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I am new to a small team (4-5 people) at a research group. Naturally, I depend on others showing me how many things work at the office (it is my first experience working at a university after all).

However, the professor as well as most of my colleagues decided to work from home (which means I am usually alone at the office). Sometimes, one of the other PhD students is around. However, since the professor is not at the office, he uses the time to do private business and trade cryptocurrency in the research lab. This side business is a business he founded with his friends; it is not related to our research. Usually I would not mind, since it is none of my business, but it bothers me for two reasons:

  1. Actually, since I am new to the working group, I would expect him to explain to me the state of his research and how the methods that he uses work, so that we can collaborate (we share some projects together and, after all, I think this is what a working group is for)
  2. This student is paid by the tax money of my fellow citizens. And he uses the infrastructure (office, building, etc.) to conduct his own business. I think this is not fair.

Also, when I try to have some scientific discussions he blocks it off as he is either busy with his own research or with his side business.

I don't want to be the one who goes to the professor and tells her what other students are doing. However, I want a working atmosphere where people actually do research and not private business. Also, I really don't want to dictate other PhD students what to do with their time. Is there any good way to handle this?


The answers until now suggest that it is only something between the student and the professor. But I disagree. Scientific work has always been done together. It cannot be expected from newcomers to exactly know how to do specific scientific research if no one ever showed them how to do it. (And being a student and being a PhD student are still two different things.) Usually in labs you are being taught how the simplest microscope works. Why should it be different with methods that work solely on a computer?

In many books and dissertations the authors thank their coworkers and supervisors for 'fruitful discussions'. And also if those words are often spoken out of politeness, I'd say it is one of the main pillars of scientific research. As one professor recently said in an interview (here: 34:30):

Unfortunately, it is often forgotten that science is a social endeavour. Because often people think of the big intellectuals when they think about science, who sit at their desk and crank out their monographs [...]. However, this is only a part of what it means to do science, but which of course in the public opinion replaces (German: übertünchen) what science really is. Namely, a cooperative undertaking."

"Wissenschaft ist eine soziale Praxis. Das wird leider sehr oft vergessen, weil oft denkt man bei Wissenschaft an die großen Intellektuellen in ihren Schreibstuben, die irgendwelche Monographien raushauen alle paar Jahre. Das ist wirklich nur ein Randsegment der Wissenschaft, das aber natürlich in der öffentlichen Wahrnehmung übertüncht was eigentlich die wissenschaftliche Praxis ist. Das ist ein kooperatives Unternehmen."

When it is not written on other publications, monographs, etc. it is because it is taken for granted.

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  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Academia Meta, or in Academia Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – cag51
    Commented May 28 at 18:26
  • 4
    Your edit seems like more of an answer than an edit; consider posting it as such (self-answering your own question is perfectly okay). Also: did the professor assign this student as your mentor or partner? If not, I'm having trouble understanding why you are focusing your outrage on them, rather than on the others who don't even set foot in the building.
    – cag51
    Commented May 28 at 18:28
  • @cag51 The student made calculations and simulations in the last 2-3 years which I shall use in my PhD work. During the team meetings I said it would be nice to meet as a group, but this suggestion was ignored multiple times. I even had a meeting with the HR department and my supervisor where I said the same. The reaction was that HR asked me why I am still at the university if I didn't like it (they basically asked me to leave).
    – Tho Re
    Commented May 28 at 19:00
  • What country? In the US, PhD students aren't usually paid or treated as full-time employee with set working hours, and they're often charged student fees to pay for those facilities you mentioned (building, internet, etc). Policing their activity during "working hours" is not your place. However, their research likely belongs to the professor or the university, and you should be able to access it. Sometimes more senior lab members are tasked with training newer ones, but not always. If that's something you feel you need, you could raise that specific question with the professor.
    – MikeyC
    Commented May 29 at 15:19
  • We are being paid and we have working contracts. And as I see it we earn quite well compared to the average income in the country we live in (of course that's subjective kind of). I also think we earn more than the average PhD student elsewhere as our professor is really interested in having us not worrying about money during our PhD time.
    – Tho Re
    Commented May 29 at 16:07

13 Answers 13

113

since it is none of my business

It's none of your business. Leave it alone.

