Sorry, I’m Not a Believer on ‘You Can Be Anything You Want’, at Least When Talking About Career Journey

I almost finish my master degree. It feels so quick as now I need to rethink the next journey for my professional career. Although gratefully I received several job offers through my LinkedIn profile, I haven’t decided anything and will give time to myself to think carefully on several aspects.

The phrase ‘you can be anything you want’ is so attractive. You might hear this in many occasions, esp as an advice for your future in motivational sessions. In a career journey, it implies that career is ‘boundaryless’. By boundaryless, it means that career could become ‘a sequences of job opportunities that move beyond the boundaries of single employment settings’ (Arthur, 1994) or easily ‘move across the boundaries of separate employers’ (Guest, 2015). To me, this is not entirely true as career does have boundaries. In this blogpost, let me try to discuss several of them. Not to be such a pessimistic, but more on realistic context which might help us to determine our career wisely.

It’s worth to note what it means by boundaries, I would bring Ashforth’s, et al (2000) perspective on this; as he explained boundaries as limits around ‘physical, temporal, emotional, cognitive, and/or relational’. Those boundaries also have ‘textures’ as mentioned by Guest (2015). Some boundaries could be physical (e.g. location), social (e.g. discrimination), and even psychological (e.g. working preferences) which make it less visible. Those boundaries involve circumstances within person or surrounding environment (e.g. education background, difficulty in finding mentors, or lack of social capital); which somehow limits career mobility and development.

The concept of ‘you can do anything you want’ / boundaryless career emphasizes the freedom of individuals to decide their own career. However, regulation from government, education background, and social class take place in shaping an individual career. The believe that boundaryless career is driven by individuals and indeed sounds so attractive; but this thinking only benefits people with good education and high skills, but not for minorities, women, low skills and disabled people, as argued by Currie, et al (2006).

In reality, to get a job, you will need to cross such boundaries which usually involve such gate-keepers. The function of gate-keepers is to make sure that the employees who will enter the new role are suitable and most likely be successful in all the needed processes. These gate-keepers usually in form of as recruiters, examiners on chartered bodies, or managers and leaders of an organization/institution. To pass the gate-keepers, you will need to fulfill all the requirements from skills, education, previous experiences (or sometimes whether you know somebody from that particular organization/institution!).

Instead of keeping in mind that ‘you can be anything you want’; I prefer to look re-evaluate ourselves by understanding what might be such boundaries for our career journey. Once we evaluate our career boundaries, we will be able to re-arrange our situation by re-learn, re-train, re-skill, or equipping ourselves with possible new knowledge and skills to be able to cross several boundaries to obtain a ‘better career journey’. For instances, I never learned about data analytics; those are boundaries for me to pursue a career journey in tech-driven company as a social data analyst (e.g. people analytics). If only I strive to equip myself with the needed skill, I would then get a chance to cross that boundary.

Illustration: re-learn, re-train, re-skill yourself

Nevertheless, in some cases, we just need to embrace boundaries that we have. For example, I am aware that my mathematical intelligence is not as strong as my linguistic/verbal intelligence; thus I would not bother to pursue career that involves strong mathematical skills and focus to develop careers that would appreciate my other skills.

Telling ‘you can be anything you want’ for kids who’re still grow up would be fine, telling that phrase to young-adult who have more boundaries could be problematic. On some contexts, career boundaries could be less but also could be more complicated once an individual grew up. If it seems that you only have to embrace some of your boundaries, be explorative on what you have and design your best career aspirations from those. Don’t forget that you’re able to increase your value to cross more boundaries by re-learn, re-train, and re-skill yourself. You cannot be anything you want, but you might be able to be the best version of yourself.

@yosea_kurnianto

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#MayDay and The Dark Shades of Employment Relations in Gig Economy (in Indonesia)

The International Labours/Workers Day or May Day is ‘celebrated’ in many countries, including Indonesia. Various issues and demands were voiced by Indonesian trade unions in each year’s May Day ‘celebration’. Lately, the demands were predominantly around issues of outsourcing and (increased minimum) wages. The movement does indeed contain positive message in improving the condition of Indonesian working class. However, several riots and chaos situations happened during the May Day brought negative stigmas about trade unions.

Many companies started to find a way to avoid the establishment of trade unions in their company by making their own employee relations programs, to using certain employment models, such as outsourcing, zero hours’ contract, or even using term of ‘partner’ instead of employee as applied by some newly web/app-based companies.

Companies that design their own employment relations programs are tried to minimize the ‘noise’ of the employees by providing certain level of open internal communication, easily access management team, and such effort to involve employee representatives before deciding any policy. Using this way, the companies expect that employees would not feel any need to gain ‘power’ (through union) for negotiating or communicating their grievances to the management.

