Lessons to Learn

Mereka Cari Jalan, Bukan Cari Uang–by Prof. Rhenald Kasali,

Senin, 18 Mei 2015 | 05:00 WIB

KOMPAS.com — Duduk di depan saya dua perempuan muda. Mereka sarjana hukum lulusan UI. Wajah dan penampilannya dari kelas menengah, yang kalau dilihat dari luar punya kesempatan untuk “cepat kaya”, asal saja mereka mau bekerja di firma hukum papan atas yang sedang makmur, seperti impian sebagian kelas menengah yang memanjakan anak-anaknya.

Namun, keduanya memilih bergabung dalam satgas pemberantasan illegal fishing yang dipimpin aktivis senior Mas Achmad Santosa. Dari foto-foto yang ditayangkan presenter Najwa Shihab dalam program Mata Najwa, tampak mereka tengah menumpang sekoci kecil mendatangi kapal-kapal pencuri ikan. Dari Ambon, mereka menuju ke Tual, Benjina, dan pusat-pusat penangkapan ikan lainnya di Arafura.

Itu baru permulaan. Sebab, pencurian besar-besaran baru akan terjadi dua sampai tiga bulan ke depan. Mereka, para pencuri itu, datang dengan kapal yang lebih besar, bahkan mungkin dengan “tukang pukul” yang siap mendorong mereka ke laut menjadi mangsa ikan-ikan ganas.

Uang atau meaning?

Di luar sana, anak-anak muda lainnya setengah mati mencari kerja, ikut seleksi menjadi calon PNS, pegawai bank, konsultan IT, guru, dosen, dan seterusnya.

Seperti kebanyakan kaum muda lainnya, mereka semua didesak keluarga agar cepat mendapat pekerjaan, membantu keuangan keluarga, dan menikah pada waktunya. Cepat lulus dan dapat pekerjaan yang penghasilannya bagus.

Tak sedikit di antara mereka yang beruntung bertemu orang-orang hebat, dari perusahaan terkemuka, mendapatkan pelatihan di luar negeri, atau penempatan di kota-kota besar dunia.

Namun, semua itu akan berubah. Sebab, atasan yang menyenangkan tak selamanya duduk di sana. Kursi Anda bisa berpindah ke tangan orang lain. Kaum muda akan terus berdatangan dan ilmu-ilmu baru terus berkembang. Bulan madu karier pun akan berakhir. Mereka akan tampak tua di mata kaum muda yang belakangan hadir.

Sebagian dari mereka juga ada yang menjadi wirausaha. Tidak sedikit yang tersihir oleh kode-kode yang dikirim sejumlah orang tentang jurus-jurus cara cepat menjadi kaya raya. Bisa saja mereka berhasil meraih banyak hal begitu cepat. Namun, benarkah mereka berhasil selama-lamanya?

Pengalaman saya menemukan, orang-orang yang dulu begitu getol mencari uang kini justru tak mendapatkan uang. Pada usia menjelang pensiun, semakin banyak orang yang datang mengunjungi teman-teman lama sekadar untuk mendapatkan pinjaman. Sebagian lagi hanya bisa sharing senandung duka.

Kontrak rumah dan uang kuliah anak yang belum dibayar, pasangan yang pergi meninggalkan keluarga, dan serangan penyakit bertubi-tubi. Padahal, dulu mereka begitu getol mengejar gaji besar, berpindah-pindah kerja demi kenaikan pendapatan.

Saya ingin memberi tahu Anda nasihat yang pernah disampaikan  oleh Co-Founder Apple, Guy Kawasaki. Kepada kaum muda, ia pernah mengatakan begini:

“Kejarlah meaning. Jangan kejar karier demi uang. Sebab, kalau kalian kejar uang, kalian tidak dapat ‘meaning‘, dan akhirnya tak dapat uang juga. Kalau kalian kejar ‘meaning’, maka kalian akan mendapatkan position, dan tentu saja uang.”

Lantas apa itu meaning?

