I guess what I'm really venting about is that its just isn't fair! So stupid I know and even embarrassing to admit.

    I've lived through a lot of life situations that were not fair, or just plain fucked up. For some reason, this situation has really gotten to me. I think because for the first time in my life I found a field I really like. And I'm terrified I wont be able to move on.

    Our "fields" are small enough that we know each other, we know where they came from and we know lots of the rumors. It's like living in a small town, right? this shit follows you. I know this to be true because the science field isn't different than any other field. And I did have a different life before going back to school to become a scientist. I spent quite a bit of time in corporate and I have to say I think my current position is more fucked up than the corporate world. Maybe that's not fair because I expected it then. I really didn't see this coming and being the "girl" I am, I hesitated when it was coming. I should have acted faster and more directly than I did. Oh, well.

    I just hope that I become happy in this field again. I also hope that I can be a better PI to my students than I experienced. It is a great relief to read what I have in the blogs and at times I am again hopeful.

  4. Situations like yours are completely fucked up and shouldn't happen but they do. Just keep focused on finishing and defending your dissertation so that you can get the hell out of the toxic situation. And, if you're not already doing it, start sending your CV out to all of the people you would be interesting in working with to see if there are any postdoc possibilities out there. At this point, you need something to look forward to once this nightmare is over. Hang in there.

  5. It's also worth pointing out that--while it seems like this kind of shit is going to follow you around forever and "ruin your career"--it is likely that other people in your field are aware of your thesis advisor's douchebaggery, and will discount any of her expressed opinions of you accordingly.