A Case for the Trades - Why I Wrench
How I went from aspiring engineer to automotive technician.
Most adolescents nowadays are brainwashed into believing that college is the only way to succeed in the modern world. Within this mindset, trades are left behind. Those that keep the world running are forgotten; left behind like an unwanted pet.
On multiple occasions, I was told that I was "too smart" to work on cars, or that it was a waste of my brain. Ever since I was in middle school, I was hell-bent on becoming an engineer. It's what I had been told I should pursue, and as I looked into it more it just made sense.
High school came around, I was on the path of pursuing that field. I went to a school that focused on technology and arts; I was there on the technology side of things. I felt like I belonged where I was.
With the school also focusing on arts, I started to dive into those fields. A graphic design class here, a photography class there, I expanded my horizons. During my sophomore year, I picked up a camera during one of my graphic design classes and started capturing the environment surrounding me. The instructor of the class saw what I had created, and encouraged me to pursue it more. This got me out of the mindset that I was bound to engineering; it taught me that I had more in me that I didn't know about.
My early captures weren't much to rave about, but it opened me up to a new world.
Once I hit my junior year and had a car of my own, I had a small tool kit in hand and was wrenching. I came to a realization; I enjoyed what I was doing. I was quick to learn. I could make this into a career.
I started looking into a path to take once I graduated. There was a multitude of options ranging from apprenticeships to fast track programs at local community colleges. I decided on trying to get a job at a local dealership and work my way up from the bottom.
Before I graduated, I had a part-time job at a quick lube place, which served as a foot in the door come time to apply at dealerships. I had some sort of experience, a way to sell myself to a potential employer.
Come September of 2016, I found a job opening at a local Chevrolet dealership. I applied, not expecting much. A day later, I got a call that they wanted to interview me. I was ecstatic; this was an opening to the bigger world of automotive that existed, one that I had my doubts on.
The interview went well, I got an offer, and I took it. I was finally out of the world of shady oil change places, and into what I considered the real world.
Three months into employment at the Chevy dealership; the group which encompassed it and a few other local dealers opened a Subaru store. I had been working as a lube tech for the most part, some apprenticing here and there, but I had a love for the weird Japanese automaker. I transferred stores, and found where I felt I belonged.
Time went by, I advanced in the field, and they sent me to training for the brand. This worked out great, I was in no debt to schooling and I was doing what I love. I was learning more and more; I had a path that I wanted to continue on.
Classes consisted of teardowns of engines, transmissions, along with other instructed training.
Everyone's heard one of two quotes: "do what you love, and money will follow", or "do what you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life".
The first of those can absolutely be true. It's what I have found to be true. The second one? Not so much. You are absolutely still working; in a case like mine where the work is a different sort of automotive from what you are paid to do, you have to consciously separate your at home mindset from your at work mindset.
I prefer to follow the words of Steve Jobs: "the only way to do great work, is to love what you do". I feel this fully encompasses how working within your passion really is. There will be days where you question your choice of turning a passion into a career; there will be days where you get burnt out of that same passion.
But in the end, you did love what you do, and that passion is still within you. With that passion, you obtain greatness in the work you do. Trades are still a legitimate job, no matter what you are told. You aren't too smart for a trade. If you love it, pursue it and don't let anyone tell you differently.