I completed my MS in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and was planning to do an PhD in Operations Research. But after first few weeks in program , I decided it was not what I wanted to do in long term and dropped out.
There is a background to this- my untenured MS advisor refused to sponsor my PhD . Another well known professor in the department came forward and offered me a good stipend but I dropped out from his lab after couple of weeks.
Things had become too caustic even before I joined his lab. The PhD professor wanted me to help him with some algorithms in the final month of my MS, but my MS advisor shooed him multiple times saying that I was very busy, when in fact I was free all the time. My MS advisor wanted me to make her a co advisor and get her a piece of the tenured professor's project, it didn't work out and since then she has become pretty vengeful towards me. She rejected job offers from our research sponsors after MS saying I was doing PhD and was not interested in working for them.
I think at this point I have lot of ill will against me in my department mainly due to active efforts to undermine me by my MS advisor.
In my university ,we need to take around 30-40 credit hours of subjects and pass candidacy and continue the dissertation.
I am taking an completely different route to PhD. I am taking 9 credit hours every semester (full time course load is 6 credit hours) and at same time working full time as Data warehouse SW developer.
It's very strenuous(My long commute, job and courses and assignments occupy at least 17-18 hours of my day) but I am able to manage them and it's working pretty well as I get paid around 135K at my job.
Is this is an ideal approach until I finish my subjects and then see if any HCI lab in my department can take me in? Can I expect things to calm down in 2 years time.or what can i do right now to improve on this situation?
Or am I really hurting myself here. My concern at this point is after my candidacy, no lab will take me back because of no recent research work. By the way, I don't need to finalize an advisor for the dissertation right now, I can take candidacy exam in dept. by forming a temporary committee .
One advantage I may have is I will have enough money by that time to volunteer in a lab for around an year to prove my worth. But again I am afraid my MS advisor may actively sabotage any of those efforts. I have been afraid and tensed for past few days thinking about this.
Edit : I am from Midwest US