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Vexing dilemma (Please help!!!)

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by dreamer9, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. dreamer9

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    Hi guys,

    This is my first time posting on SDN so I hope that I don't offend or irritate anyone. So, I'm having a pretty rough application cycle and a rough year in general and my part-time research position is not helping the situation. My supervisor is absolutely unprofessional and mean and some of my co-workers are pretty bad as well. Anyway, I was offered a much more interesting research position and the PI of this new project seems more receptive to my needs. Now I am faced with the dilemma of quitting my current job which I absolutely loathe. But, I am really worried b/c the PI is a faculty member of my top choice school. I know that I will not get a LoR or an abstract/publication out of this job. The PI for the new opportunity is also a faculty member of my top choice school and I know that if I work hard, I will get a LoR and an abstract/publication out of this new opportunity. All constructive feedback will be really appreciated. :)

    EDIT: Do I need to inform the schools I applied to that I left the job I wrote on my secondaries and that I have a new research position?

    Will it look bad to leave this job if I just started it in October?
     
    #1 dreamer9, Dec 6, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
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  3. HeatherMD

    HeatherMD Queen of Passiveagressiva
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    You could have summed this up with "my job to sucks"

    to which I would have given you the same reply, "quit".
     
  4. dreamer9

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    yeah, i'm sorry about the long post. but do you think quitting this job will a) look bad to med schools since I am applying this year b) affect my chances at my top choice school?
     
  5. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    If you aren't going to get anything out of it besides an addendum on your activities list, then quit. It's only going to raise yellow/red flags if you've been working at your research job for a long time and leave it without a LOR or anything else...it may show to the adcoms that you deliberately avoided the LOR for some reason.
     
  6. HeatherMD

    HeatherMD Queen of Passiveagressiva
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    Whatever. I just quit my research position (but on much more amicable terms!) and I don't care how it looks on my applications.. if they ask about it, I'll just say I am no certain becoming a bench chemist is not for me!
     
  7. dreamer9

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    So you don't think it will affect my chances at my top choice school? Would a PI send out a negative letter to schools they think a former employee is applying to?
     
  8. beachblonde

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    Good gracious, I hope not.

    That would be terribly vindictive. Plus, I'm not even medical schools accept unsolicited LORs. Quit and don't ask the PI for a LOR. Problem solved. Will affect your chances at the school? Well, since both of these PIs appear to be on staff there, you're probably ok.

    You are not the first, nor the last, person to quit working in a lab that they disliked. Don't stress too much about it.
     
  9. dreamer9

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    Thank you so much for your feedback, I appreciate it. I'm glad you reminded me that I am not the first person quit working in a lab. I will try to stop fixating on this (which as you must know is difficult as a type A, pre-med worrier).
     
  10. URHere

    Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

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    The negative letter scenario isn't very likely. However, if you do end up interviewing somewhere during this cycle, and the topic of research comes up, I wouldn't be surprised if you are asked about why you switched from one lab to another after such a short stay.

    If this happens, you need to be able to describe your situation in a way that doesn't blame your current PI for the situation. For example, it would be alright to mention that you were better able to meet your research goals, feed your curiosity, whatever, at your new lab - but you really shouldn't talk about how your old PI was unprofessional or mean. The fact of the matter is that you will come across this personality type again and again, and at some point you will just have to suck it up and deal with it. You don't have to deal with it now (quit if you want to), but be careful with complaining about the situation.
     
  11. MeatTornado

    MeatTornado On Sabbatical
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    i would advise that you definitely quit and go to the other lab

    there is no reason you shouldn't take a better opportunity when it presents itself and noone will ever fault you for doing that. If you are asked about it just say that a better opportunity arose or that you were more interested in the research of the new lab. Very simple.

    This scenario of your PI sending out unsolicited letters is impossible. It would be completely unprofessional and unheard of.
     
  12. HumidBeing

    HumidBeing In Memory of Riley Jane
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    Your application and letters are already submitted? Follow the opportunity that you think you would most enjoy and be most productive! You are not tied to continuing with whatever you listed on your application as future intentions. If you do not make it in for this round, the new PI is another potential LOR writer for the next round. Plus, you feel that you will have more of an opportunity to contribute in the new lab, and have a better environment. You know what you want to do. What you want is the right choice.
     
  13. bka6827

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    I work at a med school now and I posed this question to a faculty member there a few weeks ago in conversation. He basically said that there is an "unwritten code" that prohibits screwing someone out of a position/ interview for personal reasons. I highly doubt your PI would do that.
     
  14. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    OP, I had a similar dilemma in my off year. I started a research job, wrote it on my AMCAS, and planned to stay there the year. After 3 months (in Sept), I had gotten sick of being yelled at for the most inane things and not being allowed to learn/do some things I would be told I'd get to do, so I found another research job I liked better...which brought me to the same dilemma. People on here advised me to switch jobs and I did, and I'm really glad I did. It was a much better year than it otherwise would have been, and I would recommend doing the same thing to you.

