This fellow is the guy who needs someone to state his/her qualities and to be vouched for.
The recommendation letter is redundant for people with high grade publications, whereas it is usually essential for people without them.
For a while, my two main thesis advisers agreed to write letters of recommendation, but after a few couple of years, one of them told me he would no longer recommend me because I had not published enough.
He even admitted that it was not his job to judge my publication record -- potential employers could do that -- but until I published again, he wouldn't recommend me.
Thesis advisors certainly have an obligation to help their former students within reason and to recommend them for appropriate positions.
An advisor who gives up too quickly on a student is an unsupportive jerk at best (and it's easy to think of much worse descriptions).On the other hand, nobody has an obligation to recommend a candidate they cannot honestly support.Telling someone that is really awkward, especially when it's their own student, but the alternatives are writing a dishonest letter or writing a letter that undermines the candidate's chances, neither of which is any better.Ultimately, I'd bet that publishing another paper or two is in your best interests, regardless of the situation with your advisor.I can understand that it's upsetting to feel forced into publishing on your own, with no job in your field and no guarantee of getting one in the future.If everyone gets a good recommendation, or even a recommendation as such, then the whole process would be useless, so everyone getting recommended is definitely not a reasonable goal.If an advisor sincerely believes that a candidate is weak, then the only ethical action is to give a clearly weak recommendation or no recommendation at all.It is hard not to feel very bitter about the whole Ph D process.Addendum Since it was not yet listed, I add How to handle not having my Ph D advisor as a reference? This is a tricky situation, and it's hard to interpret it without more information.If you publish your thesis results years later, this well help show that you are serious about getting back in the game.You will The only reason why recommendations exist is to discriminate potential candidates - to have some information that is correlated with the candidate being better or worse.