Advising - in hindsight
I think I got little and poor direction during my PhD and in my acknowledgements I wrote only a subtle compliment for the two people who had been co-advising me for four and a half years. I still believe lack of direction was directly contributing my delay in finishing and financial frustrations related to this delay. It took well over a year before the anger towards a difficult process and a system allowing this to happen subsided, and I'm surprised to find that I don't resent that phase of my life anymore. So why open this can of worms once more?
Almost two years have passed since I defended and I haven't been dependent of my former advisers for as much time. I started in my current job immediately after the defense and moved away from grad school city. I have kept in sporadic contact with both former advisor and keep a friendly relationship with them that fits the level of contact we have now. But I sometimes regret I didn't thank them profoundly in my acknowledgements for my dissertation, because truth to be told, I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am today, if I hadn't come across these particular people.
They did not fulfill what I consider to be basic requirements of practical help especially at the beginning of the research and writing phase, but they did make a difference in a, for me, significant way. They saw my potential, picked me out of the crowd and made me do my best. Some people have the self-confidence to stand up for themselves and ask to be given opportunites at an early age, but I didn't, and I wouldn't have gone into academia or into an interdisciplinary field or been able to make notice of myself without this initial motivation and introduction.
As much as I think former advisor #1 wore me out for a long time, because she didn't realize her perfectionist tendencies and mine put together would make me work till I dropped, she also recognized a potential that I had no idea I had. As much as I resented the flailing ideas of my interdisciplinary project and the lack of overview from advisor #2, I think his vision was right, and that my combined background gives me something unique to bring to the table now. I also know that if advisor #1 hadn't recommended me to advisor #2 and he hadn't introduced me to his network of colleagues I would not have held any of the positions I have held since the end of my PhD.
I still think proper advising during the PhD should be a minimum requirement, and I'm talking about actually getting involved in the project and assisting in navigating the process. I didn't get that and I hope I will be better on that front for my students, but I still think my advisers should at least have gotten a thank you note for getting me where I am today.