From the age of five, when I first took apart my Lionel Train locomotive, I’ve been fascinated with engines and motors – the louder the better. Anything that was mechanical in nature totally captured my imagination.
No wonder I went into the automotive repair and service industry!
Looking back now, with retirement knocking at my door, I can see that it was an excellent career path for me. This industry may have its ups and downs, but if you know your way around an engine, you are assured a decent living.
Here’s what I love most about it.
It is one of the most technologically advanced industries in the world. There’s always something new coming out to challenge us. We get to find out first-hand how the latest technology is impacting our lives.
It’s never boring.We have the opportunity to work on many different makes and models every year. From Fords and Chevys to Bugattis and Bentleys, there’s every kind of vehicle imaginable… and we get to play with them.
Technicians are always in demand. Not only can we relocate anywhere in Canada, we can pretty much work anywhere in the world. There’s always someone who needs a skilled technician. If you lose a job, there’s always another one waiting for you. And if you grow tired of working on cars, you can move on to service writing. We bring a wealth of knowledge to that job!
You will make a fair wage.Sure, you can always wish for more, and there are plenty of jobs that pay better. But because we’re in such demand, you’re assured a fair wage for your labor. And, remember, not all of our compensation comes in the form of a paycheque. Just think of all the money you’ve saved working on our own car over the years. I bet you’ve never been stranded at the side of the road either, or had a vacation ruined by a broken-down car. Lots of people have. Those are our customers.
Job fulfillment.We can take tremendous pride in a job well done. Just watch people as they leave your shop with smiles on their faces. We put their cars back on the road… and doesn’t it feel good! I’ve been stopped many times when I was out in public by customers who just wanted to say thanks.
It’s a cool job.How many times have you been at a party and as soon as you tell someone you’re an auto technician everyone becomes interested in what you have to say. I’ve been a crew chief for a NASCAR dirt car, and a team member on a world record setting drag boat. I’ve travelled the country on someone else’s wallet, and been treated like a celebrity the whole time. I’ve even had a job offer from the biggest name in drag racing (stupidly I turned it down!).
Kids and adults alike have treated me like a super hero, all because I decided to be a mechanic when I was five years old.
It was a career that allowed me to raise three children, and live a comfortable life with my wife and family.
So next time you’re angry at work, stop a second and think of just what you have going for you. It may be enough to drive those dark clouds away.
Tom Hines has held a wide variety of jobs in the automotive aftermarket. He currently lives in Vancouver, B.C.