Meaning itulah yang sedang dikerjakan anak-anak perempuan tadi yang saya temui dalam tapping program televisi Mata Najwa edisi hari Kebangkitan Nasional tanggal 20 Mei beberapa hari ke depan, menjadi relawan dalam tim pemberantas illegal fishing.

Itu pulalah yang dulu dilakukan oleh para mahasiswa kedokteran di Stovia yang mendirikan Boedi Oetomo yang menandakan Kebangkitan Nasional Indonesia. Bahkan, itu pula yang dijalankan oleh seorang insinyur lulusan ITB yang merintis kemerdekaan Indonesia, Ir Soekarno. Itu pula yang dilakukan para CEO terkemuka saat mereka muda.

Di seluruh dunia, para pemimpin itu lahir dari kegigihannya membangun meaning, bukan mencari kerja biasa. Dalam kehidupan modern, itu pulalah jalan yang ditempuh para miliarder dunia. Mereka bukanlah pengejar uang, melainkan pengejar mimpi-mimpi indah, seperti yang diceritakan oleh banyak eksekutif Jerman yang dulu menghabiskan waktu berbulan-bulan kerja sosial di Afrika. “Tidak saya duga, apa yang saya lakukan 20 tahun lalu itulah yang diperhatikan pemegang saham,” ujar mereka.

Saya jadi ingat dengan beberapa orang yang mencari kerja di tempat saya, baik di UI maupun di berbagai aktivitas saya. Ada yang benar-benar realistis, datang dengan gagasan untuk membangun meaning, dan ada yang sudah tak sabaran mendapatkan gaji besar.

Kelompok yang pertama, sekarang bisa saya sebutkan mereka berada di mana saja. Sebagian sudah menjadi CEO, pemimpin pada berbagai organisasi, dan tentu saja wirausaha yang hebat atau PhD lulusan universitas terkemuka.

Namun, kelompok yang kedua, datang dengan tawaran yang tinggi. Ya, mereka menilai diri jauh lebih tinggi dari kemampuan mereka. Tak jarang ada yang diminta berhenti oleh keluarganya hanya beberapa bulan setelah bekerja demi mencari pekerjaan yang gajinya lebih besar. Amatilah mereka yang baru menikah. Kalau bukan pasangannya, bisa jadi orangtua atau mertua ikut mengubah arah hidup dan mereka pun masuk dalam pusaran itu.

Padahal, semua orang tahu orang yang mengejar meaning itu menjalankan sesuatu yang mereka cintai dan menimbulkan kebahagiaan. Bahagia itu benih untuk meraih keberhasilan. Orang yang mengejar gaji berpikir sebaliknya, kaya dulu, baru bahagia. Ini tumbuh subur kala orang dituntut lingkungannya untuk mengonsumsi jauh lebih besar dari pendapatan.

Sebaliknya, mereka yang membangun meaning, tahu persis, musuh utama mereka adalah konsumsi yang melebihi pendapatan.

Potret diri

Kalau saya merefleksikan ke belakang tentang hal-hal yang saya jalani dalam hidup saya, dapat saya katakan saya telah menjalani semua yang saya sebutkan di atas. Sementara itu, teman-teman yang 30 tahun lalu memamerkan kartu kreditnya (saat itu adalah hal baru bagi bangsa ini), pekerjaan dengan gaji besar, jabatan dan seterusnya, kini justru tengah mengalami masa-masa yang pahit.

Seorang pengusaha besar mengatakan begini, “Uang itu memang tak punya mata, tetapi mempunyai penciuman. Ia tak bisa dikejar, tetapi datang tiada henti kepada mereka yang meaning-nya kuat.”

Di dinding perpustakaan kampus Harvard, saya sering tertegun membaca esai-esai singkat yang ditulis oleh para aplikan yang lolos seleksi. Tahukah Anda, mereka semua menceritakan perjalanan membangun meaning. Maka, saya tak heran saat Madame Sofia Blake, istri Duta Besar Amerika Serikat, di sini berkunjung ke Rumah Perubahan minggu lalu, ia pun membahas hal yang sama untuk membantu 25 putra-putri terbaik Indonesia agar bisa tembus diterima di kampus utama dunia.

