Before I start, I just want to say that I know exactly how lucky I am. My adviser is a god compared to all the horror stories I hear. He is generally responsive, supportive, treats me as a professional, helps me make contacts and made sure my name was on as an author for the papers I helped on, pumping up my CV.
However, this week he is making me nuts. I am trying (at his suggestion) to apply for a prestigious seminar fellowship. It’s due November 1st. It requires a 2 page research abstract about what will probably turn into my dissertation. I wrote something and sent it to him for comment. He talked to me about this and something else on Tuesday, but only for a total of about 5 minutes and then while he was distracted trying to get out the door. He made 2 comments, one of which would change the research question completely, then had to go and hung up.
That isn’t actually helpful given the time frame. I desperately need about 15-20 minutes of his time. On the phone is fine. I don’t care what time of the day or night. Apparently that is going to have to wait for tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, meaning I will be rushing all this weekend to put this thing together so that I can give it to him for signature and departmental submission on Monday. (The chair has to write a letter of recommendation to go with my application paperwork, so they need time as well.)
If the question I was asking was so bad, I wish he would have just said that instead of making what sounds like a reasonable suggestion that changes the whole thing. If he only skimmed what I wrote and wasn’t clear on what the question was I wish he would have said that as well. Either would have let me keep working in the meantime. Instead I am stalled until I clarify with him what he was thinking so that i can figure out how to integrate it with what I have or if I need to just rewrite.
When I drill it down what is irritating me isn’t the content of his comment so much as the fact that he essentially dropped a bomb on my project and then disappeared for 3 days. I’m fine with “that’s a dumb question; what about this one”. I’m NOT fine with “what about adding this aspect” when adding that aspect changes the entire concept to something that no longer resembles anything different from the existing literature….
Ah well, enough whining….back to work….