I would expect him to explain to me the state of his research and how the methods work

Are you asking questions? If not, ask questions. If you need help, ask for help. If you're unable to get the help you need, that is something that is your business and worth raising with your professor.

If the other student is not making progress on their research, this will be evident to the professor over time. Perhaps they're putting in more productive hours at other times of the day, on weekends, etc. In any event, it's not necessary to police "time on task" during standard business hours to track progress, and if the student falls behind it's ultimately their own research that suffers. It's not your business.

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    +1 Indeed, it's between the other student and their professor. Commented May 26 at 15:43
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    +1. And might add, as you said youre new to the group, there can be many reasons a colleague behaves like that, including personal problems. Be nice. Commented May 26 at 18:04
  • 11
    This. I would add that, if I were the professor and you came complain about it to me, I would tell you to mind your own business, even though I would also talk to the other student.
    – fmath
    Commented May 27 at 5:45
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    @toby544 It's not reasonable for OP to expect to be helped without asking questions or asking for help.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented May 28 at 14:06
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    @ThoRe The more you stick to this argument, the more you convince me that you are likely the bigger problem here than your colleague. I've said all I can say. I'm trying to help you, but if you're just here looking for someone to support "your side" you've come to the wrong place. Ask questions here when you plan to use the answers, not when you already know the answer you want.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented May 29 at 13:44
63

It is absolutely not your business how other people use their time. The other PhD student owes you absolutely nothing. They're not your advisor, nor are you entitled to their time, or entitled to get any of your questions answered— they're not your babysitter, they're not paid to teach you, and they're certainly not paid to work on any specific time schedule. Academic research isn't a job where you clock in and clock out according to a schedule— it has flexibility, and people use that.

Stop focusing on spying on other people and start focusing on getting results yourself.

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    +1 To this. I once had a new PhD student track me down on my lunch break to ask questions (because I asked not to be interrupted during work before a deadline- but clearly I wasn't working during lunch!). They burned through the groups' collective goodwill pretty fast with similar stunts. Commented May 26 at 20:24
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    @ThoRe You have to gauge the style of work. There are very collaborative groups and groups where people are more independent. Maybe the research culture of the group does not suit you. That can happen. But you do not get to dictate your desired culture onto a group you just joined. Commented May 26 at 23:59
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    @ThoRe You have so far rejected all advice on how to communicate and collaborate with your colleagues, and while none of us witnessed your interactions with the group, it doesn't speak well for the case you're making.
    – Passer By
    Commented May 27 at 3:29
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    @ThoRe You give arguments why it would be nice if the other PhD student acted differently. And you're probably right about this. But this doesn't mean that you have any right to this. They are not like this and you've got to accept that. Commented May 27 at 9:47
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    @ThoRe As I say - ask your PI for help. They can decide what the best way forward is. You do not get a say in how people are to help you - maybe the person in the lab is the wrong one to do so. Just because they happen to share the office with you, they do not become your go-to address. Respect their working style. Commented May 27 at 15:45
41

"I want a working atmosphere" - Covid has done a lot of damage to the tradition of sitting together and sweating together. Some people are more productive at home, others less so. And this also changed the social pressure of mutual "supervision". Results have become more important than "being seen to be doing work", or, in short "busywork".

You have no idea how productive your fellow student is. Some people do in two days what others need weeks for (definitely not an exaggeration, especially in theoretical/programming fields!). As a prof, I would give such people as much leeway as I can muster.

In short, it is not your business to interfere in. If you need something concrete from them, ask. If you do not get the suitable support, ask your supervisor; they are paid to solve this.

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    I think this is an important point not mentioned in the other answers. But I think we lost much more than just "sitting and sweating" together. A lot of upcoming PhD students who now prefer to work from home don't even have a baseline of working from a bustling, collaborative lab, as they never had the opportunity. I think the saddest consequence is that indeed some people now need weeks for tasks their labmates could've thought them in a matter of days.
    – penelope
    Commented May 29 at 12:25
  • @penelope I guess in 30 years or so from today, the powers that be will realize that. Management fads are more tenacious than bedbugs. Commented May 30 at 12:07
36

I understand and agree all the other answers, but I want to add the following: it sounds as if your expectations of the lab/working environment do not match with reality. And, going by what you write, it is implied that maybe you are not as successful/productive as you can be because you don’t have as much interaction as you’d expected. Now these things are something you can discuss with your supervisor, but then make sure you have your talking points straight. And from what I gather they are: you miss support and supervision. What is the best way forward? Maybe your supervisor expects you to find out more stuff independently. Maybe they never told the other student to help you here and there. The point is, you don’t know. So approach the conversation from this angle, about your progress and your output and happiness at work. Then listen very carefully to what you cl get back and ask yourself if you can prosper in the reality of this particular work place.