Meaning itu adalah cerita yang melekat pada diri seseorang, yang menciptakan kepercayaan, reputasi, yang akhirnya itulah yang Anda sebut sebagai branding. Anda bisa mendapatkannya bukan melalui jalan pintas atau lewat jalur cara cepat kaya.

Meaning itu dibangun dengan cara yang berbeda dari yang ditempuh pekerja biasa, dari terobosan-terobosan baru. Kadang, dari bimbingan orang-orang besar yang memberikan contoh dan mainan baru. Ya, contoh dan mainan itulah yang perlu kita cari dan terobosan-terobosan yang kita lakukan kelak memberikan jalan terbuka.

Selamat mencoba. Selamat hari Kebangkitan Nasional. Jangan lupa pemuda yang dulu membangkitkan kesadaran berbangsa di negeri ini adalah juga para pembangun meaning.

Prof Rhenald Kasali adalah Guru Besar Ilmu Manajemen Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Indonesia. Pria bergelar PhD dari University of Illinois ini juga banyak memiliki pengalaman dalam memimpin transformasi, di antaranya menjadi pansel KPK sebanyak empat kali dan menjadi praktisi manajemen. Ia mendirikan Rumah Perubahan, yang menjadi role model dari social business di kalangan para akademisi dan penggiat sosial yang didasari entrepreneurship dan kemandirian. Terakhir, buku yang ditulis berjudul Self Driving: Merubah Mental Passengers Menjadi Drivers.

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Message to My Freshman Students

By: Keith M. Parsons: Philosopher, historian, author; Professor of Philosophy at University of Houston-Clear Lake

For the first time in many years I am teaching a freshman course, Introduction to Philosophy. The experience has been mostly good. I had been told that my freshman students would be apathetic, incurious, inattentive, unresponsive and frequently absent, and that they would exude an insufferable sense of entitlement. I am happy to say that this characterization was not true of most students. Still, some students are often absent, and others, even when present, are distracted or disengaged. Some have had to be cautioned that class is not their social hour and others reminded not to send text messages in class. I have had to tell these students that, unlike high school, they will not be sent to detention if they are found in the hall without a pass, and that they are free to leave if they are not interested. Actually, I doubt that the differences between high school and university have ever been adequately explained to them, so, on the first class day of next term, I will address my new freshmen as follows:

Welcome to higher education! If you want to be successful here you need to know a few things about how this place works. One of the main things you need to know is the difference between the instructors you will have here and those you had before. Let me take a few minutes to explain this to you.

First, I am your professor, not your teacher. There is a difference. Up to now your instruction has been in the hands of teachers, and a teacher’s job is to make sure that you learn. Teachers are evaluated on the basis of learning outcomes, generally as measured by standardized tests. If you don’t learn, then your teacher is blamed. However, things are very different for a university professor. It is no part of my job to make you learn. At university, learning is your job — and yours alone. My job is to lead you to the fountain of knowledge. Whether you drink deeply or only gargle is entirely up to you.

Your teachers were held responsible if you failed, and expected to show that they had tried hard to avoid that dreaded result. I am not held responsible for your failures. On the contrary, I get paid the same whether you get an “F” or an “A.” My dean will not call me in and ask how many conferences I had with your parents about your progress. Indeed, since you are now an adult, providing such information to your parents would be an illegal breach of privacy. Neither will I have to document how often I offered you tutoring or extra credit assignments. I have no obligation whatsoever to make sure that you pass or make any particular grade at all.

Secondly, universities are ancient and tend to do things the old-fashioned way. In high school your education was basically a test-preparation service. Your teachers were not allowed to teach, but were required to focus on preparing you for those all-important standardized tests. Though it galls ideologues, we university professors still enjoy a large degree of academic freedom. That means that the content and format of your courses is still mostly under your professor’s control, and the format will probably include a good bit of lecture, some discussion and little or no test preparation.

