So this was fun. My PhD advisor, who has been on ‘sabbatical’ since early June last year and who I haven’t heard boo from, is turning out to be massive bully… Uncle Fuckin’ Bully (a la Once Were Warriors style). It feels like he’s constructively attempting to get me to quit the program since he found out that I applied for special exam conditions at the end of last semester’s Latin unit… because, well, sitting still for three hours with no breaks is physically impossible for me, and even though he’s been absent forever, he’s realizing I’m more broken then he thought.
Before he took me on, I informed him that I had been in four nasty car accidents, have ongoing chronic pain issues as a result of that accident, which is why I am not in gainful full time employment, but am pursing a higher research degree instead. I did not go into depth about my medical condition – because quite frankly, it’s none of his damn business how I manage my health and the results from my Hons year and my academic references stood for my capacity to undertake PhD study. And then on Friday while I was waiting to find out if our son’s dog was going to die… I get this:
From: Dr. Fuckin’Bully
Sent: Friday, 25 January 2013 10:06 AM
Cc: NZ Co-Advisor; RHD Advisor; RHD Admin Office
Subject: contact and meeting
This is my fourth attempt to contact you over the past two weeks. As stated in my previous emails (Jan. 8, 11, and 18), it’s imperative that we meet to discuss your research progress. There’s really no excusing this prolonged period of email silence, especially given that Takashi and I have extended the deadline for your literature review to Jan. 31. As such, we expect that you are working full time towards meeting this objective. If you are away on vacation, this also complicates the situation, as no consultation was sought beforehand.
Please get in touch ASAP.
Wow, holy fuck! I had no idea. Went hunting for said emails feeling awful the whole time that I hadn’t replied. Checked my spam box, checked my junk mail filter, signed directly into the Uni email portal thingy in case something hadn’t been redirected and found NOTHING. And then I thought, ‘Hang on… I’ve been getting every other email from everyone else in the RHD office et al., why wouldn’t his stuff be coming though?’ At which point, I called ‘SHENANIGANS ON YOU AND YOUR FOUR EMAILS, SIR!!!’ Fucking bastard. So, why is he trying to make out like I’m some sort of recalcitrant teenager skiving out of my work?
Well, Dr. ‘I’ve-Been-Completely-Absent-And-Neglectful-While-On-Sabbatical-For-The-Last-Six-Months-And-Now-I’m-Back-I’m-Gonna-Start-Pushing-You-Around’, advisor type dude… you’re about to find out that I am not one who like this sort of crap. When you push at me – I shove back.
Sigh… sometimes I feel like my whole life is pushing shit uphill with a shovel. O_o
If it isn’t one thing it’s another. Seems like I push shit uphill all the time. So much so, I just about push shit uphill for a hobby. I push shit uphill so much, I reckon, I’ve almost turned it into an art form. Hell, sometimes, I push shit uphill just for fun. And on occasion I’ve even been known to push other people’s shit uphill because they’re not as accomplished at it as I am! Well – we is made of sterner (and stubborner) stuff than what he is probably accustomed to. And so I replied thusly:
Date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Subject: Re: FW: contact and meeting
To: Dr Fuckin’Bully;
Cc: NZ Co-Advisor; RHD Advisor; RHD Admin
Dear Dr. Fuckin’Bully
Welcome back! Unfortunately, this is the first communication I have had from you since the 3rd of December, 2012. I have not been away from my email at all, and have had no problem with any other emails from the RHD office or any other UQ email addresses during this time. I have checked both my spam and junk mail filters and logged directly into the UQ email portal looking for the emails you mentioned below but have found nothing on those dates or any other. I have received no emails from yourself, from my NZ Co-Advisor or the RHD Advisor across this period.
I am distressed by your implication that I have been avoiding my email communications, and by inference my obligations. I have never been informed when to expect you back in the country, nor of the date of your anticipated return to work. Please feel free to re-forward the emails from the dates mentioned below, I would be grateful not to have missed anything. Additionally, if you ever have trouble contacting me in the future, I am always available by phone.
As per our agreement, I have been working full time across the summer period towards the literature review which is due next week. Though I am unsure if it will meet your requirements as you have provided no information regarding your expectations. I have no criteria, no direction, no advice or input regarding this document. When I mentioned this to the RHD Advisor during my meeting with him during your absence in December, he said it was ‘difficult to define expectations on a literature review’, and emphasized that I needed to ‘exercise my own judgement regarding the output’. I look forward to catching up with you soon.
Two can play at this game. I call your bluff, Sir – with the three people you Cc’d into your insulting email watching on. How dare he imply that I’ve been avoiding my responsibilities. Anyone who knows me (even a little) is aware that I’m not only fastidious and focused when I set my mind to something, I’m downright doggedly determined and obsessive compulsive! I am so task oriented, that the psychs have often said it is a character ‘flaw’ that is so overdeveloped as to be detrimental to other aspects of my life, and even my own health and sanity! Well, we will wait and see how Dr. Fuckin’Bully reacts.
Nearly an hour later…
From: Dr. Fuckin’Bully
Date: Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Subject: Re: contact and meeting
To: Borys (What? didn’t want to Cc your buddies into this any more?)
If you’re around on campus, why not pop by my office after lunch, say around 2pm? Otherwise, let’s meet on Tuesday at 10am.
Well, how do you like that? No… ‘Here’s the copies of the missed emails you failed to answer’. No… ‘I don’t have your phone number’. No… ‘That’s not what I meant’, even.
No excuses, no explanations, no apologies. But also no continued insistence that I was deliberately ignoring him. Prick.
Sounds like it’s time to go shopping for a new advisor…