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International Automotive Technicians Network
Dying breed
Posted to Open Discussion Forum on 7/23/2014 17 Replies

I think Ive realized that I'm part of a dying breed amongst my generation. I just turned thirty last week which forced me to realize decisions I made in my past and how my decisions have changed my future. I graduated high school in 2002 from columbine, from there i went to college to become a history teacher. To pay for my education i worked as a mechanic, it put me through school and funded my adventure lifestyle. I became a whitewater raft guide for 4 summers and fell in love with the outdoors. Then the summer was over and i had to go back to college and finding a real job. As a kid I was drawn to anything with an engine, at 13 i took apart my dads snowblower to make a mini bike...he wasnt too impressed when he saw all the pieces all over his garage...but boy was i the king of the road. I later found out how to bypass the governor with a paperclip and my best friends collar bone suffered because of it. This was the path that paved my way to being a tech and shop owner.

Now i don't see kids on mini bikes or gokarts or dirt bikes. No gopeds. I dont even see kids starting up lawn mowers.. Just kids so enthralled in their cell phones and social media that they dont see the real social world around them. Im not saying that kids need to be tinkering on internal combustion engines or riding around like hoodlums on rickety rust buckets, but it couldnt hurt. Adventure and hard work are traits that are slipping from our grasps. When everything is at your finger tips its hard to want to reach out further. My cell phone remembers numbers, keeps me updated on friends lives and sends me dumb cat videos without me doing anything. My dad remembers everyone's phone number and every number he needs to call. That trait is lost. Im lucky i know my own number.

What im getting at is kids/teens/20's don't want to be automotive technicians. Why??? too dirty? too tough? i dont know. My friends think its crazy that i spend 100's on specialty tools that i may only use a few times; or scan tool updates that cost twice my first car; a VW bug that i turned into a baja. The entry pay is not enough to justify schooling, the cost of tools, or the famine that comes with flat rate. People look at us as just nuts and bolts guyb nut what they dont realize is cars now are more complicated that the first shuttle to the moon. Every year models change, new emissions standards, new modules etc. and we have to keep up or get lost with carbs. In the job section every shop is looking for a good tech with a good work ethic and tools, but only receive a few lack luster responses. Why?

Are all the good tech taken? What are ways to create a better future for techs? The top techs in shops i worked in were either fed gravy or fed the dreaded intermittent problem. The ladder of the techs usually left the automotive field to something where his/her time is paid for the work and diagnostic they did. How do bring new techs into the industry? on the job training is so difficult and most of the high schools in denver have completely cut out automotive from their course list. Is their a better pay scale for the customer, shop and tech than the flat rape system? How do we create a culture of professionals passionate about fixing cars? Sorry about the rant but i dont want to see this art form fall by the wayside.

John Buschmann
Buschmann's Autowerks
Englewood, Colorado, USA

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