- Mar 7, 2002
Oh man that sucks!! And I know what you mean about some of that too. Seems I'm always the first person called when someone has an issue with their car with an unexpressed expectation that I'll do the work. At least it used to be that way anyway, until I moved like 1000 miles away.... I still get calls, but usually more for advice. It's one of the reasons I'm glad I stopped pursuing that career path when I was young. I didn't want to get burned out doing what I really like doing and I feel that that's exactly what would've happened. "Do what you love" they say - I guess it's true in some respects, but man it can get tiring!!
My advice for everyone thinking about getting into the business of working on cars is "don't".I give my kids advice to 'do what they're good at, and that will pay the bills' -- save what you love for a hobby. Mike Rowe (the Dirty Jobs guy) has a great speech on the topic. When I was younger I tried my hand at being a professional mechanic. It was exhausting, and mundane, and it was a sweat-shop environment. 15 minutes for a 4-tire change with balancing and including the test drive. Was very different from working on my own car, at my own pace, with a cold one waiting for me when I was ready for a break. No matter what you do for work, you'll eventually get tired of it -- if it didn't suck, they wouldn't pay you to do it. Would have come to hate working on cars with a passion if I'd have stuck with it. Still love the hobby, even though I'm also the family repair man.
After you've done it awhile, you're so jaded about cars that even getting to drive a twin-turbo V8 monster wit massaging seats (Mercedes S550) does nothing for you. You get to the point that you hate working on everything, and wish you'd spent the $50-100k a good tech has spent on tools to go to school and be an engineer so you could've been the college-educated pencil-pushing prick that thought internal waterpumps were a good idea instead of the poor that has to fix it.
Throw in the miserable working conditions, the constant exposure to carcinogens, and the stress of flat-rate pay, and well... I hate it. I hate cars.