My current postdoc advisor is an expert in my research field. He is head of research center and has huge amount of experience in this field.

The poblem is, he is a bit whimsical. Sometimes he is happy in one day, but he become very unhappy the very next day when discussing exactly same topic. I think he is a... bit emotional. It is not always the case, but if it is his unhappy day, a meeting on that day 'usually' goes bad. If he is happy, usually the meeting flows in good mood.

As you may imagine, he changes his mind frequently, and sometimes he changes his words. Sometimes I wish if I could record his voice and listen together next time. He is old, and he is controlling numerous projects from a moderate sized research center, so he may forget about my work. He can forget, that is OK, but sometimes it makes me really sad, feels like he doesn't care about my work at all.

Oh, and he is really skeptical. Skeptical attitude as a scientist is a good in general, but I think sometimes he asks too much. I achieved the research target last summer, and presented in conference back in September. But from then, I couldn't publish this paper because he is keep asking for more validation and validation over and over. He is a very experienced researcher, so I respect his decision. But I never saw such amount of validation from other papers in this field... To me, it seems enough, but to him, it is not.

So, I'm really demoralized. It is just one year after joining this group, I didn't even have a chance to show my full potential to him. But as I lose morale and will to pursue, I'm also losing my interest in this topic. This influenced my productivity, and he is not that happy about me recently.

What should do? In general, what is the best way to deal with such a boss?

Does his behavior mean that he doesn't like me and my results, and he expresses it in such way? I really have no idea how to satisfy him and publish this work.

Also, I wish to find a new post-doc position, but he will not write a good recommendation letter for me, so I feel like I'm trapped in here. Should I still try to find a new post-doc position, without his recommendation letter? Is this possible?

  • Should I still try to find a new post-doc position, without his recommendation letter? Is this possible? This is a separate question, and it probably has been asked before on this site. Jan 4, 2019 at 8:14
  • "Oh, and he is really skeptical ............. more validation and validation over and over", that is exactly the description of my ex-PhD supervisor, and he is well recognized in the field, he also lies one day he said excellent work after couple of months he said I doubt the work and forcing me to leave without any reason, just he told after that you are independent which isn't true and blocked me from publication after one year of work, even after resignation, he met me a top-tier conference and was like a demon didn't want me to participate in the conference even after resignation........
    – user39171
    Jan 4, 2019 at 12:28
  • He told me " are you here to help yourself by yourself and find another position, laugh at me, continuing, I am so much appreciated in the field and you can imagine how this is disgusting, I wish I have never met him". So, all I can say based on your description, leave this professor as soon as possible, they will not write a good recommendation letter. Of course, you can find another postdoc with having his recommendation, you can find a good research scientist, professor in the same institute to write the reference letter.
    – user39171
    Jan 4, 2019 at 12:32
  • @henning Thank you, could you give me a link about that question?
    – exsonic01
    Jan 4, 2019 at 15:20
  • 1
    @Monika Thanks to share your experience. Yeah, it seems that I need to look for another position soon. I have at least 3 other people who could write a letter of recommendation so that should be good.
    – exsonic01
    Jan 4, 2019 at 15:23


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