If you’re a creative type like this writer and enjoy the sport of intellectual curiosity more than watching men pummel each other on the gridiron, then you will high-five Albert Rocker. Rocker played outside linebacker for the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Yellow Jackets football team and had only one year of eligibility training left when he decided to seek a career in technology as opposed to one in the, NFL.
Rocker played in a total of 38 games over his college career, including all 13 games of his junior season in 2010. He treated both pursuits with tenacity and discipline, waking up at 4:30 a.m. to work out with his football team and studying until after 11 p.m. He was set to be a starter if he returned for his last year of eligibility.
“I chose career longevity. It outweighed playing football and not knowing the state of my future,” offers Rocker, who was an honor roll student majoring in business management and balancing his football career with academics and internships to prepare him for the business world.
(The fact that there is an 100 percent chance of injury surely had an impact on his decision as well.)
Today, Rocker works specifically on the Premier Support team for Microsoft, helping customers with software performance and operation. After joining Microsoft this past July, he wasted no time becoming a member of the Blacks at Microsoft (BAM), an employee resource group dedicated to the interests of employees who self-identify as black, African, African American, West Indian, or of African descent.
“I knew about BAM before I received the job offer at Microsoft. I attended one of their events and had no idea that I would even interview for a position at Microsoft.
“It’s nice to have people behind you and to have a support system. You have an opportunity to collaborate with people who are familiar to you,” says Rocker.
What motivates Rocker?
“Success motivates me. I love setting goals for myself and competing to achieve them. There’s no better feeling than to win … working hard pays off.”
How does he set goals?
“I have a vision board and a dry-erase board. I am reminded about my goals every day. Last week, we had a kickoff meeting. I jotted down a goal that I wanted to achieve … receive the circle of excellence awards. I have set a time frame. I think I can manage and achieve that goal.”