Lecture has come under attack recently. “Flipped learning” is the current buzz term among higher-education reformers. We old-fashioned chalk-and-talk professors are told that we need to stop being the “sage on the stage,” but should become the “guide on the side,” helping students develop their problem-solving skills. Lecture, we are told, is an ineffective strategy for reaching today’s young people, whose attention span is measured in nanoseconds. We should not foolishly expect them to listen to us, but instead cater to their conditioned craving for constant stimulation.

Hogwash. You need to learn to listen. The kind of listening you need to learn is not passive absorption, like watching TV; it is critical listening. Critical listening means that are not just hearing but thinking about what you are hearing. Critical listening questions and evaluates what is being said and seeks key concepts and unifying themes. Your high school curriculum would have served you better had it focused more on developing your listening skills rather than drilling you on test-taking.

Finally, when you go to a university, you are in a sense going to another country, one with a different culture and different values. I have come to realize that the biggest gap between you and me is a cultural difference. I have absorbed deeply the norms and values of an ancient academic culture and they are now a part of me. You, on the other hand, come to my classes fresh from a culture with different values, one that finds academic ways strange and hard to understand.

Take the issue of documentation. For an academic, there is something sacred about a citation. The proper citation of a source is a small tribute to the hard work, diligence, intelligence and integrity of someone dedicated enough to make a contribution to knowledge. For you, citations and bibliographies are pointless hoops to jump through and you often treat these requirements carelessly. Further, our differences on the issue of giving or taking proper credit accounts for the fact that you so seldom take plagiarism as seriously as I do.

If you want to know the biggest difference between you and your professor, it is probably this: You see university as a place where you get a credential. For your professor, a university is not primarily about credentialing. Your professor still harbors the traditional view that universities are about education. If your aim is to get a credential, then for you courses will be obstacles in your path. For your professor, a course is an opportunity for you to make your world richer and yourself stronger.

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How to obtain and write references
What to do when Voldemort writes you a letter of recommendation (and other scenarios).
Alaina G. Levine
Physics Today, January 2015

When I was 20, I requested a reference from someone whose pleasant manner and apparent interest in my future led me to believe that she was my ally. When I didn’t get the post, my spidey sense told me that something strange, something unrelated to my skill set, had caused my failure. It turned out that my “friend” was actually Voldemort. She had written a letter that literally said, “Alaina should not be in this position. Do not hire Alaina.”

When I discovered this fiend and her sabotage, I was both enraged and sorrowful. How could she do this to me? Why would anyone write an anti-recommendation? But as I carefully pondered this relationship, I came to the realization that, though she may have issued from one of the circles of hell, her betrayal was actually my fault, because I did not vet her properly. And that is how I first learned the power of references for good and evil, and how mindful I must be in asking people to recommend me.

Although I don’t remember them specifically, I am certain that she gave me hints of her disdain for me. As I have written before, most “zombies,” “pigs,” and “haters” will show their true colors, even in subtle ways. As a result of that experience, I developed a very keen eye for identifying—and avoiding—potential saboteurs. Because if there is one attribute that all inhuman creatures share, it is their desire to see you fail.

Now, when I ask people serve as references or to write letters of recommendation for me, I think carefully about who knows my work intimately, who has demonstrated that they are my ally in various ways, and who has openly praised my abilities, and who is willing to put their reputations on the line for you. They are interested in enabling your success by telling others what they know about you and your superior abilities and that the same exemplary work that they witnessed (as supervisors or colleagues) is to be expected in this new position.

A good reference will share details of what you have done and what you can do for the new organization, and the reference writer will be candid with you about what they will say when asked. When I approach people to request recommendations, I email them first, rather than phone them, so as not to put them on the spot. It may be that a prospective recommender is supportive of my career but would prefer not to write a letter on my behalf, and this could be for reasons that have nothing to do with me. (Perhaps, for instance, this person doesn’t get along with the hiring manager of the job I seek.)

If my email is favorably received, I will next try to make an appointment for a brief phone chat concerning my request. I want to be able to ask certain questions, share details of the opportunity, and listen carefully to their responses. Most people (as opposed to Voldemorts) will tell you in some manner if they don’t want to or don’t feel they can write a glowing letter of recommendation, so the phone call allows you to listen for verbal cues. If my potential reference gives lukewarm responses or seems at all hesitant (for instance “you did a pretty good job” or “I am not that familiar with this skill set”), I probably won’t include him or her in my references.