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    On the topic of expectations, it's worth thinking about what collaboration looks like in academia. Most of it is asynchronous with occasional meet-ups. It seems pretty common to meet with a supervisor for an hour every week or two. Maybe hold a lab meeting for an hour once per week. Maybe chat with a colleague about a (very) active collaboration a couple times per week over coffee and have an occasional longer meeting every few weeks to talk through different stages. Asynchronously co-work on a manuscript leaving notes for one another. We work alone the rest of the time. Commented May 27 at 4:46
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    I feel this is the best answer. OP is focusing on the wrong problem - what their co-worker does or does not do while in office is not their issue, their issue is that they are expecting a vibrant lab culture whereas this group is either completely decoupled or used to pure remote collaboration. It's quite frankly not the other student's job to be the sole trainer of OP just because they are the only ones in office. This is something to bring up with the advisor, not what the other student is doing.
    – xLeitix
    Commented May 27 at 8:56
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Partly the answer to this is going to depend on what country you are in, because the legal and social status of a PhD student is quite different in different countries.

In some countries (notably many mainland European counties), a PhD student is an employee. Probably they have designated hours when they are "on the clock", and a set of written down duties, which may or may not included helping more junior members of the lab. In this case, working on another business during office hours and failing to meet ones own duties is a breach of this contract.

However, in most places a student is not an employee, they are a student. In fact, legally speaking, the student is employing the professor to provide skills and training. The professor may only agree to provide these under certain conditions, but that is between the professor and the student, unless the student is being actively abusive to another indevidual. Certainly the student may do whatever work they like whenever they like, unless told otherwise. Look at it this way - if they decided to work from home like everyone else, you'd be in an even worse place.

Now, that is the official position. These are the responsibilities people must observe. That does mean that this is the optimal situation. A well functioning research team should be a collegial and collaborative place. But you can't legislate for it, it can only occur through long cultivation of the right culture.

So what can you do? Ignore the people telling you to be self sufficient. If you are in a lab setting, such self-sufficiency is often more or less impossible. The only person who definitely has any official responsibilities to you is your supervisor. Go to them. Say "I need help doing X", "things are going okay, but it is slow going because i can't find anything in the lab" . If they say "ask Y to help you", then, any only then can you say "I asked Y, but they didn't want to help me" or maybe even "they said they were too busy doing Z to help me" if you are pushed.

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    Even in countries where the PhD student is an employee, they have flexibility and don't work by the clock. I work as a researcher in one of these countries and this is in my work contract. We have minimum amount of hours per week, but there is no such thing as designated hours to be "on the clock". Advising colleagues is, of course, encouraged in our department.
    – The Doctor
    Commented May 27 at 8:32
  • 3
    Contracts where we are have core hour and flexible hours this generally means you can choose your own hours, but these are expected to include 10-4. It's not particularly enforced, and would probably only be called upon if an employee was not performing. Commented May 27 at 9:31
  • 1
    I know. I don't have core hours on my research contract and I doubt the phd students have it. Now I see that my comment sounded stronger than I intended, I didn't want to generalize, just sharing my experience in Norway. Sorry!
    – The Doctor
    Commented May 27 at 9:37
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    Some German research institute I know has moved away from core working hours per employee and now has core functional hours: hours in which a department or group has to have someone (typically not a PhD student) whom one can contact. OTOH (long ago, some other university) I've had employments contracts stating core hours that were not legally compatible with the assigned teaching tasks - and teaching the assigned practica had priority. Commented May 27 at 10:00
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    I work at a UK university, my contracts says I need to work 1650 h a year and that's about it. Of course most meetings are scheduled during core work hours and I am expected to attend, plus I am middle aged, but if the weekly meetings with the supervisor/remote collaborators is the only time a PhD students sees daylight, that is OK as long as everything else works. Commented May 28 at 9:47
12

Let me state firstly that I completely do not want to take the side of someone like your colleague. But I get a feeling that you're being a bit too hasty with wanting to complain. Your motivations are from a perspective of academic integrity which is admirable in isolation.

