Monday, April 07, 2008

Pick and Choose

Long ago I was a hard working PhD student but now days I have become a de facto PhD student. With my work complete I have nothing else to do except for writing, whether its thesis or paper or such wishful thinking of mine as this one. But I learnt few beautiful things while doing this PhD. To start with I came to know what not to be done with a PhD student or a PhD program though the fact remains I am yet to learn what to be done for a PhD. It is quite interesting to note that though in few months or years I will be called Dr. so and so but I am yet to realize what exactly needs to be done to finish a PhD. Once I was told by my friend and senior that for a PhD you need to find a supervisor who would give you a definite time frame, like he says “I will in all likeliness would give your PhD in five years” and you may do something absolutely rubbish but as long as your supervisor says you are making progress you should be cheerful. Well I am not fully convinced with these, because in this case, time in absoluteness has no meaning unless starting point is defined and unlike many other things progress is a vector quantity. What if the supervisor says you are making progress but doesn’t define the direction? So all the time you had been cheerful about your progress when in reality you should have been worried and raising your blood pressure. It may seem to some that increasing blood pressure is not a good way to live, but believe me it’s the best way to get your PhD. Let me explain, with increasing blood pressure you would become more irritated and then a point will come when you will start feeling homicidal to everything in general and that’s the time when your PhD will be set in front of you as a tranquillizer. The logic is simple, until and unless you literally die to get a thing you won’t understand the worth of it and the supervisor too won’t get the satisfaction of saving his own life. Well I have thought it as a moto, if ever one becomes a supervisor he shouldn’t give a PhD until and unless he sees his student carrying a pistol or long knife under the belt.

Well that was the first lesson. The second lesson, though you don’t need a PhD to learn it but a PhD will make you feel it first hand for a prolonged period so that it remains embedded in your system, if put in words it will sound like this, if you have power flaunt it and make everybody around you feel miserable. It doesn’t require much effort to do it. Tell everyone under you to follow certain rules and openly defy them yourself. That will give you a sense of having a say over others. Talk about ethics and morality without even bothering to see where you are standing in regards to the above two quantities. Ask everyone to be on time to a task while you take your own time. Tell them again and again that they are a useless piece of shit whose very existence depends on your whims and fancies. If something good happens its your credit and if something goes wrong find the person responsible and make him feel that he is good for nothing even though you are the one who is responsible for mess, and while making such accusations don’t even bother to see that the number of years the convict has put doing the same work which by stroke of luck has gone wrong this time. Last but not least you are always right and everybody else is only right when you have nothing to say on that matter. But I feel this is still less, the feeling of being powerful to me will come when I will make everybody under me to call a cow, a dog, and over and above they will truly believe it. So another moto, if ever one has power he should flaunt it and flaunt it to maximum.

Well that’s not the end of it, there is one more lesson I got, that is if you are in power than you are the one you get to pick and choose while others should follow your diktat. This fact I learnt from some simple events taking place around me. It is true for any place that out of all the option available to person some will be good and some bad. In most cases a person will be tempted to choose the good options if he can do so and more so if that person is paying hard cash for the end product, in this case a PhD. As a personal note I would prefer a supervisor who has excellent track record for research as most places while employing me would demand the same. So a time in a bad place will mean more time for me in a bad state. But those in power will decide otherwise. Your bad state is your responsibility even though I am responsible for it. And then they will adopt a procedure which will suit their taste. They will ask you visit some people whom you can join as a miserable fellow, then fill up a form in which you indicate your preferences as to whom you would like to join to feel the least miserable and then some hungry wolves will pour on your form as if you are some delicious piece of meat to be devoured with instant delight. In the end a decision will come out and most probably you will be sent to anybody other than your first choice. But here two lessons needs to be learnt, first if you are in power you get to pick and choose, second if you are not in power make your choices so that the powerful feel happy and you look unhappy even though you got what you wanted. But then it adds another moto, if one ever gets to pick and choose, he should pick and choose in a way so as to the effected feels miserably cheated or deliberately put to suffer, it will depend on the effected to make their choices wisely. I still wonder whether Hitler or Attila the Hun did PhDs. Well it would definitely be funny to say Dr. Attila the Hun. Anyway never mind……

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