Companies that use the term ‘partner’ instead of employee indeed limits the ability of the workers to form a lawful union under the company, or to join any. This raising trend was marked by the development of online/web/app-based companies, which many literatures refer as gig economy.

Nevertheless, with the freedom of association as the right of Indonesian citizen and under the sense of ‘solidarity’, those ‘partners’ and/or online workers formed such ‘online workers’ association’ both in social media and even conducted such offline manifestations to voice their grievances.

Gig economy, however, is not something new and not merely in technology or digital based business. Friedman (2014) explains that ‘gig workers’ work to complete a particular task or for a defined time. This could be employed as a waiter in a restaurant, a cleaner of a building, a singer in a pub, etc. Nevertheless, Cockayine (2016) argues that gig economy is also usually referred as on-demand or ‘sharing’ economy. In his perspective, technology and digital platform strongly enhance the development of this model, which resonates the current situation in Indonesia: online ride-hailing (ojek online), online selling, etc.

Some companies who employ this ‘partnership’ model, save lots of money as they don’t need to provide any kind of employee benefits such as holiday/sick pay, parental supports, etc as ‘normal’ companies do. Yet, those companies most possibly do not have any clear strategy to manage the grievances of their ‘partners’, which might happen quite a lot as it’s believed that ‘partners’ under this employment model have weaker ‘psychological contract’ with the companies.

These kind of gig companies have been seen unable to manage the grievances in their business models, as we can observe that the disputes and grievances of ‘partners’ through ‘online workers’ associations’, were addressed to the government, instead of the companies.

It is worth noting that industrial relations involve at least 3 actors: company, employee representations (trade unions), and government. In the event where company and employee (or in this case, partner) representations failed to establish a good employment/partner relation, government would need to intervene.

In regards to that, government has significant role to both actively facilitate the growth of economy and identifying potential disputes by designing appropriate regulations and law. It’s hardly to say that Indonesian government is quick enough to properly response to any potential disputes related to employment so far. Take example on the online ride-hailing service. At the end of 2015, the Ministry of Transportation banned this service because it’s considered as ‘unlawfully established in the context of public transportation regulation’. The President, however, argued that the service is ‘needed by the society’, which then the service continues to operate. Yet, nothing to hear from the Ministry of Manpower or published comprehensive discussion from related stakeholders about the employment model caused by this service which now make lots of ‘noise’ in the employment/partner relations.

Aside from above case, it’s interesting to see that since June 17th 2016, the government, through the Minister of Information and Technology affairs, fully supported the launch of an initiative called ‘Gerakan Nasional 1000 Start-Up Digital’ (The National Movement of 1000 Digital Start-Up). Cited from a press release, more than 32.000 people registered themselves which 6500 of them joined the provided entrepreneurship training in 10 cities, resulted 123 start-ups so far. Observing from various newly digital start-ups that employ such ‘partnership’ employment model, it is important to note that those start-ups also need be equipped with the capability to manage employment/partner relations in the future.

To maintain a positive relations and its stability, (gig) companies have to understand the importance of providing a continuous communication with employee/partner representations and to act on it. For instances, an Indonesian e-commerce based in Jakarta establishes a community for its online sellers. The community is maintained through an online platform and several offline meetings across the country to develop ‘selling skills’, but also as a platform of grievances mechanism from the sellers to the platform provider (the management). This model is also possible to be adopted by (gig companies) in transportation and education services to better manage their ‘employment’ or ‘partner’ relations.

It is believed that 3 actors of industrial relations have to establish a harmony. Some argue that trade union might not be the best form of employment representation in the near future because of the transformation of employment model. Yet, whatever the form of employment representation: could be trade union, establishment of work council (e.g. in Germany), or even softly’ managed by the company; both government and companies shall carefully provide accessible communication mechanism with the workers in creating the best working condition that could be achieved, although there might be tension of interests from each actor.

@yosea_kurnianto

Is Posthuman (or Superhuman?) Resources Management Needed?

McKinsey & Company (2016) released a research based article entitled “Where machines could replace humans – and where they can’t (yet)”. The conclusion they made were involving analysist of 2000 plus activities from more than 800 occupations from US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net. It is worth noting that the report was not considering only the jobs but rather the details of activities (within the jobs). Activities were categorized based on their feasibility to be automated by current technology and machine, such as robots and artificial intelligence. In conclusion, jobs that involve predictable (routine) physical work (78%), processing data (69%), and collecting data (64%) might be replaceable. In another side, jobs that involve unpredictable physical work (25%), stakeholders’ interactions (20%), applying expertise (18%), and managing others (9%) are still less likely to be automated with currently demonstrated technology.