But consider that you would be injecting yourself into a matter completely between the other student and the supervisor. You can't possibly know the whole picture when you complain - resulting in possibly serious repercussions for your colleague, who could possibly be fulfilling all the demands of your supervisor till your complaint.

Also, when I try to have some scientific discussions he blocks it

This is the only thing you can reasonably complain about, if and only if it's his responsibility to show you the ropes of how things work in the lab. If it isn't, it's your supervisor's responsibility to figure out that their funding is being used irresponsibly.

However, I want a working atmosphere where people actually do research

But if their output is sufficient according to the supervisor, it's not their responsibility to give you one. It's frustrating but it's ultimately not something they care about, and it falls on the supervisor and not you to deal with it during hiring and contract negotiations.

9

By this post, as well as your other posts and comments, it seems you have a very specific idea in mind of what the PhD/academic experience should be.

I will tell you as I had to tell my young children on the playground, while it would be nice if they did, other kids have no obligation to play with you or share their toys. In the same way, forcing your senior colleagues to interact with you will not foster a sense of comradery, it will likely (as may already be happening) annoy them and lead to further avoidance.

Because you have placed such high value on this aspect, you should seek out a different research group with a dynamic that meets your expectations. The warning I would issue with that approach is that the group dynamic is often a function of the members, so while you may join a group that suits your needs at the time, the dynamic may change as more senior members leave and newer ones join. Though presumably as you become a more senior member, you can become more proactive in setting the tone for day-to-day activities.

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    @ThoRe metaphor: "a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable"; "a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract"
    – R1NaNo
    Commented May 27 at 16:50
  • 1
    The research group dynamic is the sole responsibility of the PI, not any self-appointed "senior" member. Those members trying to subtly/overtly vary it have no authority to do so.
    – Trunk
    Commented May 27 at 17:07
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    @Trunk the group dynamic is a function of the members. The PI sets expectations but cannot dictate to a group member to be more outgoing or to befriend anyone. The PI can foster an environment where certain behavior is encouraged, but outside of punishing behavior that is strictly forbidden (e.g. discrimination), they cannot enforce beyond that. It seems the OP would like a more collegial and collaborative environment and what he got was a group of self-motivated introverts.
    – R1NaNo
    Commented May 27 at 17:24
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    @ThoRe "not the primary duty of the other PhD student", it is likely not any nth level of duty of the other PhD student unless they were instructed by the advisor directly to do so as long as it falls within the allowable guidelines of expectations of that University. Additionally, you cannot force people to talk science, or even talk to you at all in the working environment beyond specific times/requirements where they would need to do so, e.g. seminar, group meetings, defense, questions about safety, etc... Ultimately you need to talk to your advisor about having your training needs met.
    – R1NaNo
    Commented May 27 at 17:29
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    @ThoRe "Training will be provided" - if these are the words in your contract, and you insist on them being literally enacted, do ask your PI. It's their job. Not the other student's. Frankly, it seems you are in the wrong group for your tastes. Commented May 28 at 10:35
5

I will only address this aspect of your question (which the other answers have mostly ignored), that this other student is using their time at the office to work on "private business"

Depending on the local culture and policies (i.e. of the group, institute, university, or country), this can range from totally acceptable to totally unacceptable. In general, academia is quite relaxed on these matters, emphasizing results rather than working hours. This is especially true in the US, which explains the perspective of the other answers here.

But not everywhere is so informal. For example, in industry, "private business" during working hours is usually banned. Indeed, using your work time and the company computer to do work for another company or your own startup idea, is usually grounds for being fired. Academic jobs in some places (e.g. Europe) tend to have more formal working contracts, like those in industry (although the extent to which people actually take this seriously depends heavily on the particular institute or research group).

If you seriously suspect that this student is doing something inappropriate, and that your supervisor does not already know about it, then you can politely mention this to your supervisor, and let them handle it.

I stress that this has nothing to do with the "working environment" aspect of your question, to which I defer to the other answers. But if you genuinely believe this other student is doing something wrong or illegal, then just report it.

