2 comments

  1. A less fun topic to write about, if you’re up for it: Expectations

    I’m pretty far into my position but still trying to figure out what kind of productivity to expect from postdocs and grad students. Part of the problem is that I have a hard time gauging how productive they really are, e.g., when it seems to take several weeks to develop a mathematical model, and there are changes but no obvious improvements from one week to the next (we meet weekly). Sometimes I ask how they’re feeling about their progress, and they’re usually feeling okay, but I occasionally… perhaps often is more accurate… get frustrated because I can’t see where the time is going. I try to have faith in them but am afraid I am letting some off too easily or allowing problems to fester. I’ve drawn hard lines with a few (and let two go, after it was REALLY clear nothing was getting done).

    I also have this uncertainty about the type of help I give them. Sometimes I feel like I have to do more of their thinking for them than I should and want to, and I wonder if I’m just getting lazy or too entitled or (occasionally) don’t want to undertake the hard work of figuring all their problems out. My own advisers were extremely hands-off. I’ve seen some who are far more involved. I’m not sure what’s right.

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