Monday, October 24, 2011

Where has all the motivation gone?

So I was at a conference all of last week, which was simultaneously inspiring and disheartening. I came out of talks with all sorts of ideas of things that I could do. On the other hand, I kept thinking about how impractical and uninteresting what I've gotten done in that last year has been. This has been a frustrating year, to say the least. I've been project-hijacked by my advisor several times to produce data for abstracts he submitted without existing data, or based on data he expected from students who ended up leaving the group. Because of a possible scheduling conflict, I had to submit a poster to a conference in case he couldn't be there to give his talk.  I've been trying to cut back on the whining, but after last week, I'm just tired. My work didn't belong at that conference, but my advisor told everyone to submit abstracts so that he could answer "yes" at committee meetings when asked if he had any students at the meeting.

I also got to meet with his perpetual golden child who really is a very lovely person, and provides some hope that maybe I can be successful in spite of my PI. She also reassures me that nagging him really is my only route to get papers read. On the other hand, it's been ONE YEAR since I sent the first complete draft of my first manuscript to him, and the total feedback I've gotten was "Well, sometimes your writing is a bit choppy". This is not due to a lack of nagging...

It's also a bit depressing to meet friends who have completed their Master's programs and are out in industry, with responsibilities and interesting jobs.

So now, I'm back, with no real looming deadlines, and it's hard to motivate myself to do anything right now. Suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. My (ex) advisor still has at least 3 papers of mine on the "Journal of ___'s Desk", written during my dissertation years which are now well behind me. I have pretty much given up hope on publishing them at this point. Nagging didn't seem to help either. Those publications that made it through the other side were helped through either by (1) publishing deadlines, or (2) pressure from my co-advisor, or (3) some miracle of nature. Advisors are typically time and attention challenged. My only suggestions are to try setting your own deadlines with the prof-- set up milestones and dates that you want to get something submitted, or completed as draft X. This way you have clear accountability and timelines rather than an ASAP mentality. Other suggestions are to find a co-advisor, or to submit to invited "special issues" where there is a clear publishing deadline. The last suggestion is a little more delicate. As a former golden child, I have had success in helping other students get work through the "advisor" machine. Perhaps your "golden child" friend can put in a good word for you.