I recently, successfully defended my dissertation (2 months ago) and have been working as a postdoc in one of my committee member's lab since then.
My PhD advisor is a malicious person who enjoys being mean to those who can't fight back. I had, apparently foolishly, thought that leaving her lab would remove me as a target for her abuse. She told me many times during my studies that she would not let me pass my quals/defense. Fortunately, both only required a majority of my committee, not unanimous, to pass so I eventually tried not to worry about this. During my defense, she failed me, one committee member failed to show up due to a death in the family, and the other three members passed me and had very complimentary things to say about the quality of both my written and oral defense. I then went to work as a postdoc in the lab of a committee member who was actually helpful during my PhD, one of the three who passed me.
In the past week at my new job, new lab/building but at the same university, I have been told twice that my PhD adviser is telling people that I am a bad researcher and that I made a coworker in my PhD lab do all of my experiments for me.
This is categorically not true. In fact, the coworker who supposedly did all of my work is a friend who I know is not encouraging this story. We became friends when I trained her after she joined the lab. Additionally, multiple people (PhD students, lab techs, etc.) have come to me asking for help in several experimental planning matters that they have been unable to resolve on their own. So apparently, the PI/professor level at this school all think I am incompetent because of my PhD advisor while the students/techs all think I can help them resolve issues.
I hate this. I deeply regret joining my advisor's lab for my PhD, but not the PhD itself. I had thought I was finally free to develop a healthy mental state about my work and future career plans, but she has managed to once again undermine me. I am now beginning to regret even continuing on at this school. While the work I do now is great and I do enjoy it, I do not enjoy being bullied from afar by my former advisor.
As I see it, I have two options:
- ignore the PhD advisor who is actively trying to ruin my career and future prospects at this school while maintaining my own personal work ethic and hoping that people will see the truth...or
- try to fix my reputation among the professors, but this is highly problematic and may end up labeling me as a troublemaker or something
I see no "good way" out of this mess, but am leaning toward option 1. However, my partner is pushing me to start option 2.
What should I do?
Thank you in advance to everyone for your input.