Hi, I'm Debbie Nol, and I married a car guy. My 14 years of working at Arie Nol Auto Center has been an incredible journey, building amazing relationships with customers and learning so much from our experienced technicians.
Now I'm launching a blog to share what I've learned about cars and some of my most memorable customer stories. Hopefully you will find my blog both helpful and entertaining!
I've always been amazed by the damage that can happen inside an engine compartment or on the suspension of a vehicle. The technicians always let me know when they have some car part carnage for me to take a picture of before they repair it.
We’ve all heard the term ‘grease monkey’. I never thought about it until I married an automotive technician. If I hear it used now, it irritates me. Here’s why.
I know how much education, intelligence and hard work it takes to excel in this field. As with any other career, there are varying degrees of aptitude. Some people are born with the natural ability to comprehend the complex systems that run today's vehicles. Through constant education, they are able to maintain and repair essentially “computers on wheels.” They may have started out learning at their father’s side in the garage. They may have disassembled an engine because they knew through trial and error they'd be able to fix it and have it back on the road. These are the technicians that love the challenge of their job and enjoy the constantly changing technology.
I do not have this capability. I've learned a lot and understand a fair amount of how and why your vehicles run. I can identify many parts and their function. I have never taken anything apart or cared to. I read a lot about the industry, cars, etc. but don't ask me to fix your engine. We’ll both be very sad by the end of the ordeal.
The automobile industry is suffering from a severe lack of qualified technicians. I think because many times people don't see it as a viable career for a student contemplating their future. They should. If your child or someone you know likes to take everything apart or has an interest in cars and how they run, automotive technician should be an option for them. It isn't the low- paying, no skill, dirty job people picture.
Spending a day or two at several different repair facilities as a job shadow is a good idea. Checking out different educational opportunities is key. It's rare that you'll be hired without some type of education in automotive technology.
Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life!
I was speaking to a young woman who is a senior in high school. Her vehicle’s check engine light illuminated on her dashboard and she stopped by to have us check into it. While a technician was checking the vehicle, we had a conversation about finding a college. She has been participating in college visits to find one that suits her. She had visited the college my daughter attended, and we spoke about that as well as some of her upcoming visits to other colleges.
It was interesting because I had been reading about finding your strengths as it applies to the working world. The phrase I've heard lately is, “That’s in my wheelhouse.” It means that it's something which is within your area of expertise. I always thought it had to do with boats but after checking, found that it is a baseball term meaning a ball pitched right where you want it. You're most likely to hit the ball if it's in that area.
The customer I was speaking to was saying she wasn't sure what she wanted to pursue in college. You're fortunate if you know what career you want to pursue at eighteen years old, but it is more the norm to not know what you want to be doing five days a week for the next forty- some years after graduation.
Our technicians and service writers know that repairing cars and working with customers is ‘in their wheelhouse.’ They all enjoy learning and advancing. The challenge of new technology is something they enjoy. It interests me how each of them came to the realization that this is what they wanted to do. Being a good technician isn't something you fall into and decide to stick with usually. The good technicians have a real interest in cars and tend to pursue it even if they’re off the clock. It really is a passion.
I'm thankful to work with people who love what they do. I learn from them all the time. They're always willing to answer a question and I usually am shown the parts, etc., so I can accurately describe it, whether to a customer or for some other reason. Sometimes for my blog post.
Is what you do ‘in your wheelhouse?’ If you have high school or colleges students, helping them make those big decisions and hopefully pursue their passions is important. People who love what they do excel and enjoy their work.