I make this decision because a letter of recommendation that is halfhearted, unenthusiastic, or lacking in specific detail is often worse than no letter at all. To ensure that I will be presented with a reference that is useful to me and will help me achieve my goals,

• I tell her or him about the opportunity – whether it is a job or an award –why the position is of interest to me, and why I think I would be a good fit
• I inquire if the person would feel comfortable in serving as a reference
• I ask plain questions, like: “what would you say about me if they asked you about my experience with X?”

And then I give the person the opportunity to think about it. If she or he does not get back to me, or if I follow up and she or he still hasn’t decided, this could be further evidence against using this reference.

How to be a good reference

I have been asked many times to serve as references for former students and colleagues, and I follow my own set of rules in deciding if I will recommend them. Of utmost importance to me is providing complete truth and recommending without reservation. If you want me to serve as a reference, I will only do so if I know you well enough to be able to provide truthful information about what a valuable asset you would be to the organization. I want to be able to say with conviction that you are talented, exceptional, and will advance the team’s mission in novel and exciting ways.

So when asked to be a reference, I will:

• Ask myself whether I know this person and her or his accomplishments, skills, work ethic, problem-solving abilities and attitude well enough to be able to write a positive letter of recommendation?
Ask the candidate about the position she or he is applying for, and all goals, achievements and attributes
Ask the candidate about particular skills set and accomplishments that she or he wants me to highlight in the exchange with the employer or award committee.

When asked to recommend someone whom I don’t know well enough to be able to truthfully share particulars of abilities and brand (promise of value), I will reply, “I don’t think I know you well enough to provide an exceptional recommendation and I think you should find someone else.” So if someone says that to you, please heed the warning. She or he is trying to help you by not giving you a lukewarm or bad recommendation.

Not all of us have the luxury choosing references from a huge pool. If you are early in your career, only a handful of people may have been exposed to your work habits. Similarly, if you are applying for jobs while still employed, you must keep your search confidential, which means you can’t use your immediate supervisor or even your colleagues as references. This is one reason that networking is so important—networking will help you find mentors outside of your organization or team who can discretely vouch for your talents. So, as I have said ever so many times before, start networking now!

However, since you cannot travel back through time to create relationships with potential references outside your immediate work arena, I offer some things you can do in the here and now.

If you find yourself—for any reason—unable to ask your immediate supervisor for a reference, the next best thing is to ask a trusted colleague or adviser. The idea is to secure those who can discuss your abilities, even if they don’t see you utilizing and honing them on a daily basis. If they can share information about your work ethic, the way you approach problems and solve them, and your positive characteristics that are important to a productive team, then they will suffice as references. A great tip is to keep your contacts and mentors informed of your accomplishments periodically so that when you need a reference, they already know all about you. And of course, you can ask them to keep the recommendation confidential, especially as you apply for jobs outside your current organization.

For those of you in research, especially early on, like in grad school or in your postdoc, there may come a time when you find yourself with Voldemort for your PI. This is troubling indeed, and as I have noted before, you must escape. But disciplines are tiny and your subdiscipline is even more so, and thus the situation becomes complicated and tenuous: You don’t want Voldemort to serve as a reference because he could easily badmouth you, and yet, you may be tied to him already through your publication record. So when applying for academic jobs, search committees may instinctively contact Voldemort to ask his opinion of you, even without you granting your express permission to do so.

How do you handle this minefield? Don’t include Voldemort’s name on your list of references. Even though you were his postdoc, you are not obligated to list him. True, the search committee may find this unusual and may even ask you about it. But you can be proactive and address this with a statement such as the following: “Although I did work for Voldemort for a short period, my research interests changed and thus I moved labs to work with Dr. X, who can provide you with a much more detailed picture of who I am and how I will be an asset to your department.”

