After I completed my PhD program, during which I published one refereed paper, I applied for several academic positions. For a while, my two main thesis advisers agreed to write letters of recommendation, but after a few couple of years, one of them told me he would no longer recommend me because I had not published enough. He even admitted that it was not his job to judge my publication record -- potential employers could do that -- but until I published again, he wouldn't recommend me.
I do admit that I should have published more during my PhD program, but I was always under the impression that my publishing would begin after I had got a relevant job. During the period between graduation and being refused a recommendation, I'd been a consultant, a college teacher and unemployed. I could have published on my own but, after the delay, I felt hindered by being unemployed and rather "burned out" after the thesis writing process. Catch-22? Even more ironic is the fact that I had asked my thesis advisers if I could submit my thesis in the form of a series of published papers (this was allowed under the rules), instead of as an unpublished monograph, and both said no!
Don't thesis advisers have a duty to both encourage candidates to publish and to recommend them for academic positions? At the same time, is it right that universities expect job applicants to already have publications before they arrive? What could I have done, other than publish as an independent after the fact? It is hard not to feel very bitter about the whole PhD process.
Addendum Since it was not yet listed, I add How to handle not having my PhD advisor as a reference? is a related question.