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Worked as a RA? How were you treated?

(7 Posts)
Leatherboundanddown Wed 21-Sep-16 08:34:09

I'm just coming to the end of a really horrific research assistant job. I had a year gap between my masters and PhD and it seemed like a great opportunity but it has been the worst job of my life.

I feel pretty traumatised by the whole thing and this should be a happy time gearing up for my much wanted fully funded PhD scholarship but the job has just left me in a complete state.

I feel bullied, exploited and like I have wasted a year as the working relationship I have with the PI (ha! I did ALL the work though) is so bad I'll never put this on my CV or ask for a reference as I am worried what they would write as each day is so unpredictable as to whether they are slightly reasonable or a complete arsehole.

I feel so upset about it all. I am glad it is nearly over and I can move on but I just wonder is this a common experience? How do others deal with it and during my PhD I HAVE to make sure this doesn't happen again. I thought I was assertive but this boss has turned me into a mouse sad

Bountybarsyuk Wed 21-Sep-16 08:38:38

I think you have to write this one off. I would definitely keep it on the CV but don't use them as a referee, you won't really need to anyway as you will have a supervisor and an examiner that can serve as academic referees. I'm sorry it was such an awful job, it sounds like your boss was a loon, but the PhD is a fresh opportunity and a new start, and I would have a week off, do something you really love, and try to forget it ever happened.

reallyanotherone Wed 21-Sep-16 08:44:42

Was it only you they treated like this?

I think you've been unlucky and found a job with crappy people and attitudes. It will not be the same everywhere.

Keep it on your cv, you wont need a ref as youll have your phd supervisor, and move on. You have a reason for leaving (starting phd) so that is all you need to say about it.

Leatherboundanddown Wed 21-Sep-16 09:49:31

Yes just me. It was externally funded just for one year to complete a particular project. The project was with one Senior lecturer and then one member of support staff supervising me (supposedly). Both women and both close. Constantly bitching about others.
I had never experienced workplace bullying but after speaking to friends about this (outside academia) they said it definitely is. I just want it to be over.

MedSchoolRat Wed 21-Sep-16 20:15:39

Would you mind saying broadly what subject this was... like biology or history or whatever?

I'm a career RA & never had an arsehat for a boss like that.
But I have heard of faculty who can be two-faced gits and treat the admin staff in the unpredictable & unreasonable way OP describes, so I know they exist. sad

Are there no other admin people or RAs in your dept. no community you can tap into for support? I presume you've got a good PhD supervisor or panel to move onto?

Leatherboundanddown Wed 21-Sep-16 21:58:24

I'm in an area of English. There are usually people about but I've been doing the buĺk of this over the summer so many are working from home.

Luckily my PhD is somewhere else. A different department within the same school. Yes both my suspervisors seem good I will be meeting them some more over the coming months.

MarasmeAbsolu Fri 23-Sep-16 20:12:18

I have no idea what an RA does outside of science or quantitative research fields.
My experience as an RA a decade ago was pretty much being someone's lab bitch - but this was in my JD. They got the money, set the direction, reviewed my stuff. My job was to deliver the goods, regardless of how tedious / dangerous / menial / exhausting the job was.

There are a lot of arseholes in academia, but from the same token, there as many people who go into RA jobs with the wrong expectations.

If you felt bullied, it s really not good - maybe speak with someone who can keep note of the bad behaviour, if only to stop the next RA feeling down when they sign up with them.

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