What is driving Tim’s efforts to become a college graduate at age 39?

The driving force in Tim's decision to finish his college degree was not only to put himself in a better position to start his new dream career as an IT professional, no it was also his wish to one day become an IT consultant and offer his services to businesses and private costumers alike.  Back in the early 1990’s Tim had this funny feeling that if he didn’t jump on the bandwagon and learn more about Information Technology (IT), it was going to be too late.  During the same time though Tim was at odds with his decision to “make it” as an American living abroad, looking for his place in the German society, and his desire to finish college.  While this struggle was going on Tim, who was already married, after leaving the active U.S. Army, came to realize that in order to make in the German employment market he would have to be a certified professional (which in my opinion makes the German employment market too rigid).  This meant that finding a job in Germany would be difficult if he couldn’t prove that he had successfully completed a three-year occupation certification program or apprenticeship [Ausbildung].  It really doesn’t matter what type of career field you decide to get into, the difference in the salary of a certified professional and non-certified worker could be quite large, depending of course on the job. It just wasn’t going to work out the way he wanted it to; he would have to put his dreams on hold until he could make a living for his family and himself.

Sometime in May 1992 Tim went to the German employment agency [Arbeitsamt] to meet with a career counselor, who told him that considering his circumstances he should complete an apprenticeship as brick mason or builder.  Tim’s circumstances, well what the counselor was saying was this, because he couldn’t speak and write German well enough, and he was married and needed the money; the brick mason apprenticeship pays the most and there is not much writing involved in the schoolwork. Later Tim will look back at this moment and ask himself why he let the consultant talk him into becoming a Mason.  The schoolwork wasn’t hard and if it weren’t for the deployment with Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia Tim would have completed this three-year apprenticeship in two years. Tim completed the course with a B+ average, which would have been better if it hadn’t been for Uncle Sam’s calling to perform a military deployment that caused him undo stress.

Two deployments and three day jobs later its 2006, through the experiences Tim gained during the deployments realizes again what he is really capable of. Tim is now 37 years old, he and his wife Elke have two children, Benjamin, Christopher, and Kiara is on her way. Tim had a hard time keeping his job a brick mason, and in 1996 was laid-off and after a small housing market recession was over Tim was never called back to work at Engelhardt Bau again.  Although Tim was grateful to this company for the apprenticeship Tim believed that the reason for his not being called again was because the company owner wouldn’t cooperate with Uncle Sam and didn’t have an understanding for the amount of time required of  the U.S. Army Reserve.  In 1997 Tim started working the swing shift as an uncertified chemical production specialist in a fertilizer production plant in North Hessen, called Kali und Salz GmbH. Although this job pays good it also requires substantial sacrifice, and Tim, unlike his colleagues, doesn’t stop dreaming about finishing college and finally doing something that he likes doing, instead of doing what he must to guarantee him and his family’s livelihood. This job would become stale and monotonous without any promotion in sight.

God was working hard in Tim’s life, and Tim felt a calling to become a U.S. Army chaplain. This decision would turn out to be a big mistake, because Tim didn’t think it very important to consult the family about what being a U.S. Army chaplain meant. Tim made his decision to study theology with Southern Christian University (now Amridge University) and during summer semester of 2006 Tim has a change of heart.  His newfound drive to become a chaplain comes to a screeching halt as his family realizes that as a U.S. Army Chaplain he will be gone most of the time, in those parts of the world where a chaplain is needed – in the combat zones. After taking a semester-long break to re-evaluate which direction his academic endeavor would take him.  The hard part of getting started with college again has past, there was no turning back now for Tim. During this break Tim saw himself as if he were at the crossroads and all he had to do was take the right pathway.

The though of becoming his own boss someday in the IT field as a consultant was rekindled. In the spring semester of 2007 Tim had changed his major from theology to business administration. He wanted to find out all he could about being boss, leader, manager, and knowledge worker. He set a course to strengthen those skills that he gained from learn-it-yourself books with college academic support – only this time for credit toward a BS degree in business administration with concentration in information systems management (MIS).

Over the next two years all of the research that Tim has conducted has a linking theme of starting and managing a small e-businesses.  The goal of his research was to explain what was needed to get “Homemadestuff” up and running as an internet marketing and Web space service provider.  This founding idea behind this business was to provide services and a Web space for all those people who love to create and sell home made stuff from home.  That’s why Tim has not given up, that’s why Tim has taken this academic endeavor through the hardest of times.  I am sure that Tim will do what he set out to accomplish, he has been know for following through on endeavors that he thinks are worthy to pursue.     

Following are a list of research papers and how they relate to Homemadestuff: