Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ten minute interview with potatoes

It was over thirty years ago. I had spent the night being bitten by mosquitoes and was the only idiot wearing a tie and a jacket for an interview.

It was my first interview. There were 50 candidates for 2 vacancies and all to be interviewed in a day. I do not recall anyone being interviewed for more than 10 minutes.

My turn came and I felt like an ass-hole. The Vice-Chancellor spent at least 5 minutes of the 10 wondering whether I was eligible. I had a Bachelors degree (Summa cum laude) and a PhD. However, the minimum requirements were a 2nd Class Masters. I did not have one. I had post-doctoral assignments in University of Helsinki, Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and was a post doc at IIT, Kanpur, at the time. Oh, well - may be I had to write to Northwestern U. to send me a Master's degree as well.

My frustration was 'eased' by a friend. He said that the potatoes will get to know you. Then you will get a job. He elaborated further. Just as we put potatoes in every vegetable, some professors are in every selection committee.

I did not take a teaching assignment until 25 years later. But that is another story.

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