During the PhD, we often instinctively find ourselves accommodating the needs of other people.

We might say yes to requests from our supervisors and superiors, we might go to all the conferences and events to which we’re invited, or we might go out of our way to be nice and to avoid ruffling any feathers.

But inside we might find ourselves conflicted.

We might secretly hate our supervisor and think their requests pointless, or we might find the conference incredibly dull.

Or, we might be incredibly angry on the inside and desperate (but unwilling or unable) to ruffle any feathers.

We might, in other words, find ourselves tired of being nice.

Living in this way is a source of internal conflict. We outwardly present as an eager, willing people-pleasure, but we do so begrudgingly and find our own feelings, needs, and values being compromised along the way.

But there is another way.

We could, when it counts, say no to our supervisor, or turn down the invitation.

We might even, heaven forbid, speak up for ourselves when we’re aggrieved knowing full well we’ll be ruffling feathers in the process.

We might do well, in other words, to learn the subtle art of being a bit of a pain. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Hello, Doctor…

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