Frey and Osborne (2013) from Oxford University Engineering Sciences Department and the Oxford Martin Program argue that 47% of total employment in the US is in the high risk category. By saying high risk, Frey and Osborne (2013) refer to the automation expectancy at a decade or two. It is true that computerization has already taken some tasks with explicit rule and routine based activities (Autor, et al., 2003 in Frey and Osborne, 2013). However, big data, artificial intelligence, and robots are rapidly entering the area of pattern recognition for doing non-routine tasks, even enhanced with senses and various skills which previously were done manually (Brynjolfsson and McAfee, 2011; MGI, 2013 in Frey and Osborne, 2013). Thus, it is believed that nature of work in various industries and occupations will be changed significantly, although Frey and Osborne (2013) see that some bottlenecks of computerization and automation will make the process longer, especially in the activities and jobs that involving perception and manipulation, creative intelligence, as well as social intelligence.

In other released article, McKinsey & Company (2015) stated that less than 5% of whole jobs can be automated using current technology. Yet, 60% of jobs could have 30% or more of their activities to be automated with current technologies, including robots and artificial intelligence. In other words, most jobs would need quite significant redefinition as well as business processes transformation in the near future. Bessen (2017) argue that based on the data of manufacturing employment in the United States since 1950, there is a strong evidence that the view that automation eliminates jobs wasn’t always true, with consideration of globalization as well. This statement is supported by other evidences, for instances from Gaggl and Wright (2017) which stated that “technology tended to raise employment in wholesale, retail, and finance industries, but had no statistically significant effect on other sectors, including manufacturing”. Gregory, Salomons, and Zierahn (2016) find “that automation of routine tasks tends to eliminate certain jobs (activities), but that net employment increases”.

As a scholar in human resources management and industrial relations, who have been working for 4 years as an HR practitioner and consultant, some reflections related to that issue will be discussed in this article. I will try to deliver two important perspectives related to whether HR jobs will still be relevant and what kind of HR leader is needed in the future.

In a book entitled ‘Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow’, Harari, (2016: 56) argued that “Human species is not going to be exterminated by a robot revolt. Rather, human is likely to upgrade itself step by step, merging with robots and computers in the process…”. He added that ‘humans will make a bid for divinity, because humans have many reasons to desire such and upgrade, and many ways to achieve it”.

Sophia, a robot that received a citizenship from a country. Photo source & article: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/11/an-interview-with-the-artificially-intelligent-robot-sophia

Clearly, Harari believes that human species (in his term Homo Sapiens) would continue to experience kinds of evolution to be ‘more than human’ or I will use the term ‘posthuman’ in this writing. ‘Superhuman’ could also be an alternative term, yet more references and previous writings by scholars we found using ‘posthuman’ term. The term ‘Posthuman’ is actually not a new concept. The origin of it was at the cybernetic movement in 1940s. It became quite explosive in 1990s because Donna Haraway’s Simians Cybors, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature in 1991. Haraway’s doesn’t use the term ‘posthuman’ in explicit way, yet her believes that boundaries between human and other creatures (in this context is technology) is ‘no longer secure’, and is able to be a hybrid, or cyborgs. However, in this age of technology, posthuman is being used to describe “a time in which ‘human is no longer the most important things in the universe’, where ‘all technological progress of human society is geared towards the transformation of the human species’, and where ‘complex machines are and emerging form of life” (Pepperell, 2003:177 in Gane, 2006). The term ‘posthuman’ gains various critics in previous years, but it becomes clearer today that “a new culture, in which the ‘purity’ of human gives way to new forms of creative evolutions” is being more acceptable (Gane, 2006).

Some evidences show that the process of this kind of upgrade or creative innovations are already happening for marking the ‘posthuman’ era. Gray in BBC Story (2017) uses a term of “another level of convenience” to describe how an employee of a software firm Mozilla was voluntarily being implanted with a rice-grain-sized microchip, which enable to open doors, log in into computers, and contain his all contacts address. Further updates related to this matter, the New York Times reported that on August 1st 2017, employees in Three Squared Market, a technology company based on Winconsin, were offered to be injected a chip in between their thumb and index finger. Once it is done, anything related to RFID jobs such as accessing office building or make payment for foods in office cafeteria can be done with waving the hand. It was not a compulsory, but as much as 50 out of 80 people were voluntarily being injected with the microchip. This program, as believed to be the first in the United States, was cooperated with a Swedish Company, Biohax International, which also already applied in another Swedish Company, Epicenter.

Despite of the debates whether it’s risky or any other perspectives among employees and society in general, this phenomenon is as exactly as what Harari (2016) mentioned above. Slowly, human will upgrade and evolve themselves to be integrated with robots, that would enable them to redefine jobs, create new employment systems / environments, and transform existing business process. Indeed, this will not be happened in a day or in a year, but slowly, the ‘posthuman’ will be new normal.

Reflecting to aforementioned two perspectives related to HR and referring to automation feasibility from McKinsey & Company’s report, some activities within HR related jobs are already automated (personnel administration, payroll, some parts of learning and development, some degree of recruitment process, and some of compensation and benefits). Yet, some other activities that involve managing others (e.g. talent management), stakeholder’s interactions (e.g. industrial /employee relations), applying expertise (e.g. organizational development, employee selection), and even unpredictable physical work (e.g. organizing employee events) might yet to be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence. With the raise of ‘posthuman’ in the making, HR practitioners will also need to be ‘upgraded’ in order to be relevant and to be able to shift from human resources management to posthuman resources management.

Before going deeper to posthuman resources management, it is important to note that HR team would be dealing with managing people in business transformation process affected by robots and artificial intelligence. As some predictable and routine activities and jobs in, for instance, manufacturing are replaceable by machines, HR team would be in charged to determine redundancy (laying off certain number of employees) or design and implement relearn / reskill for its employee to be allocated to other activities or jobs in order to avoid redundancy. This indeed will depend on business strategy, financial condition, and board management’s goodwill.  Nevertheless, high level skills of project management, communication, interpersonal, and emotional intelligence would be needed to be equipped by HR team to make sure the process run smoothly.

The Circle movie, starred by Emma Watson and Tom Hanks which released on April 2017, tells a story of an employee in giant technology company and how she’s worried about damaging implications resulted by the company. Albeit receiving many negative comments and critics because of its story plotting and flat content, some movie segments show the condition of how current technology transform some HR related jobs such as performance management, employee engagement, as well as integrated employee health, compensation, and benefits. In the time forward, when business transformation came into its shape by embodying robots and artificial intelligence in most sectors. AS posthuman are coming to the workplace, a new face of posthuman resources management needs to born.

In 2015, The World Economic Forum, in cooperation with Accenture, released a report entitled “Industrial Internet of Things: Unleashing the Potential of Connected Products and Services”. One of the highlights is discussing how the emerging job market will demand new and different skill set of the workforce. This ‘new skill set of workforce’ is underlined with an emphasize of ‘new mindset’ towards the emergence of robots and technology. By saying ‘new mindset’, posthuman resources management leaders need to equip themselves with the understanding of posthumanism and how to collaborate with them in making sure the organization’s goals are achieved.

In attempt to be a future leader in post-human resources management, some skills and technology augmentations need to be done. Organization design might be different in posthuman era, in which some kind of structures might be needed, some others might need to be dismissed. The recruitment process would also need to be improved in selecting the most suitable ‘posthuman’ with the new form of jobs. The learning and development process might be integrated into certain database embedded in ‘posthuman’ individual, and would be continuously aligned with the business processes. The performance management system would be easily assessed and recorded, yet needs to be adjusted with the posthuman conditions in new jobs era. The form of compensation, benefits, and even pensions might need to be transformed into different types of packages.

In conclusion, I don’t feel worry if my job as an HR practitioner (or at least I don’t feel anything yet) would be taken by robots and/or artificial intelligence – as from the perspective of ‘can’t do anything except to embrace’. It is believed that human species will be continuously evolved, transform themselves with creative ways, and being integrated with the robots (Harari, 2016), which in this writing is referred to ‘posthuman’ era (Gane, 2006). Thus, the HR management field of jobs might also be evolved to PostHR management or any kind of it. Towards becoming a future PostHR practitioner, I believe that owning a ‘new-mindset’ which allow to open more learning processes in all HR management spectrums from organization design to compensation, benefits, and pension scheme. At the moment, it is important to keep being relevant by following the updates and gaining understanding of what is happening, as well as being relevant with the updates of technology in HR management fields by being connected with employers and related innovators.

The next question might be whether the new set of ethical leadership / management is needed for this era. Will see 🙂

@yosea_kurnianto

‘Good’ Questions, ‘-Bad- [The Other Type]’ Questions

I just received some results of my first term exams. I personally have more confidence in doing case study / discussing an issue and making / delivering presentation in front of examiners; rather than writing an academic essay. Thus, I know how to set my expectations when I submitted my papers and received the results. Anyway, I started to contemplate as I don’t think the important part is how much the score that I received; but how much I learnt from the processes (to be applied in ‘real/professional life’).

As much as 3 out of 4 courses’ exams in the first term involved academic writing (essay). The other 1 was actually quite the same, but the students needed to sit in the exam room to answer few questions in only 2 hours. The lecturers gave us several questions related to the courses’ contents and the students were allowed to choose 1 question to be explained in maximum of 3000 words. Here comes the considerations and dilemmas of choosing the question. Some people might choose the question that they think the ‘easiest’ one (or that they ‘master’ in) so they could expect high score, and some other might choose some questions that would help to learn more things related to the issue but with an uncertainty of score.

