I've recently started a PhD position in a university and I figured out that many aspects deject me. At the moment I'm employed in a test phase of a few months, and this has led me to think of leaving this position if it didn't fulfil me by then.
With that in mind,
- Is it ethical/professional/acceptable to ask my references for additional recommendation letters, again, for the new positions I'm going to apply to?
- Is a sign of lack of commitment and interest (and therefore, unprofessional)?
I appreciate your opinions.
PS: Even though I have accepted this position, it never was among my top choices. In fact, my decision was very much affected by the situation of COVID in my country and the market recession.
The main reasons unprofessionalism strikes my mind are the following. I hope it clarifies my situation more.
I'm in the very early days of my PhD, the transient phase so to speak. So any extrapolation of my current situation to the future isn't reliable. I'm afraid that I'm making my mind during this transition time, before adjusting myself or tasting the research as much as I should.
As far as I can feel, the non-academic aspects of my unhappiness outweigh the academic part; For instance, the cold environment of the campus and the city, the depressing atmosphere of the only accommodation I could find, as well as my flatmates (please look at PS2) who are desperately are looking for jobs in the wakes of the pandemic, all transfer a sense of stagnation to me. Although some of these issues can be solved, I believe they need an immense amount energy and time, probably comparable to the effort I need to put on my research.
I accepted this position with one vital side goal in mind, which (to be honest) is as important for me as the PhD degree if not more: learning the local language (until B1 level). Learning a new language is though, especially alongside a PhD. I know it needs extra focus and perseverance. But with all I have to face (summarized in the previous number), and knowing my personal mental capacity, I'm seriously sceptical about being able to achieve this.
I believe these are decent arguments on a personal level, but maybe not academically. I'm afraid that Academic institutes may find this chain of reasoning unsatisfactory, a set of excuses, or a sign of unreliability. As I'm barely a researcher at this point, I'd be grateful if you can shed more light on these arguments and resolve their (lack of) pertinence to the academic world to me, as an experienced outer observer.
PS2: My flatmates are good people. However, I'd rather like to be surrounded by people who are trying to push forward a meaningful protect with passion. That kind of people whose perseverance inspires others. And I'm not talking about superman; For me, any other PhD candidate is a good example of such a group.)