Technically chapters 1-3 should have been part of the proposal. Hence, if you just submitted a revised chapter 1 to your advisor, it means that just started. Even if you revised chapters 1-3 again and submit them to your advisor, you have not really made enough significant progress to warrant a letter of recommendation for a job. Simply put, your advisor is looking for a result chapter before she can feel confident that you are going to finish. This is in your control. If you were an advisor you would be looking for the completion of the same milestone. When you go out on the job market the hiring committee will be looking for the same milestone as well. Your advisor would not be doing her job if she let you apply for a job or postdoc without having seen a result chapter finished. When you go on the job market your job talk (presentation) has to be on the results of your dissertation. Without any real results the committee will not have any idea what you have to offer in terms of research expertise. If for some reason you got hired without completing your degree you will be paid an instructor’s salary until you complete your PhD. Most of the time, you will be expected to complete that degree within a year’s time. If you are struggling now to complete the degree without any other teaching responsibilities, how do you think things will be when you have to teach and finish your degree.
To finish your degree by May, you might consider using a conference deadline to force yourself to finish a results chapter. For example, if you are a sociologitst, the American Sociological Association (ASA) has a deadline of mid January for paper submission. Their website is www.asanet.org. Else, you can find your own professional association conference. Moreover, if you had the money or a good friend majoring in English or and ex-teacher, you might also consider hiring an editor to reduce the number of revisions that you might have to make on the writing.
Stop focusing on your friends who have a PhD but do not have a job. Your friends that don’t have a job, might be particular about what type a job they want. Yes, getting an academic job might be difficult at this time. However, Post-doctorate fellowships are a good alternative because they offer new graduates an opportunity to continue their research without having to worry about teaching, grading, severing on committees, etc.
That being said you want your advisor to write you a good recommendation. If your advisor is not enthusiastically endorsing your efforts to find a job or postdoc now , I would suggest holding off the applications until she gives you the go ahead otherwise she would write you a lukewarm evaluation because of the evidence she has seen thus far. You have the ability to change her mind by the actions you take. Complete some results, write them up, and then you can apply.
In sum, your advisor needs evidence (a result chapter) to truly believe that you will finish by May. Revisions of what you did in the proposal is not it. A hiring committee and your advisor cannot believe that you will be finished based on seeing chapters 1-3. They all need to see some hard core results. Think positive, that you will be able to find a job after your finish your PhD., but right now focus on getting some results to help you turn the corner.
If you really want to graduate by May, your behavior needs to match your goals. Below are some more Tips:
- Figure out the deadlines for graduation
- Figure how long you have to give your committee time to read the dissertation and work backwards
- Figure out when is the last date to defend & submit if you want to walk in graduation
- When do you have to order your regalia
- Do something every day to move your dissertation forward
- Create a list of dissertation related activities for when you are tired
- Create a list of dissertation related activities for when you are feeling productive
- Create outlines for each chapter
- Write introductions for each chapter
- Keep notes for your conclusion chapter
- Write even if the experiments are not done
- Hire an editor if you have to to minimize the revisions
- Find an accountability partner…create a blog if you have to
- Find creative ways to say ” No, I am working on my dissertation.”
- Create a vacation email that let your friends know you are working on your dissertation