Monday, April 4, 2011

Coping Mechanisms

I'm currently trying to evaluate my major coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and nonsense, because they clearly aren't working. My current methods largely fall into two categories:

1) Venting: either to Mr. ME, or by blogging, or to my parents or lab mates. Though venting to my father seems to have led to meddling from my aunt, a professor in a different department at GiantU. Ultimately, clearly articulating the problem seems to make me more upset, rather than less. This indicates it's not a very good coping mechanism.

2) Ignoring it: one of the nice things about being busy is not having as much down time to think about problems I can't immediately fix. Instead, I will just keep chugging on and distract myself by working, or laughing at kitten antics. Playing with the kitten is probably my most effective stress-release at this point.

3) Resigned acceptance: at this point, I'm near the bottom of my advisor's priority list except when something I'm doing directly influences something higher up the list. Since my project doesn't involve collaborators and only has an annual review (which is for my new project, not the papers he's sitting on), he cares about it roughly once a year. I can keep nagging him about reading the paper every single time I see him (which hasn't done any good yet). I can talk to my grad chair and department chair (again), but I'm not terribly optimistic.

4)...? Any other suggestions for dealing with negligent advisors?


  1. Cat is a great idea. I also go for reading and video games for the immersive qualities. And you hit it with the "stay busy" thing. I've noticed I have less time to wallow in the unfairness of it all if I'm busy (which unfortunately gives credence to my employer's method of just rewarding me with more work when I'm performing well rather than giving me a promotion or recognition). Lastly, ignorance is bliss. I try to avoid getting information that will only make me more unhappy. I used to try to stay informed and on top of things but figured out this was just fuel to the fire of my discontent.

  2. FrauTech's right on all fronts. However, if you're really steamed at the root of the problem (advisor), go find a new one. Be a little discrete about it. Maybe some other prof you approach will pick you up (or help you work out your ills with current prof).

  3. @Gears: I thought very seriously about changing groups, but I really enjoy my primary project, and I'm very reluctant to leave four already drafted papers behind and start over. When my advisor does get around to giving feedback, it's usually constructive. I'm really only frustrated with the severe lag problems. MSE being the hodge podge field that it is, there's also only one other person in the department doing even nominally the same type of research... and she's my advisor's wife.