Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bad Advisors

To go along with the “how many grad students” question from the last post, there is a discussion on FSP’s blog about Bad Advisors (BAs). I hope that I am not a BA.  I hope that just being aware that there is such a thing as good and bad advising is half the struggle to avoiding the BA label.  I might be an unintentionally bad advisor (UBA) for some of my students.  I don’t know.  I try to err on the side of over-advising, sometimes at the expense of my own first-author publication production.  This summer has not been good for paper writing, but I have been helping others get out papers and proposals.  I did get to code for a while this summer, and that was fun.  I don’t think I could do this with 10+ PhD students at once, or even 5 grad students.  I would have no time for myself and my own pursuits.  I think that I would be in constant manager mode and wouldn’t get to actually do any science directly.  It would all be vicariously through my employees.  That’s not what I want to do, though.  I am still very interested in coding and making plots and spending time with a problem, and I don’t want to simply be one who gets the money for others to able to do these things.  So, I will not grow my group too fast.  For one, that takes a lot of money, but for another, I want to be able to (very slowly) transition into the permanent manager position.  I am pretty happy with the state of things right now, although I would have liked to have had more time this summer to write a paper or two.  But, I do not regret my time advising others.  This is productive time for me, just in a different direction, and I am not bitter about it.  Just a little nostalgic for the days when I did everything myself.  No, not really.

1 comment:

  1. Even in engineering circles we long for the days when we did everything ourselves. I don't think it's a control issue. I think it's a quality issue, or even a "yeah, I've still got it" issue.
    The funny thing is that in large corporations, such as Intel, there is a limit to how many people can be working under a manager. That's why there's so many layers of middle management.