I like to think that I’m pretty good at working independently. I don’t usually need much supervision or someone to tell me to get to work or what to do. I like figuring things out myself. I have no problem asking questions and look for help whenever I see that battling an issue any further by myself isn’t productive.
That is one of the reasons why I loved my last project I spent more than 3 years working on. It started as a summer internship to try to replicate some published results using a technique nobody at the lab tried before and quite different from what everyone was doing, thus, nobody really knew how to help me and I was pretty much left to figure it all out by myself. My supervisors weren’t the type who were breathing down my neck, it was closer to ‘my door is always open but I’m not often here’ type of supervision (they made up for it in other ways). Not that I was complaining. Although it could have been scary, the folks at the lab were very nice and always helpful – there was always someone with whom I could discuss things, show me how to do stuff and help me come up with practical solutions. I would mostly only go to my supervisors when I had some nice(ish) results to share and get a ‘good job’ from them.
However, after changing labs a few months ago, I’ve been feeling somewhat different. The style of supervision is pretty similar to what I’m used to and I still like it, but for some reason I’ve also been feeling in more need of encouragement than before. I don’t know exactly why but I’ve been feeling that I’m not working enough/getting enough results. I mean, part of the reason is, of course, that I have been somewhat relaxed compared to the time when Master’s deadlines were pushing me, but that was one intense year. For the rest of it, I really don’t know. I keep working and kind of hoping it passes, but for now I’m really grateful for unexpected positive feedback I get from time to time from my supervisors even when I haven’t presented any new data (a recent comment made me think and come up with this post).
Feeling rather introspective,