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Author Topic: Apply for post doc despite personality issues?  (Read 19525 times)
rockdoc11
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« on: February 29, 2012, 1:39:01 PM »

So here's the situation:

I am in my fourth year of the PhD and am thinking about my next step.  I would like to obtain a post doc and then move into a research based position, possibly with some teaching. 

A former professor of mine has changed institutions and is now advertising several post doc positions.  The classes I took with this professor inspired me to pursue my current path and during my undergraduate years I asked him if I could work with him on some research.  He declined.  I was not given a reason why and have not sought out that information from him or others who knew both of us.  I now suspect that my personality may have conflicted with his.  Since leaving my undergraduate,  I have seen him at conferences and his behavior toward me was cool, if not a little rude.  While I am not eligible for these current post docs, I will be in a few years.  My field is small enough that it would be difficult, and possibly detrimental to try and avoid applying for such positions, especially since his work seems to be moving closer to my current research path.

So my question:
1.  Should I seek out the information that could help explain why he didn't want to work with me 10 years ago?  It may help determine if I should apply.  It may feed my own morbid curiosity.  Apparently, I am an abrasive, unapproachable human being and if my suspicions are true, then I certainly wouldn't apply.

I am looking forward to the responses.
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larryc
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« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 2:43:25 PM »

Should I seek out the information that could help explain why he didn't want to work with me 10 years ago? 

Oh hell no. No. NO.

Just AFTDJ.
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scampster
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« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 2:53:01 PM »

Should I seek out the information that could help explain why he didn't want to work with me 10 years ago? 

Oh hell no. No. NO.

Just AFTDJ.

I agree.

Even if your field is small, surely this guy has a competitor who would be happy to have you if you are a productive scholar. Hell, if you are really productive, this guy might be happy to have you even if he doesn't like you.

Relatedly, I have a strong personality, but I have plenty of friends and colleagues. I occasionally run into some people who really will never like me. I can't change that and I am always civil with such people, but it is about them, not me, and I can't change them. If no one will work with you, you have a problem, but don't waste energy on people who for whatever reason don't like you.
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macaroon
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« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 3:19:25 PM »

No, don't ask -  and apply for any postdoc jobs that come up.   And if you don't get the job, don't ask why.

For the vast majority of research requests I've turned down, most of them have been due to issues with me, my schedule, and my own commitments.  Only rarely does it have to do with the person I turned down. 
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aprilmay
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 10:36:59 AM »

Definitely do not ask this. They may not even remember declining your request 10 years ago. There are many legitimate reasons for a professor to say no, even if they think the student is good. Maybe you were an excellent student, but not a good match for the current research projects. Perhaps they already had such a large team they could not add one more. Perhaps most of their projects were good matches for postdocs not undergrads. Maybe they do not have undergrads in the lab at all, or not many. You need to quit interpreting this as an insult. You have not described a personality issue with this professor just because they did not want to work with you 10 years ago and because they are not engaging you at conferences. I am not even sure what you think is the problem here. You should apply for the position. Also, quit dwelling on this event from 10 years ago. It is not meaningful. I turn down several undergrads a week, and most of them are great. I do not think poorly of them just because I do not have a space for them.
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rockdoc11
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 4:41:31 PM »

Thanks for the advice.  I have been told not over analyze things.  Perhaps someday I will learn to do this.  I will apply for the postdoc and see what happens.
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spaceman
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 9:55:05 AM »

any idea abput KAUST in Saudi ARABIA? iS IT WORTHY?
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