If it’s a competition, and I really wanted to win, I might not need any further discussion since I would definitely choose the easiest one (or that I ‘master’ in). However, in this context, I might be too skeptical with an assumption that those who achieved the highest score in class were not necessarily have the guarantee of smooth career progressions in the professional journey. Although, receiving highest score (or at least a good one) is kind of pride as a student, as a form of responsibility to be shown to our sponsors (might be our parents, scholarship organization, and even ourselves), and also a good start to show to the employer that we ‘have something’. So, before I continue, I need to say that achieving a high score (or at least a good one) is really important, but to me, is not the most important one.

Learning, to my believe, should not (only) be measured by the exam score. The exam score itself is somehow needed as learning is being institutionalized. By saying institutionalized, an ‘economic’ process of learning happened in which then results need to be measured (and shown by score / grade / rank). However, beyond institutionalization, the process of learning within an individual shall not be limited with score or other written/tangible results. An individual will experience the process of learning, re-learning, and unlearning within their minds during the processes. Thus, it is important to be aware that as students, our role is not only to learn as part of the institution, but also as an individual (with goals, dreams, desires, etc.).

Going to ‘School’

Back to the topic of exam questions above, when I received the questions from the lecturers, I was fully aware on how much my skills and capacity in academic writing, yet I also wanted to learn more from the question that I would spend my time to discuss about.

I avoided to choose the questions that previously I had worked on (from studies or works), and tried to explore more the questions that I have never worked on and/or would be important for my future career aspirations. Nevertheless, in making the final decision, I reconsidered my choice of question with my capability of academic writing, so still could balance my role as a part of institutionalized learning and as an individual. In results, I am currently not having any kind of disappointment with my score (although not the highest) and also with my learning experiences.

To close this, I believe that the questions from the lecturers were all good. Yet, it indeed depends on our perspectives, needs, and contexts/situations. Some of us, in a situation and a need, would prefer to choose the ‘easiest’ question (or that we ‘master’ in) to achieve high score, although we might not learn much things from the exam process. Some others, in this case, including me, might prefer to explore the ‘challenging questions’ in order to ‘maximize’ the learning opportunity.

@yosea_kurnianto

An Old Q: Is Any Job Better than No Job?

‘Normal’ discussion topics among last-year undergraduate or graduate students would be ‘have you applied to jobs?’ and/or ‘have you been accepted for a job?’. I assume that those who got a job before finishing their study would be having certain higher level of pride than those who still look for, or even don’t have any plan yet. To reach this kind of pride, I suppose, many graduates might consider to take any job they were offered. Although some reasons would also determine this decision, such as a financial condition as he/she might have to earn some money for living or for supporting his/her family. But, this old question remains: is any job better than no job?

Last week, I attended a discussion from Work and Equality Institute in Manchester, entitled “Work, Health, and Stress: Some Observations”. Prof. Tarani Chandola, a professor of medical sociology from the University of Manchester shared some perspectives of his research and thoughts on how job and stress can relate each other. It is interesting to know that based on medical data that he collected (in civil service): the lower the grade of the job, the higher its job mortality. It’s indeed because of several factors such as financial, relationship stress (with bureaucracy), etc. Yet, that data actually shows ‘the myth of executive stress’. It is argued that stress of the executives is only being perceived, but not ‘as bad as’ it is on medical data.

Good Job or Bad Job?

Another finding from the session was that people with ‘bad jobs’ increase their happiness some years before retirement; but those in ‘good job’ remain no significant differences. However, it is actually contradicting with an argument that ‘retirement is beneficial, but only for those in the top / good grades (jobs)’. Those with bad jobs might face another ‘episode’ of stress after that short-term happiness, as the might not have an enough pension/fund for living and since they would be ‘unemployed’ again.

Somebody said that, ‘the worst work status for health is unemployment’. But, is it true that any job is better than no job? Well, from the medical measurement as what Prof. Tarani did above, it might not be entirely true. Some people might be ‘healthier’ with no job rather than doing ‘bad job’. The term bad job here could be assumed as job with under/minimum pay, job with bad relations with managers, etc; and I guess you might have some definitions on what good or bad jobs for you based on your interest, skills, passion, and other dimensions.

It is important then, for me and my fellow graduate students, to really think about jobs to do after finishing our study. Again, some factors might determine or even push us to some decisions in taking a job; but whatever the decision is – make sure that we’re being mindful and consciously know the consequences. Some organisations or companies might try to help its employees to reduce stress at work by assigning a Chief Happiness Officer or some ‘fun internal events’; but it might be useless if we have a ‘bad job’ (structurally or emotionally). Good luck for (y)our career journey!

@yosea_kurnianto

Giliranmu Pakai Hastag #MyCheveningJourney: Daftar Sebelum 7 November 2017!

Ah akhirnya sempat nulis lagi! Beberapa waktu terakhir rekan-rekan mengirim WA, FB message, DM Instagram dan Linkedin untuk tanya-tanya soal proses beasiswa Chevening. Beasiswa Chevening ini setahun ke depan sponsori aku untuk kuliah S2 di Manchester Business School – The University of Manchester ambil jurusan MSc Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations. Selain prestigious, beasiswa Chevening ini menawarkan jaringan alumni tingkat global yang isinya memang orang-orang yang menarik.

