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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I have been freaking scooped :-(

I am a PostDoc. No, wait, haven't defended the thesis yet, but am on my second year of PostDoc. One of my bosses (I happen to have many of them at every single stage of my carrer) defines me a PreDoc. I initially had a thesis writing block, then my (ex?) PhD supervisor caught the terrible thesis-correcting intestinal block.
Awful disease which causes him to pass me only one chapter of thesis per month, duly commented.
Gawk. To add on this, I felt it was rather pointless to start writing up the paper summarising my whole work, while corrections were not yet crystallised. A general statement about not wanting to re-write the same things twice, coupled with my indolence to actually sit up and write after work, when the bad belgian weather pushes me to eat lots of high-calories food and watch desperate Housewives and other corner stones of human knowledge. So, to make it short (ah!) I still haven't published my work. And some months ago have come to know that someone else has published a similar one, although I am still ahead of them. What's worst, these people don't care to reference the previous PhD work that mine stemmed from. This pissed the hell out of one of my industrial supervisors, who's a hell's hound under the travesty of a nice guy - kind of cool, indeed. I wish I was cool and clever half of what he is. May be I'll get there. Anyway, let's not get out of track: they freaking scooped me. Actually, it did happen once already, during my first year, but back then I didn't complain too much, the group who did it was much more powerful than me on my own, so quite frankly theiy did a much better job than I could have done myself, inexperienced as I was. But not this time. I usually think of me as a mediocre scientist, but people keep telling me that I sell myself too short. Mah... I just don't feel like I'm getting close to the Nobel anytime soon, and certainly I lack the drive and the focus. Unlike many other colleagues, may be less smart, but certainly more devoted to their work. I am still the curious ten year old, tinkering and playing with cool things. And getting off track. Again.

I have been scooped. Not really, but some other people are using techniques very similar to what I have been developing. I better get my act together and write down that damn paper (or two) - And bang on my boss' door to have back my final chapter. I'm pissed too. Thouroughly so. Royally so. Do not get close to me, oh sinner, for thou shall repente thy choices.


post-doc said...

Given that I don't work on anything overly popular or interesting, I haven't had this particular problem. But I did want to wish you luck with getting papers out there so you can get the credit you deserve. Good luck!

CJR said...

You weren't allowed to use papers as thesis chapters? That's what I did.

Gufo said...

Hey. Thanks for being sympathetics.

I am getting down with it now. just added the FINAL table to my thesis before submission.

as for publications before the thesis, it was kind of hard in my case since the project is a big chunk of work, better understood together.

Then again, my boss has the very bad combination of being very picky and detail-maniac, yet incredibly slow at correcting/proofreading: I got a review out, and that one only took almost one year and a half.

I have friends who have finished their PhDs since three year yet haven't published yet.

luckily, the new work place is different, and they let us the time to publish, plus the turnaround of drafts is pretty quick.

and being part of a group, your name ends up in other people's papers, which adds to the CV anyway.