We sat down with Tim Albert, an active and important member of Georgia’s Deaf community and member of our Executive Committee, who graciously shared his story with us. We thought his journey was a great one to share with the Pathway community. It’s one of success but, like many of us, marked by an unrealized dream and unexpected twists and turns. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into Mr. Albert’s work life serving D/HH children throughout the state of Georgia!
What do you do for a living?
Currently, I am the Student Life Coordinator on the GSD Campus.
Tell me about how you got into your line of work.
After obtaining a Master’s degree from Gallaudet University in 2004, I received an email from one of GSD’s staff members saying that there was a social work position opening at GSD. I was set up to come to GSD for a job interview. I drove to Cave Spring from College Park, Maryland. It was my first time visiting GSD’s campus. I was nervous when I met with GSD’s Interview Committee Team; however, I did my best to answer all interview questions. When I got back to Maryland, I checked my email and received good news that I got the job! I moved to Georgia in 2005. Four years later in 2009, I applied for the Student Life Coordinator position and got the job.
Do you like your job?
Yes. It’s challenging and rewarding.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to become a truck driver because my late uncle taught me and my little brother how to drive a truck. I love the feeling and thought of being high off the road and traveling all over the USA. Unfortunately, due to my deafness, I had to go with my second career choice. That was my big dream. Good news- I heard that all states in America have allowed deaf and hard of hearing persons can drive trucks (http://www.nad.org/news/2013/2/dot-recognizes-deaf-and-hard-hearing-truck-drivers)!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
At first, I thought that I wanted to work as a computer operator but it was such a boring job! It was hard for me to think of what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was not until my early college years that I felt drawn to the Social Work field. It definitely is the ideal career for me!
What lessons has your work life taught you?
There are so many lessons I have learned though my years as Student Life Coordinator. To name a few important lessons; helping resolve conflicts between staff members and between staff members and students (very challenging at times), learning to be more diplomatic, role-modeling desired communication/interpersonal skills and being open, flexible and prepared for the unexpected.
If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?
I would love to drive a truck.
Do you plan on retiring? If so, when? How do you feel about it?
Not yet, too young- smile!
Do you have any favorite stories from your work life?
I never forgot about a former female student who did not like the new dorm rules. The female student and I didn’t see eye to eye on things, but I continued to work closely with her because I could see so much potential in this student. She has the drive and the intelligence to be successful like me but needed a great deal of support and encouragement. I liked challenging her. One day, she approached me and told me that she kicked my new car because she did not like me. I asked her to show me where she kicked my car. She pointed at a blue car. I told her that car was not mine. I laughed and she felt embarrassed. She then ended up laughing and knew she was going to get in trouble with the person who owned the “injured” blue car.
Thank you, Tim, for your openness and willingness to share your story! We appreciate all you do for GSD and Georgia Pathway!