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First off let me tell you i hate my job......I mean i really hate it. I been working with this company for eight years and it has become a daily prison sentance. No i'm not going to turn into a Disgruntled employee and get violent.....The money is good but nothing to brag about. I just want out!!!!!
I have been thinking about getting into the automotive field. I have been spinning wrenches since i was 5 and i really enjoy it. I have been doing alot of side jobs for freinds and thier freinds etc. for a while now so i can supplement my money pits. Just basic stuff like Clutches,CV's, Timming belts, Brakes. You get the picture...
So heres the question, What can a Man like myself start out making as a first time "Professional" Mechanic. I did go to a tech school for a while in high school for auto mechanics but I have learned much more on my own or so it seems. I just have a Cirtificate of tranning hours, Not any kind of ASE or anything. Another thing i was thinking if i did this type of work everyday would it get boring. Anyway thanx in advance for any comments or sugestions. This will be a big change for me since what i do now has nothing to do automechanics but I'm ready to flip burgers at this point. So I can kiss my job good bye!!!!!!!!!


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Wow. I can understand this but I went exactly the oppisite direction. I was a auto tech for 20 years, had my own shop and worked for others. I guess all I can be here is a devil's advocate.

After several years working on other peoples greasy broke down cars I got realy tired of it. It wasn't fun anymore, it was work. My own projects got pushed to the back of paying jobs so I could turn a buck. When I had a chance to work on my own, I didn't realy have a good time, at least doing the actual work, cause I always had some other paying job waiting and some customer on the phone.

I worked on high end forign exotics and custom rods. This sounds like the exciting life. Yes, it's better then slamming clutches in old Toyotas, but you know what, an old greasy Mercedes is no picknic either.

So, I'm not trying to dissuade you from becoming an auto tech. But be real about that job also. It's work.

My one sugestion I would give you would be to specialize in one thing. Pick something and become realy good at it. Engines, auto trans, gear set-up etc. If you do that and become THE guy that does that, you can do pretty good. Start that before you quit your day job and buy all the tools for that particular specialty. It's a whole lot more personaly satisfying then having to know everything about everything and keeping up on the cascading new tech that comes down the line every year. Also, if you are a gear man, working on your own engines, doing paint etc. will stay new and fun and visa-versa.

When I went to work doing what I do now, I fell back in love with building cars. I enjoy it. It is fun again. That's why I got into it in the first place.

Hal
Love hard, drive fast, wear your seat belt.

PS, thats's my 'bird...... My Mustang is too ugly to take pictures of yet........*G*.

http://www.teleport.com/~cosa/bird2.jpg
 

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I felt the same way about my job 4 years ago. The company was good, the pay was good, but I was bored. I managed to do the the "impossible". For the same company, I went from flying a desk and shuffling paper to being a power plant operator/mechanic. The old saying goes, be careful what you ask for because you might get it! In my case it has been a mixed blessing. The work certainly challenged me, but now, along with the great money, etc. comes lousy work hours. My advice, think very carefully about what you really want, preferably when you are not miserable about where you are at. Then, if it still seems like a good idea, go for it.

Good Luck.

Pam
 

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Well, you could do like me and give up the security of that weekly paycheck. But if you become one of the "self-employed", you'll quickly find out that you have to make nearly twice the money to be at the same level you were when you worked for "those lousy thieves". The upside is you get to work at a something you really like, where you're on call 24-7, with no real time away from it.....Hmmmm, that's an upside?

I really love the "self-employed" thing. That really means that you'll work for anyone else for a few bucks every now and then....lol

Actually, I really enjoy what I do....."It's way beyond just hooking up stereo speakers, sir. That why it costs so much".

Dang! Just when I got used to being "strange", I became a "newbie". Now I'm a "tire kicker"....thump, thump.....he he
 

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I'm not a professional mechanic and never have been. But I have been through a career change and my older brother has been a mechanic + bodyman his whole working life. So take my comments in that context.

Bob (my brother) is 55 and he is bone tired of crawling around on cold cement floors working on cold sheet metal or mechanical parts. He is, at heart, a craftsman but the shop owners he works for are not; their priority is to get the job out the door and bring the next insurance job (or repair job) in. Meanwhile, Bob gets paid an hourly rate (not flag) and has to supply his own tools. I have tried many times to get him to go into business for himself because he is so good at doing top-quality restoration work, but he doesn't have the business skills and I live too far away to help him run the business. Unless you think you could be an independent businessman, you need to think long and hard about doing this work long-term. Part of that assessment process is to examine why you hate your current job and see if, generically, the same elements would or could exist in a new career. If it's stuff like you hate your boss, change jobs not careers. You'll find bosses to hate in every profession. If it's the work you do, why don't you like the work? Is it boring and repetitive? Any new career can become that over time.