This dignified response is far better than risking Voldemort sullying your reputation, and far better than appearing to hide something. Furthermore, if you provide the committee with a list of three other leaders in your discipline who can attest to your character, then even if they contact He Who Must Not Be Named without your knowledge, you will have a chorus of people singing your praises. This will hopefully drown out the cacophony of Voldemort’s Parseltongue.

Serving as references and asking for recommendations are tasks that you will be doing for the rest of your career. So start early in finding allies and in being an ally yourself. If you are asked to be a reference and you won’t be able to say unequivocally that this person is awesome, then be courteous and professional enough to tell them that they should find someone else to write a recommendation.

But when your trusted colleague or boss does write you an amazing reference, be sure to acknowledge the fact that she took time out of her day to do so and send her a thank-you note. She’ll appreciate that gesture of gratitude, especially when you tell her the good news that you got the job!

Alaina G. Levine is a science and engineering writer, career consultant, and professional speaker and comedian. Networking for Nerds, her new book on networking strategies for scientists and engineers, will be published by Wiley later this year. She can be reached through her website or on Twitter at @AlainaGLevine.

  1. Optical fiber as sensors: opticalsensorsapplications (26 April 2014)

  2. VIVA, the Last Defense

Unforgettable  moment was to make a defense on my dissertation last year.

Here is the link http://www.eng.ui.ac.id/index.php/id/beritaftui/118 , or read directly on the following reportage ,.. but oops of course in Bahasa

Doktor Erna Sri Sugesti berhasil mempertahankan disertasinya yang berjudul “Analisis Pengendalian Delay Melalui Prosedur Komputasi B/G Protokol DCF dan Optimasi TXOP Untuk Peningkatan Utilisasi Kanal Protokol HCCA pada WiLANoF” pada 15 Juli 2013 bertempat di Ruang Chevron, Gedung Dekanat FT UI. Bertindak sebagai Ketua Sidang adalah Ketua Dewan Guru Besar FT UI, Prof. Harry Sudibyo, DEA dengan Promotor, Prof. Ir. Bagio Budiardjo, M.Sc dan Ko-Promotor I, Prof. Dr.-Ing Kalamullah Ramli serta Ko-Promotor II, Dr. Ir. Purnomo Sidi Priambodo, M.Sc. Dewan Penguji terdiri dari Prof. Dr. Ir. Riri Fitri Sari, M.Sc., MM; Prof. Harry Sudibyo, DEA; Dr. Ir. Retno Wigajatri P, MT; Dr. Ir. Anak Agung Putri Ratna, M.Eng; Dr. Ir. Sekartedjo, M.Sc.

Pertumbuhan pengguna internet sangat signifikan selama hampir dua dekade terakhir ini, pertumbuhan ini didukung oleh kemudahan instalasi perangkat serta fleksibilitas aksesnya. Teknologi pendukung yang berkembang adalah WLAN. Ekspansi cakupan WLAN menggunakan medium serat optic membentuk jaringan hibrida yang disebut WiLANoF menemui masalah pada protokolnya.

Untuk menyelesaikan masalah tersebut diperlukan suatu rekayasa protokol. Transmisi aplikasi yang berbeda memiliki persyaratan yang berbeda pula. Aplikasi elastic menggunakan protokol 802.11g DCF, sedangkan aplikasi waktu nyata menggunakan 802.11e HCCA. Dalam riset ini diusulkan prosedur komputasi B/G yang mempermudah proses desain dan pengendalian protokol DCF WiLANoF. Di samping itu diusulkan suatu pendekatan baru yaitu optimasi TXOP menggunakan metode Knapsack untuk menghasilkan utilisasi kanal yang tinggi pada protokol HCCA.

Hasil analisis penggunaan prosedur komputasi B/G untuk aplikasi elastic pada WiLANoF menunjukkan bahwa delay bound dipengaruhi oleh kelas dan mode operasi WLAN, skema CSMA/CA serta ukuran frame. Penggunaan metode Knapsack untuk optimasi TXOP aplikasi waktu nyata, dapat digunakan untuk mengendalikan parameter delay, sehingga utilisasi kanal maksimum dapat dicapai. (Humas FT – Abstrak)

 

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