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Author Topic: keeping your advisor(s) happy and working for you  (Read 2515 times)
yevb0
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« on: May 07, 2012, 3:38:44 PM »

Apologies if this has been addressed before.

I have two advisors, which has advantages and disadvantages in many arenas, but I'll stick to the job-seeking ones for now.

Advisor #1 is a young, about-to-be-tenured asst. prof. He is super-supportive of my job search, and thinks that I should apply to whichever and as many jobs as I think, and that his (and Advisor #2) job is to write nice letters and help me get one. He always submits letters when I ask him to, and checks in about things regularly.

Advisor #2 is a full prof who has been here a while. She is supportive of my job search, but has a somewhat different philosophy: mainly, that I should take my time, and not apply to so many jobs that I'm not likely to get. She says that she likes a lot of information, so that she can tailor each letter, so she seems to be taking it seriously, but she also forgets to submit letters: a few times this year, I've had requests from SCs who are interested in me for her letter; she's said she hadn't heard of the job or didn't get my request. I've also discovered that a few jobs I was rejected from never got her letter (though I don't really think that was the deal breaker).

There is still a real possibility I will get a job this year, so this might not apply for the next year, but it would be a temporary job, so I will be back on the market at some point, but in a slightly different situation (less likely to be a "wide net" search). Other than more frequent and personal check-ins with Advisor #2 (while remaining polite trying not to become pesky), is there anything else I can do to manage this situation (either the general philosophy of job-seeking, or the letters)? Any advice is appreciated, thanks.
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ruralguy
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 3:48:11 PM »

Is #1 Advisor on good terms with #2? Perhaps #1 can work on your behalf a bit with #2?

Other than that, I think you have to live with it until you "collect" more people who can potentially write letters (you must have at least one other anyway).

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yevb0
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2012, 3:52:57 PM »

They get along *pretty* well, and often he will help me out in that regard, but I feel like reminding #1 to remind #2 is...strange, but I guess you have to do what you have to do. I think mainly they have a generational difference, Advisor #2 really understands the insanities of the market at the moment.

Honestly, when there are two of them, it's disurbingly like dealing with parents, dysfunctional triangulation and all...

I do have a third recommender, but he's not my primary advisor. I think what bothered me about this situation is that Advisor #1 is (one of) my primary mentor(s), so I will definitely need letters from her if I'm back on the market next year or the year after.
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sagit
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2012, 6:05:41 PM »

What do you do to be proactive on reminding Advisor #2 on sending in the letters?  If I were you, I'd give Advisor #2 the information and self-addressed, stamped envelop an appropriate time before the application deadline.  Then send and email reminder a few days before the deadline.

As for the # of letters that she has to write, I suggest that you only ask her for letters for the jobs that you think you are most likely to get rather than all of them.  Apply to the other ones but just other letter writers, including Advisor #1.
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macadamia
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2012, 6:37:07 AM »

This spam looks oddly on-topic. Maybe you *should* buy your advisors bags to keep them happy.
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yevb0
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2012, 7:51:19 AM »

99% of my recommendations are online/emailed, so I guess an email notice and then a followup would suffice.

Wouldn't it be strange to not have a recommendation from a primary advisor?
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alleyoxenfree
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2012, 10:51:51 AM »

I usually ask former students to send me a reminder at the one week mark before it's due.  The embarrassment of needing this usually helps me get the letter in early but very occasionally it's been a real life-saver, for both of us, when I've been bogged down in some other work and forgotten.

One thing you might try is to say, "One of my other recommenders asked for a one-week-prior e-reminder.  Since I'm going to calendar that, I'll send you one too, if that's okay."
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yevb0
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 10:59:45 AM »

nice tip!
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usukprof
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 11:25:08 AM »

I usually ask former students to send me a reminder at the one week mark before it's due.  The embarrassment of needing this usually helps me get the letter in early but very occasionally it's been a real life-saver, for both of us, when I've been bogged down in some other work and forgotten.

One thing you might try is to say, "One of my other recommenders asked for a one-week-prior e-reminder.  Since I'm going to calendar that, I'll send you one too, if that's okay."

+1  In my case, I tell my students to remind me (repeatedly if necessary) if it looks like I might miss a critical deadline.
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