When I made my career change, I was leaving management in 1990 to start a career as a PC Technician. I'd been dabbling with PC's since before there was an IBM PC and enjoyed it. Now, 11 years later I'm a senior manager again but overseeing high-end UNIX server and storage systems supporting global business applications in a large corporation. At the time of the transition, however, I took a 35% cut in pay because I knew I needed to change direction. It's paid off and I have more than made up the pay loss over the years, but it also taught me that I have skills that naturally draw me into management. What are your natural skills (as opposed to interests) and where have they drawn you? I don't know your age, so I don't know if you'll have a sense of that but it's something to think about.

BP
1969 Mach 1
1965 A-Code Convertible
 

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Hi Hal....great post and great advice for anyone entering the automotive field....

I was just discussing with Renee last night the difference between pursuing a career out of the pleasure it gives vs the money it makes....

Very difficult in these competitive times to retain the desire for an avocation when the pressures to succeed and impress are so great...

Sometimes it means being poor, like I am right now....*G*...but I don't want to be a slave to my business...

BTW....check out a little work I did below...

http://www.jps.net/binay/webdocs/Hal01.JPG

You remind me a bit of one of my old racing buddies....but a lot more intelligent and articulate...
It's good to have a master wrencher here...hey, that would be a good nickname for you...Bob??

See ya!

Pat
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I really do not have much to add to what everyone else has said. Is it the work or the people that bother you? If it is the people just change jobs. If you are good at what you do someone will snap you up quickly.

Working on cars because you want to is different then because you have to. It is the difference between putting on the new tires and shiny rims and changing a flat in the rain in the dead of night. Working on my Mustangs is great except when it is a repair. I replaced the oil pump shaft a few times last summer and I can't really say that I would not rather be doing something else.

As for being self employed I have been there. I really never had trouble finding work but the health insurance issue finally got me. You really do need to earn a lot more than you did before to just break even. You have accountants, lawyers. employment taxes that you didn't pay yourself before and marketing time.

Sit back. Take a deep breath and think about what is really troubling you.
 

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Hey Pat! Thanks for the kind words. I wasn't sure I got the idea across without it sounding like a total bummer, which it's not......... *G*.

Thanks for the picture work, I lost my tan?................. *LOL*??

Hey, check your messanger, I have an idea, uh ohh!

Hal
Love hard, drive fast, wear your seat belt.

PS, that's my 'bird...... My Mustang is too ugly to take pictures of yet........*G*.

http://www.teleport.com/~cosa/bird2.jpg
 

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A lot of good advise already! And although I'm nowhere near being an automotive techie, I have been self employeed for the last ten years and at one point during that time was foolish enough to try and run two businesses at the same time. Even though successful at both, Thank Goodness I came to my senses and sold one of the businesses before I pulled every last hair in my head out!. As Kelly mentioned being self employeed is a 24/7 job. It seems there is always something that needs attention.

I do have a good friend that started out pretty much the same as you have mentioned, with courses in high school and doing side jobs. He pretty much stuck to Mustangs and Cougers, but would do others for the right price. He eventually built a small shop in the back of his house and worked out of that for several years, while still holding on to his day job. It finally go to the point where he quit his regular job and rented a shop. Over the last several years his business has grown and instead of renting, he recently purchased the shop next door and is continuing to grow.

He knew what he wanted to do, and laid out a game plan. Instead of quiting his day job and jumping into the unknown head first, he gradually moved in a little at a time. He now runs a very successful Mustang restoration & Repair business, His specialty is mustangs but I've seen him work on anything from chevys to cobras. And now that he has a staff of help, he chooses the jobs he wants to do.

Not everyone can come out of it as successful as he, but if you take it slow, become known for a specialty (as stated in an earlier post) and have a game plan laid out, I don't see why you couldn't succeed.

Doug Whisenant

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Other posts have summed up very well what you need to consider before jumping.

If you have decided that's what you want to do, work up a timetable. Don't just leap, unless you have some serious cash saved up.

First, you say you have had some training but not a formal ASE certificate. That's a place to start---why not get one? Find a vocational school that will let you study nights/weekends, maybe your local community college, and start studying. It will take some time, but it will give you a goal, and the motivation to stick it out doing what you're doing. It may help you to put up with a job you hate as long as you know there is a doorway out coming up.

Second, talk to some shops in your area. Find out what they think you should have in your background. Just drop in when it looks like things are slow, and chat. Some of them may not have time for you, in which case walk out, but you'll probably find some happy to talk.



Jerry

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I have always loved working on cars, so when I was in high school I decided to work as a part time Tech for Goodyear and full time during the summers. The work got boring and monogamous to the point where I didn't even want to work on my mustang project (kinda like marriage lol j/k). Basically any field you go into will get boring given the time, in my opinion...

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If I'm right, you work for our uncle in dc,right? If so, I've been his slave for twenty years and am counting down to retirment, and I know the type of a-hole he is. You bust your can to make the boss look good to those above him, and get no thanks for when all is great, but it's your fault if some goes wrong. It's that way every where, read the post from everyone, take a little a/l and go fishing, get drunk,and thank it over for while, get drunk again, and when you are really bored with that,go back to work. Life's a bitch,ain't it?

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