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    You should warn OP that if it turns out not to be illegal or they have simply a different day cycle (yes, some people prefer to do research at night where nobody disturbs them), they could get a stain they will not get rid of. They should be better very sure that they are not missing something from the picture. Of course, if the other person is outright doing criminal things, this is a different story. Commented May 27 at 14:01
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In a PhD program, self-sufficiency is not just expected. It is essential. If you cannot independently manage your research, learn new techniques on your own, and drive your projects forward without constant supervision, then a PhD is not for you. Relying on another student, who is also navigating their own challenges, is unrealistic and unfair. This program demands a high level of autonomy, resilience, and self-motivation. If you find yourself struggling to meet these demands, it may be a clear indication that you are not suited for the rigorous and independent nature of PhD studies. Pursuing a PhD requires a relentless drive and the ability to overcome obstacles on your own. If you are not prepared to meet these standards, it is best to reconsider your path.

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  • Yes. That is what professors also tell me a lot. However, I have a working contract. For me, such a contract implies that I have certain responsibilities but also certain rights. Responsibilities include that I finish my work in the given amount of time (in this case 3 years). But as in every good company I should get the suitable training so that I am actually capable of doing my job. And if there is no training, at least having someone to ask questions to should be the bare minimum. Why else should I be at the university?
    – Tho Re
    Commented May 27 at 14:11
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    @ThoRe Your advisor has a responsibility to offer you guidance. A PhD is still quite self-driven. What are you doing to drive your own work? As I've prompted you before: are you asking questions when you need training? If not, you're failing your own job.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented May 27 at 20:27
  • @ThoRe You can turn that around. Why should a company employ you if you require so much training? If things are so easy that they can be trained then someone could spend that same time programming a computer to do the task, and the computer will be cheaper to employ than you. The only sane reason to employ humans is when the largest part of the job can't be trained. Commented May 28 at 21:36
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I would expect your university, like all universities, has a code of conduct, check with your HR or graduate service office about your code of conduct and policies regarding private consulting, part-time work for PhD, and using University resources for private business, it should be very clear this trading crypto on University time and devices is in preach of Policy or Code of conduct. At my university PhD students are basically treated as staff and this would be a breach of the code of conduct without a doubt!

Also, ask yourself, what is your legal liability? Is the crypto trading they are conducting even legal in your country? Are you liable or in breach of policy for not reporting a colleague for conducting illegal activities utilising University resources?

In regards to the collaborative working culture (or lack of) in your lab, I would recommend leaving ASAP. You sound like you are very interested in learning and research, so I recommend finding a lab with a collaborative supportive culture, and do you due diligence in finding such a lab, and don't join unless there is evidence of an environment and culture you value.

Also, if you are in an industry that has a high employment rate, skip the PhD and move into industry, 3 years experience in industry is worth more than a PhD in many industries.

If you have your heart set on being an academic, good luck! but I'd skip it, after doing a PhD and working for 10 years I have realised it was totally pointless, as the real work and innovation happens in industry.

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    Thank you for your kind answer. Like all universities we have a code of conduct. But (also probably similar to all universities) no one really cares as long as HR is not around. And as a PhD student I don't see it as my role to play the 'department police' at the institute. At least not to employees who have the same or higher position. Thank you again, for your kind suggestion to look out for other groups whose dynamics may suit me more.
    – Tho Re
    Commented May 29 at 12:59
  • @ThoRe "Look out for other groups" is what the majority of responses have told you in various ways. Do note that many places have moved to "work from home", though, sadly, so check the place out ahead of time. Commented May 30 at 12:09
  • @ThoRe If you think someone in your department is doing something wrong, possibly illegal, shouldn't you at least check with a superior to alleviate your liability. It also raises some ethical and integrity issues for you, as a researcher all you have is your integrity and once compromised, your research will always be questioned. Ask yourself, where do you draw the line? how much wrongdoing or questionable activity will you witness until you are prepared to suffer the discomfort of taking action? Would you even press the fire alarm if there was a fire? What's your integrity worth? Commented Jun 5 at 7:39
0

I agree that a student using university lab facilities for private business is unacceptable - unless of course they have prior approval from the PI to do so. I agree also with your observation that your colleague is already paid (albeit not as much as in industry) via the taxpayers to do his research work.

