I finished my undergraduate in 1998, from a university located in Makassar. One year later, I had an opportunity to be a researcher at Indonesian Science Institute (or Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia), a public research institution located in the capital, Jakarta. In 1999, the most rationable choice for travel from Makassar to Jakarta was 2 days and 3 nights sailing by ships. Two hours flight by airplane was another choice, but the price is 20 times higher.
After passing the administrative and written test, I was one of the 12 candidates who moved to interview session, competing for the 6 positions offered. More than 400 applicants joined the selection at the beginning. So, most of the 12 candidates thought that this was a great achievement to be in the last stage.
Of course, all of us prepare our best to be showed at the interview, which was going to be held two days after the announcement. Yes, the selection committee gave us two days preparation before D-day.
But, I faced an issue, serious one. We were suggested to bring our undergraduate thesis at the time of interview. My problem is, I didn’t bring it. It was stored in my house, about 1,600 kilometers over there. I made a phone call to home, ask my brother to package and sending the thesis. I ordered him to use the fastest service available.
The only choice was using a postal service. My brother told to the officer that the package is urgent, and had to be delivered and received on two days at most. The officer said no problem, and he convinced my brother that it would be in Jakarta on the next two days.
The interview held at 10 AM. I was waiting for the package since the office hour started at 8 AM. At 9.30, the package didn’t show up. I decided to attend the interview without bringing the thesis. I thought (hopeless), it was not a requirement. We were suggested, not required, to show our thesis.
When the interview held, I was the only candidate who didn’t bring undergraduate thesis. The panel of interviewer consist of four experts, which explore our academic background and other issue related to new position as young researcher. Though without the thesis, I could answer all the questions convincingly.
After interviewing all candidates, the panelists convened to take decision. One hour later, the result was placed on the notice board. I was so amazed to see my name placed in number 7. On the right side, there was an inscription: “no thesis showed“.
Since that, I always take a deep attention to details and small issue every time I attended interview. Yes, small stone makes us stumble, not a big rock.***