Oya, aku ketemu banyak orang Indonesia yang beruntung ga perlu ini itu buat dapat beasiswa, karena kondisi finansial keluarga yang memungkinkan. Buat yang memang membutuhkan beasiswa, terus semangat berusaha yah, semoga tulisan ini kasih sedikit gambaran proses dari beasiswa the Chevening Awards!

Receiving the certificate of #ChosenForChevening in UK Embassy Jakarta

Dulu banget aku ga berani daftar beasiswa Chevening karena kupikir ini untuk orang-orang yang memang punya profil beken dan keren, tapi akhirnya aku coba beranikan diri. Syarat paling utama sebenarnya adalah udah lulus S1 dan punya pengalaman kerja minimal 2 tahun. Nah berhenti di sini dulu. Soalnya ada pengalaman udah cerita panjang lebar, tapi lawan bicaraku tanya: Beasiswa Chevening itu apa sih? Dhuaar. Hehehe..

Beasiswa Chevening atau biasa disebut ‘The Chevening Awards’ ini adalah beasiswa S2 dari pemerintah Inggris Raya (UK) yang ditujukan untuk mengembangkan global leaders. Beasiswa ini ada sejak tahun 1983, dibiayai oleh Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) dan beberapa organisasi partnernya. Jadi kamu bisa kuliah S2 selama 1 tahun di universitas mana saja yang kamu mau (dan diterima :p) di Inggris Raya. Pengalaman 1 tahun ini diharapkan kasih kamu kesempatan untuk mengembangkan diri secara akademik dan professional, memperluas jejaring, dan mengalami sendiri budaya di Inggris Raya. Monggo kalau mau dibaca lebih seksama di laman INI.

Nah, lanjut yah. Proses pendaftaran Chevening dilakukan secara online dimulai dari laman INI. Super duper gampang, tinggal isi dan klik (plus mikir juga jangan lupa :p).

Apa sih yang biasanya jadi kegundahan saat daftar? Mungkin beberapa list di bawah ini membantu:

  1. Pilih jurusan dan kampus

Beberapa pertanyaan terkait pilih jurusan dan kampus untuk beasiswa Chevening mewarnai percakapanku belakangan waktu. Memang kita boleh belajar S2 apapun yang kita suka untuk daftar beasiswa ini, tapi akan jauh lebih meyakinkan kalau jurusan yang diambil ada kaitannya dengan pekerjaan saat ini atau aspirasi pencapaian di masa yang akan datang.

Jangan sampai kita ambil jurusan dan kampus yang hanya terdengar keren, tapi ga ada hubungannya dengan ‘diri kita’. Coba cek juga fokus kerjasama pemerintah Inggris dengan Indonesia di tahun berjalan saat kamu mendaftar beasiswa Chevening di laman ini. Saat mendaftar, kamu diminta untuk masukkan 3 pilihan jurusan dan kampus berdasarkan prioritas. Jangan khawatir juga, kalau nanti masuk interview, akan dikonfirmasi lagi apakah pilihan jurusan dan kampus masih sama dengan awal daftar atau mau diganti urutan (atau bahkan ganti jurusan dan kampus). Kalau saat mendaftar (atau periode sebelum pengumuman) kamu udah dapat Letter of Acceptance (LoA) dari kampus, kamu bisa upload di profil pendaftaranmu. LoA ini wajib diterima secretariat Chevening saat konfirmasi akhir kalau kamu dinyatakan berhak menerima beasiswa.

  1. Pengalaman Kerja

Soal pengalaman kerja, syarat yang ditulis adalah 2 tahun. Tapi saat mengisi nanti biasanya kamu juga bisa hitung jam volunteer atau magang. Akan sangat baik kalau setiap apa yang kamu kerjakan sejalan dengan jurusan yang kamu ambil. Meski tak jarang juga beberapa teman bisa meyakinkan bahwa jurusan yang diambil tidak (sepenuhnya) senada dengan pekerjaan, tapi lebih sesuai dengan aspirasi ke depan. Kasus semacam ini mungkin jarang, tapi bukan tidak mungkin terjadi. Tugasmu nanti meyakinkan panel saat interview.