This is the nub of the matter: does your colleague have the approval of the supervising professor to use departmental research facilities in the manner that they do ? What people generally do in this type of situation is to run the matter by the manager (here, your supervisor) and see how they react. A viable scenario for dropping this hint to your supervising professor was outlined by Ian Sudbury in his answer above.

The last thing I want to do here is blunt your moral sensibility vis-à-vis honesty in the use of time and university resources by researchers: sadly, few academics possess such a virtue.

Yet I have to advise you - from bitter personal experience - that academia is a human environment where self-centredness and self-promotion usually get the better of duty and fairness. Those of us who have a strong, perhaps overriding, sense of right and wrong will always feel disturbed by this aspect of academia - at least when it occurs in our department and especially in our research group. It is an area for which universities nominally possess the management instruments to control but for internal political and competency reasons find themselves unable or unwilling to do so.

If you want a career in academia you will be facing this again in future. If you do not want to have to deal with this, it's likely that academia would be a poor career choice for you.

After running the situation by your supervisor, you have two scenarios.

  1. The supervisor limits or stops your colleague's infidelity to his research work and the colleague continues (sulkily as his income is now substantially reduced) to work in the lab beside you.

  2. The supervisor refuses to restrict your colleague or vaguefies upon the matter of your colleague's infidelity.

In the first case, you may have an enemy beside you all day if the professor continues to work from home.

In the second case, you have to work hard and without support from your colleague.

I appreciate that you justly feel that having worked hard to arrive where you are that you are a victim of a great unfairness and inconvenience if your professor gave you to understand that support from colleagues would be there but it is not available.

It might well be that you find it easier and more tolerable to seek to do your PhD elsewhere. Liberal arts colleges often have a more supportive human environment. You must realize of course that in such colleges you yourself will be expected to provide support to younger PhD candidates as you advance along your own program.

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    You are aware that the "private lab facilities" in this case are literally just the "desk, building, internet connection, etc." as per OP's comment? Commented May 27 at 11:02
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    I understand it is access to that department's computer and software facilities and OP's colleague's use of them plus use of his research grant funded time at other matters that is at the heart of the matter. There is doubt on the extent of the colleague's obligation to provide guidance in the absence of the supervisor.
    – Trunk
    Commented May 27 at 11:06
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    He is a PhD student. "Grant funded time" is all the time he puts in when in the department barring meals and breaks. He is likely using university hardware, software, e.g. IDEs, commercial packages licensed to department, departmentally produced software. There is no automatic freedom to use any university amenity/facility for private business. He may of course have a private agreement with the supervising professor to do so - this is unknown from OP.
    – Trunk
    Commented May 27 at 11:34
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    "He is a PhD student. "Grant funded time" is all the time he puts in when in the department barring meals and breaks." that's absurd. If OP is in a German-speaking country as implied, they have a work contract for X hours/week. From hour X+1 on, they are free to do as they please. From your perspective, are students sitting and chatting also steeped in moral turpitude for doing their private business on campus? Commented May 27 at 12:09
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    @Trunk 60-70 hours a week? During my PhD I did at most 50h in very few exceptional weeks, but this is a stretch. My usual was 40h/week and finished it in 4.5 years.
    – The Doctor
    Commented May 27 at 20:04
0

I'm not sure whether or not I'm answering the question intended or a different question but most people have to schedule doctors appointments, do financial business, talk to insurance companies, other boring regular stuff, during business hours. They're not open after work. So officially it's not allowed but unofficially it's mandatory. Most people don't take a day off to schedule a doctors appointment. So if it's that kind of personal business, then yeah, of course it's done during work hours.

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    Of course. That's true. I also do it sometimes. What bothers me more, is that when we talk to each other (for example, if we go through some code together) he is constantly interupted by a call of some of his friends/wokring colleagues/family (I don't know as I don't speak his language), so that actually from an 1-hour meeting we effectively only work 20 minutes together. Not to mention that concentrated work is almost impossible when you are constantly interrupted. And that's the standard when working with him.
    – Tho Re
    Commented May 28 at 19:14
-1

You need to become more self-sufficient. If working here is truly unfeasible due to a lack of support from that individual, it's time to consider a different topic.

I feel like you come across as someone people tend to avoid, making it difficult for others to thrive because of your judgmental and self-righteous attitude.

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