I need to take responsibility for my actions. I need to take responsibility for my actions. There was a behavioral incident. I harassed him. He doesn't want to speak to me anymore.

I will mention that recently I was diagnosed a year ago with both autism and borderline personality disorder (BPD). It doesn't excuse anything. This isn't even the first time this has happened in my life. It's terrible. I've lost so many jobs at this point. There have been so many behavioral and conduct issues with everyone and everything. I'm 28 years old. I'm not a kid anymore. One previous supervisor called me a terrible employee when he fired me. Yea, I have a therapist and professional support. But I'm so legitimately terrified now about everything. I feel like I should just go start over and work at McDonald's.

How do I explain this to future employers? What should I do? Does it matter? Does any of it really matter? No sane person makes issues like this in life. This isn't about some academic issue. It seems like it's just much deeper in who I am as a person. I'm speaking with the department about the best ways to move forward.

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    General advice: Don't make any big, committal decisions while you're in an emotional state of mind like this. Breathe deeply, take things slowly. First understand yourself. Have a clear understanding of what you did, and why it was wrong. Talk with people. Friends, others in the department, etc. You're clearly having a lot of complex emotions right now, and that's going to take time to work through. Give yourself that time.
    – isaacg
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 21:01
  • Yes, thank you @isaacg . It's just so difficult . I have support with therapists and professionals. Unfortunatley, in my life, compulsively messaging and harassing people has been a big issue for the past several years. Commented May 9, 2023 at 21:29
  • Please clarify your specific academic problem or highlight exactly what you need from academic viewpoint. ... You wrote "This isn't about some academic issue." Commented May 9, 2023 at 21:41
  • I'll clarify that this is about what's best to do in moving forward from a professional perspective in the case of future employers inquiring about what happened. Commented May 9, 2023 at 21:47
  • Sorry to hear of your difficulties. As you say, "this isn't about some academic issue," and so it's not really something we as the Academia site can really help with. As for dealing with future employers, I recommend checking out our sister site, The Workplace. They have many similar questions in their archives, such as this one.
    – cag51
    Commented May 10, 2023 at 7:47

1 Answer 1


TIP: Obviously, you need professional medical help. However, for purposes of this site, I can tell you that if you can find a remote job, such as software engineering or even answering phones, there is much less stress. That said, it may be hard with your current track record but start small, maybe part-time or even volunteer. If you have a circle of friends that can help, it'd be a great place to start.

  • 1
    Thanks. One thing I should mention is that I took a leave of absence last year (2022). During this time off, I did some volunteer research under another professor at another university, and he said he'd be willing to serve as a reference. This means I may be able to avoid mentioning the PhD supervisor who no longer wants to speak to me. Commented May 9, 2023 at 22:11

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