  1. Menjawab Beberapa Pertanyaan (Penulisan Essay)

Ada beberapa pertanyaan yang perlu dijawab untuk menyelesaikan pendaftaran beasiswa Chevening ini. Pertanyaan biasanya seputar pengalaman pekerjaan dan leadership serta aspirasi (karir) masa depan dan kaitannya dengan jurusan yang diambil (detail pertanyaan silakan dilihat di aplikasi, bisa jadi ada perubahan). Ada rekan mengirimkan WhatsApp dan bertanya apakah harus menggunakan seluruh ‘jatah’ huruf untuk menulis jawaban pertanyaan (sekitar 300 kata). Sederhananya, menurutku kalau kita bisa maksimalkan, lebih baik maksimalkan, agar pesan yang kita sampaikan dapat tergambar dengan jelas. Tapi kalau cukup percaya diri dengan sedikit kata-kata, tidak masalah juga J Jawaban ini perlu ditulis dengan jujur karena akan banyak dikonfirmasi saat interview nanti apabila lolos tahap administrasi.

  1. Proses Menunggu 1

Kalau udah klik submit application, kita akan menunggu sekitar 4 bulan untuk mendapatkan konfirmasi/undangan untuk interview. Bagi yang lolos untuk interview, nanti akan mendapatkan email undangan dan link untuk memilih jam interview (biasanya tersedia beberapa slot). Penting untuk segera memilih slot interview sesuai jam yang diinginkan, kalau tidak, nanti sudah diambil yang lain dan kita ga punya banyak pilihan.

  1. Interview

Woah, ini nih yang bikin jantung dagdigdug 😀 – seingatku kemarin aku bener-bener persiapan untuk interview Chevening. Mulai dari tanya-tanya alumni, ngopi bareng Chevener tahun sebelumnya untuk dapat insight dan gambaran pertanyaan, bikin list ‘possible questions’ plus coba jawab sendiri, baca-baca berita soal UK dan Indonesia (terutama yang berkaitan dengan jurusan yang aku tuju), dan banyak doa. Hahaha. Sempat dengar kalau saat interview, biasanya untuk 1 issue/jurusan hanya 2-3 orang yang diundang – jadi kalau bukan aku yang terima beasiswa, maka orang sebelum atau setelahku yang dapat. Bukankah rasanya lebih perih kalau ternyata persentase terima/gagalnya lebih besar? Hueheu.

Proses interview biasanya cuma 30 menitan. Datang ke lokasi 15-30 menit sebelum jadwal akan sangat membantu, selain karena ada proses screening dari tim security, perlu juga waktu untuk menenangkan diri dan ngeringin keringat :p

Beberapa pertanyaan interview akan terkait essay yang kita tulis. Untuk detil model pertanyaannya bisa japri nanti kalau sudah dapat undangan interview yah 😀

  1. Proses Menunggu 2

Jangan sedih, abis interview ada proses menunggu lagi kira-kira 3 bulan. Di minggu ke-2 atau ke-3 Juni (timeline bisa saja berubah) akan dapat email kalau dapat beasiswa Chevening. Di proses ini, kamu akan dapat beberapa list dokumen yang harus disubmit untuk mendapatkan Final Award Letter (FAL) yang membuktikan bahwa kamu ‘sah’ mendapatkan beasiswa. Ada beberapa rekan yang kurang beruntung dan akhirnya tidak bisa mendapatkan, biasanya karena IELTS, LoA kampus, atau dokumen kesehatan (scan TBC).

  1. Proses Administrasi Final dan Menunggu 3

Semua dokumen yang dibutuhkan harus disubmit sebelum deadline. Menurutku pribadi dokumen yang dibutuhkan ga ribet. Yang perlu dicatat adalah, beberapa orang ‘ga mau rugi’ untuk test IELTS sebelumnya, jadi pas disuruh ngumpulin baru test. Kadang test center IELTS penuh di tanggal-tanggal itu jadi harus keluar kota (atau keluar negeri), atau akhirnya hasilnya kurang bagus dang a ada waktu buat ngulang test. Meski test IELTS ga harus disubmit saat pendaftaran dokumen di awal (bisa disusul saat dapat konfirmasi tahap akhir), lebih baik mulai test IELTS segera, itung-itung sebagai investasi karena cukup berguna untuk beberapa kebutuhan lainnya juga.

Proses menunggu untuk tiap tahap, Final Award Letter, Visa, dan tiket pesawat biasanya cukup membuat gundah. Penting banget di awal ini untuk paham bahwa kita harus bersabar dan percaya dengan tim Chevening dan Kedutaan Inggris di Jakarta, semuanya akan baik-baik saja.

Pendaftaran Beasiswa The Chevening Awards untuk tahun 2018/2019 sudah dibuka dan akan tutup tanggal 7 November 2017. Pendaftar tahun lalu se Indonesia ada sekitar 4400an (secara global ada 50.000an orang) dan dari Indonesia yang dapat ada sekitar 63 orang.

Starting #MyCheveningJourney in the University of Manchester

Alhasil, selamat untuk nanti yang dapat kesempatan menggunakaxn hastag #MyCheveningJourney di tahun depan. Buat yang belum dapat kesempatan, bisa jadi tahun depan atau mungkin bisa coba beasiswa/kesempatan lainnya. Selamat berusaha!