    The only thing is that it sometimes CAN come back to bite you. Later that same application season, I had an interview at a med school where I was asked by my interviewers about my research position (the one I listed on AMCAS), and I just told them that it didn't work out and I switched labs and now I'm doing X. No big deal, and the interviews went great. They went so well that I was a bit surprised to get put on hold/waitlist a few weeks later, until the secretary at my first research job (with whom I had become friends)sent me an email saying that the dean of that med school wanted to know from that PI the circumstances behind my leaving. It turns out that one of the faculty on their adcom knew my ex-PI, and they wanted to hear from him why I left (instead of just asking me for more details). That pissed me off big time. I'm guessing he didn't give the most positive of responses, and it left such a bad impression on me that I withdrew from the waitlist.

    That was a long story. All for me to make two points: 1) you should do whatever you want, especially if you think it'll make you happier, and 2) it MAY come back to bite you in some cases, but it's probably more likely that it won't hurt you at all. And if it does come back to bite you, hopefully you'll just end up in a school that's more right for you because of it. Best of luck.
     
  15. dreamer9

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    Thank you for your feedback. It's funny that your experience at your first job sounds exactly like what I'm experiencing, what are the odds that I'm working at the same place you did lol? Your story about the dean of admissions going to your ex-PI is my worst nightmare and for a profession where ethical considerations are very important, it's disappointing that the dean would do something like that. Anyway, it seems that everything turned out well for you since you're at Duke, so I'm going to try my best to stay positive and hopefully things will work out for me as well. Thanks for sharing you story though, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has faced this dilemma.
     
    #14 dreamer9, Dec 7, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  16. dreamer9

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    Thanks! Yeah, I was hoping that it wouldn't be a factor since considering a former PI's unsolicitied feedback would be highly unethical.
     
  17. dreamer9

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    Yeah you're right, situations change and better opportunities come around. I just hope med schools realize that I changed jobs to pursue something where I would really learn something as well as contribute something instead of being some slave who gets bitched at for everything.
     
  18. dreamer9

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    Yes, my thoughts exactly. This new project has way more character. It's all a matter of spinning the situation and making sure that I convey that my interests were better suited to this new opportunity blah blah. I've dealt with many types like this and in the past I have just sucked it up, but I'm not going to this time b/c this I received this new opportunity out of the blue. Hopefully it's a sign that I'm making the right decision.
     
  19. dreamer9

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    By the way, would you mind telling me how you went about quitting your 1st job? I have a few ideas, but it would really help to hear about this from someone who had a similar experience. Thanks :)
     
  20. dreamer9

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  21. dreamer9

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    Thank you for the great advice! You are absolutely correct, I need to stop making myself sick over everything.

     
  22. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    Sure. So I first made sure I had the other job (that's obviously important because you don't want to be sans job) and told them I had to first give my obligatory 2 weeks notice. My old job had a main PI who was out of town so much that we didn't really interact very often and a secondary psuedo-PI who was the one I saw every day and couldn't stand. My main PI was out of town when I decided to quit, so I sat down in the other guy's office and just told him it "wasn't working out." I explained that the job wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but thanks for your help and I'll be leaving in 2 weeks. Then, I emailed my main PI and explained the situation in more depth (I told him about some of the occurrences between me and the other guy that I felt weren't necessarily called for) and also explained that I was under the impression that I would be getting to do some things that I wasn't. Then I thanked him. He met with me once before I quit for good and that was that.

    The biggest thing I would advise you to do is to leave on good terms. As much as you may want to bitch out someone who has caused you a lot of grief, don't do it. The phrase "not working out" helped me avoid going into more detail :). But seriously, don't stress too much over it...it's a very nervewracking thing to do, but it's over in less than 5 minutes and you'll feel so relieved.
     
  23. dreamer9

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    So breaking the news to them via e-mail is probably a no no, right? I was thinking about telling them via e-mail first b/c I'm anticipating that they will want to talk to me in person.
     
  24. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers
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    I believe this is something that should be done in person, as much as it sucks. It's kind of like dating...you may not have gotten along with that person for a while and you may already be interested in someone else, but you still owe them the "it's not you, it's me" talk.
     
  25. iheartsnow

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    I had a similar situation to this and I'm currently applying. I had a job at a top med school research lab, but the PI was a jerk, the post-docs fought all the time and dragged me into it, the pay wasn't enough, AND the stuff I got to do in the lab was boring. After talking to the PI about some of these issues (particularly the fact that my job was boring and I wasnt getting the experience I was promised when I interviewed) and realizing nothing would change, I decided to get a new job. I ended up leaving the bad lab job in May and going to a lab at a different med school (again, another excellent school). As far as I can tell, it has not had an adverse effect (although I still haven't had any med school acceptances, but I don't think that's the reason). When I'm asked, I just make the answer brief: I wasn't getting the experience I wanted and my new job is so awesome for x, y, and z reasons. I did not get an LOR from my former PI, so that might look a little shady. But I'm a lot happier. It's really silly to be unhappy for months of your life because of how it will look to med schools. It's not like you're quitting so you can go work at Starbucks. I really think it will be a non-issue. Good luck.
     

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