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career advice / should i become a mechanic?


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carzbos
New User

Jun 30, 2009, 11:12 AM

Post #1 of 7 (8957 views)
career advice / should i become a mechanic? Sign In

sorry for the off topic thread - please suggest better places to put this, but i see some pros here and think you might have useful advice.

I wont go into the story too much unless there's some interest but the short version is:
I'm in my mid-30s and previously had desk jobs, but always had cars and tinkering projects filling my spare time
I'm looking to turn my hobby into a career for the personal satisfaction and goal to be more self sufficient when it comes to fixing my own cars

I am interested in restoration of classics and new technology/hybrids - probably mutually exclusive career directions, i know.

First question, is whether this forum/website is a good place to get advice of this kind - any others to recommend?
Second question, is how i might 'test' my fit to the career or be sure this makes sense for me, before committing to a 1-2 year school?

Other valuable perspectives you can share -- have you been through an early/mid life career change like this? have you regretted getting into the business? would you have approached your auto tech career differently? were you surprised by any aspect of this career?

Thanks for your valuable input, i'd be happy to share more details about myself if there's interest.

____________
Carzbos
2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
1987 Porsche 911 Coupe


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 30, 2009, 11:24 AM

Post #2 of 7 (8952 views)
Re: career advice / should i become a mechanic? Sign In

Although a highly qualified auto tech is one of the most employable people around these days, you won't become one in 1 to 2 years. It will take many years of experience before you can become competitive with other people in the business and the tool investment that you will need to make will exceed your first home cost.
I wouldn't discourage anyone that wanted to enter this trade, just be prepared for the type of commitment it will require and don't expect immediate results. The best plan would be to find a very experienced tech that you could work with as an apprentice. You will probably learn more from him than any school you attend.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

Jun 30, 2009, 11:27 AM

Post #3 of 7 (8949 views)
Re: career advice / should i become a mechanic? Sign In

carzbos; I got started the same way. Tinkering. Delivered parts for a parts store @ 17. Was offered a job as a tire buster in '70. Been stuck here ever since. LOL. It's a living. Nothing more, nothing less. Satisfying? Still wish I had gone into law enforcement. That was always my passion. The future of auto techs is definitely going to be in the hybrid/electric area, in my opinion. Not so much the knuckle busting of the past. Sure, there'll still be a need for replacing brakes,ect., but the true technicians are who will survive. Most community colleges have excellent automotive courses. To be honest, in my opinion...since you asked, there are a lot of other professions that I, personally, would consider before automotive. Maybe, I've been doing it too long; Burned out? But, at my age there's no going back, now. On the other hand, I guess if I didn't enjoy it a little bit, I wouldn't be here in this forum.Wink
Good luck on whatever your decision. (btw, I've been going through a mid-life crisis for 40 years)
Loren
SW Washington


carzbos
New User

Jun 30, 2009, 1:19 PM

Post #4 of 7 (8937 views)
Re: career advice / should i become a mechanic? Sign In

thanks for getting this in the right place
i appreciate the input and don't want to get into this naively
clearly, if you are on this board, you must enjoy your work enough to share your experience with others, so i'll take comments that reflect some burnout with a grain of salt :)

if mechanic work is not the first choice for many who have made it, i wonder why there seems to be so much interest. is it overly glorified on tv shows and are we brainwashed by sponsors? does the mystique and coolness of cars (like airplanes) overshadow a harsh reality? i'm in new england and inquires into the 2 programs near me seem like there are tons of young people going through training programs, and plenty of jobs out there. yet, loren and hammer's initial reactions are consistent with 2 others i've talked with -- honest and realistic, but not encouraging. so far the only people i've talked to who were excited by this idea are those who know nothing about the job.

i like the apprentice idea, and hope someone might be receptive enough to overlook potential liability issues. any opinions on dealership vs. independent or domestic vs import or an interesting specialty for getting good exposure?

thanks


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 30, 2009, 1:34 PM

Post #5 of 7 (8933 views)
Re: career advice / should i become a mechanic? Sign In

I don't regret my trade at all. I always had a job when others didn't. I just wanted you to know that it took years to get competitive and the learning never ends. I see many people give it a try but quit when they realize it wasn't as easy as everyone made it sound.

I good tech had gone through more training than a doctor. The human body hasn't changed in centuries but the car changes every year.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

Jun 30, 2009, 1:50 PM

Post #6 of 7 (8927 views)
Re: career advice / should i become a mechanic? Sign In

Have to agree with Hammer on this one. I've NEVER been without a job. Since I was 17. And that's a LONG time ago. LOL.
Loren
SW Washington


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 30, 2009, 9:11 PM

Post #7 of 7 (8921 views)
Re: career advice / should i become a mechanic? Sign In


carzbos
It's a passion - if you don't have that it won't be for you. I'm already outdated which happens fast but still work the sites. Hobby becomes a career. Strangely I suggest it's in your blood or not and don't force it. You'll know if the whole thing is for your or not. You can make a good living at a price. You go home filthy (usually) smelling like a tailpipe but still love it!

We (the world need new techs) just make the best choice you can for YOU!

T







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