My third paper got accepted, doing localization with this cute baby in the picture. Had a lot of fun collaborating with a good friend of mine from ETH.
My advisor declines every request I have, and then ignores me most of the time. No wonder the motivation in the lab is lower than the Dead Sea.
I have no words to describe how much I hate every second of my existence, but simultaneously I refuse to change my toxic circumstances so I have only myself to blame. Cheers.

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    Is three papers already enough? Write up your thesis and get out of there? Or would you want to stay in University?

    I spent almost five years finishing my useless PhD, almost alone, but it was OK, didn't really expect to stay in University anyway.
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    @phorkyas I asked my advisor about graduating, and he said it doesn't matter how many papers I write, I need to stay at least 4-4.5 years in his lab (I'm there for 1 year 9 months).

    So I can basically do photosynthesis by the window for the next 2+ years and still graduate. Super motivating right?
  • 3
    @NickyBones This is why I declined the two unsolicited offers for a PhD enrolment that I received at my uni back then. Five years of slavery, bad pay, subjected to the whims of some prof, and unlike in the industry, without the option to just apply elsewhere.

    However, you can also take it as a pretty backhanded compliment: those whom they try to keep locked in are those who actually deliver, i.e. the competent ones.

    If your PhD position were due to e.g. nepotism or the diversity title mill, then you would get through quickly. However, your papers probably told them that they can extract value from you for the greater fame of whatever prof is sitting at the top of that uni pyramid scheme.
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    @Fast-Nop I never thought I'd wish to be a diversity hire, but here we are...
  • 0
    @NickyBones The downside of a title mill procedure would be that you'd then be limited to more or less decorative BS jobs instead of the real tech stuff that you're after.
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    @Fast-Nop The more time I spent in "real tech stuff", the more I wish I chose a different profession. I spend so much energy just trying to survive in a super toxic environment. I actually have very little energy left to put into meaningful work.
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    @NickyBones Might become better once you leave academics. The problem in academics is that there's nothing at stake because unis cannot go bankrupt no matter what they "produce" (or fail to "produce").

    The result especially with PhDs is exploitation from the top, and a "publish or perish" shark tank among equals. There is no such common goal as delivering products on time to keep the company afloat.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop I consider myself quite misanthropic, but in an engineering context I like collaborative work. I really miss the team work I had in the industry. The amount of back-stabbing and shit-throwing that goes on in the lab is awe-striking.

    And our advisor also doesn't allow internships and student exchange with other universities. It's like the most anti-science thing you can do.
  • 1
    @NickyBones Check your PhD status! You might be able to leave the university but they still have to supervise and accept your thesis. I quit my job at a German university in 2013 but as my thesis expose was already accepted I was still able to submit and defend my PHD thesis.
  • 0
    @lastNick Do you know with which authority in the university I need to speak?

    About defending even if my advisor is not happy about it?
  • 1
    @NickyBones Some authority at the university or faculty is responsible for the PhD students. For me it was the „Promotionsgeschäftstelle“ of my university.
    There was a dispute with my supervisor and 1 year without any communication but after all of that he asked if I still like to submit my thesis.
  • 1
    @NickyBones "he said it doesn't matter how many papers I write, I need to stay at least 4-4.5 years in his lab"

    I'm aware the typical length of a PhD varies between country & culture, but that's an appalling attitude for your advisor to have - especially when he's unsupportive (if he was constantly supporting you and using that time to build you up and get you more knowledge & experience, that might be a bit different.) Either way, you should definitely have someone else in the department you can go to for an informal (and confidential, if required) chat about your supervisor being that unsupportive, and if that fails, there should be proper complaints channels.

    My PhD experience was in the UK and a fair few years ago now, but 3-4 years was considered typical and there was a big emphasis on submitting when you're ready, not after some predetermined length of time had passed. Number of papers isn't a direct metric, but it's a good indicator.
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    @AlmondSauce The problem is that for some reason, our robotics group is under the agriculture department, so there is really no other professor who is in the same domain.

    I am also afraid that if I talk to someone, they will immediately rat on me to the advisor, and my life will be even more miserable.
  • 1
    @NickyBones Sorry, missed this.

    Agriculture? That's... interesting and nuts at the same time.

    Fair enough, totally get the worry of anonymous complaints not staying anonymous, it does happen. Is there any other kind professor / advisor in a similar area

    who you could talk to for advice? Doesn't even have to be in the same department or university. That wouldn't of course help with your current advisor, but might mean you could at least progress more sensibly with the PhD without needing quite so much of his input. Shouldn't rattle him either, as it's perfectly normal (and even encouraged) to get other people's feedback.

    I would offer to help more concretely (and the offer is still there if you think I *can* somehow), but robotics isn't really my area I'm afraid, unless you're getting down to the embedded electronics level... you almost certainly know 100x more than me!
  • 1
    @NickyBones Any news on this? Did you find out who is responsible for all the PhD students at your university? Will it help if someone else (everyone but you) will approach the PhD authority at your university?
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    @lastNick @AlmondSauce

    I think our lab is in the agriculture faculty because my advisor's wife is also a robotics professor, and she is in the CS department. So they probably wanted them in separate faculties.

    I ended speaking also to the CS dean. I had some hard evidence for my claims (email exchanges), and he was enraged. He's a 70+ years old German guy, and he literally called my advisor's policies BULLSHIT. yup, that's a quote.

    I think I will end up moving to a different uni. This lab is highly toxic, including insane antisemitic comments.

    The dean said I could take all my work with me, and continue my PhD in another uni. I have a uni that is happy to accept me as a "fast-track PhD", but I will know for sure in February.
  • 1
    @NickyBones This sound like good news. Congrats on your new perspective! I wish you all the best for your PhD.
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