@yosea_kurnianto

Sowan ke Rumah Mbak Alissa: Mumpung Masih Muda, Benerin Polanya

Minggu lalu aku sempat pulang ke rumah di Temanggung. Di hari pertama aku di kampung halaman, tetiba terpikir untuk sowan ke rumah Mbak Alissa Wahid, putri dari Gus Dur, Presiden Republik Indonesia ke-4. Akhirnya aku coba kirim WhatsApp dan bertanya apakah beliau sedang berada di rumahnya yang di Jogja. Voila! WhatsAppku dibalas dan kita janjian ketemu di hari Minggu malam. Mbak Alissa Wahid memang salah satu sosok sumber pembelajaranku. Beberapa tahun lalu sempat juga berkunjung ke Sekolah yang didirikan beliau di Jogja, kemudian bertemu beberapa kali dalam berbagai kesempatan. Beruntung sekali aku, karena dalam kesibukan yang luar biasa, Mbak Alissa masih tetap membalas setiap WA-ku dan meluangkan waktu untuk ngobrol dengan remukan rempeyek kacang semacam diriku.

Nah, aku sampai di rumah Mbak Alissa pukul 8 malam. Beberapa perbincangan awal menceritaka aktivitas masing-masing setelah beberapa lama kita tidak bertemu dan berbincang. Banyak hal menarik yang aku tangkap dari cerita Mbak Alissa, mulai dari aktivitas beliau bersama komunitas Gusdurian yang tersebar di seantero-jagad hingga kesibukan beliau dalam Pengurus Besar NU dan program-program edukasi terkait ‘family resilience’ bersama Kementerian Agama. Dari dulu memang Mbak Alissa cukup konsisten di isu-isu yang digemari dan menjadi perhatiannya, paling tidak yang paling terasa adalah kebhinnekaan (keberagaman / diversity / religious pluralism) dan psychology keluarga (dan anak).

Kekonsistenan Mbak Alissa merebut perhatian saya malam itu. Maksudnya, saya yakin Mbak Alissa dapat banyak sekali tawaran untuk kerjain project A,B,Z – atau ikut di ajang politik sebagai pejabat A,B,Z. Pertanyaan saya di malam itu salah satunya: dari sekian banyak kesempatan itu, bagaimana Mbak Alissa memilih A dan B kemudian menolak C dan D? Apa yang menjadi parameter atau indikator sebuah kesempatan layak kita ‘jajal’ atau kita hindari?

Mbak Alissa bercerita bagaimana beliau tiap tahun membuat peta diri (self map), persis yang selama ini saya sudah coba lakukan juga. Beliau menunjukkan beberapa peta diri yang dibuat tahun lalu, untuk kemudian dapat memetakan peran dan prioritas untuk tahun berjalan. Prioritas tahun berjalan ini selalu harus harmoni dengan tujuan jangka panjang serta tujuan besar dalam perjalanan hidup. Penentuan tujuan-tujuan ini harus menjadi sebuah pola, agar kita secara sadar dapat mengelola diri untuk melangkah pada titik-titik yang penting dan perlu.

Selanjutnya, Mbak Alissa menerangkan bagaimana observasi beliau pada 2 tipe orang yang berbeda: principal based dan power based. Orang-orang yang menganut ‘principal based’, maka apapun yang dia kerjakan (termasuk menerima tawaran / kesempatan) akan menjadi kepuasan aktualisasi diri karena sesuai dengan prinsip-prinsip hidupnya, dalam hal ini sejalan dengan prinsip universal: kebaikan dan harmoni. Sebaliknya, mereka yang dalam jalur ‘power based’ akan melakukan apa saja (termasuk menerima atau mengusahakan tawaran / kesempatan) supaya dia menjadi ‘center of power’ dalam system di mana dia berada. Orang-orang dengan jalur ‘power based’ ini banyak sekali kita lihat dalam pemberitaan, self-centric dan mencari keuntungan sebesar-besarnya untuk diri sendiri tanpa mengindahkan hukum.

Aku pamit pulang saat jam menunjukkan hampir pukul 10 malam. Menjadi perenunganku secara pribadi ketika perjalanan pulang dari rumah Mbak Alissa: seberapa jauh aku sudah mengenal diriku, mengelola prioritas dan mengatur waktu, membangun prinsip-prinsip hidup yang memberi dampak positif untuk orang di sekitarku, serta selalu berusaha memberikan nilai tambah untuk system di mana aku berada. Obrolan ini cukup mengingatkanku untuk kembali menilik pola; baik pola pikir dan pola hidup. Pola yang baik akan menghasilkan kepribadian dan karakter yang baik, sehingga kita mampu menjadi manusia bermanfaat, bukan malah menjadi batu sandungan.

Have a nice weekend!

@yosea_kurnianto