help again!

Jennifer Couch jcouch at WATSON.WUSTL.EDU
Mon Jun 10 14:17:40 EST 1996

Ellie, I agree with Sarah.  It is not uncommon at all to have problems with
your advisor.  In fact, I don't know anyone that's made it too
far without running into serious difficulties either with their PhD advisor,
their post-doc advisor or someone else along the line.  And I don't mean
trivial problems.

Most people hiring know this and are sympathetic.  The main thing they
need to be convinced of is that this problem with you and your advisor was
not because you were incompetent.  If you have other people of equivalent
status to your advisor (i.e. faculty) writing  you recommendations, then this
will be evident.  People can write their recommendations so that it's
obvious that you are competent and a hard worker but that you had some
difficulties with your advisor, without spelling out what those difficulties
were.  You too have to present yourself in a confident, competent manner (both
in writing and in speaking with potential employers).  This can be incredibly
difficult when you've just been through a traumatic experience.  But the
fact is, you've got to do it.  No one will see that you're competent unless
you act that way.

And, yes, we could all line our walls with rejection letters!  It's a tough
job market out there and a specialized one.  Employers look for fairly
trivial reasons to narrow down their list of applicants.  One of these times
you'll be exactly what they're looking for. You just have to apply to alot
of differen't positions and take great care with each application (research
the company, etc) so that they know you're interested enough and comptent
enough to at least write a good application.


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