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What do you do now?

Old 04-18-20, 02:35 AM
  #1  
ankurmenon
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What do you do now?

I'm searching for new career options. I've been wrenching for 15 years and I've finally realized I've slowly turned into the curmudgeonly jaded mechanic who dislikes his job. I don't hate it, there are lots of good parts about being a mechanic, but I'm sick of it. I've been in sales, service, been titled as "sales manager" and "service manager" and "general manager" of multiple shops. I've been around the bike shop block so to speak. Looking for the next step forward in life and I keep stumbling and not finding where to go.
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Old 04-18-20, 08:27 AM
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read: https://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Yo.../dp/1984856561

it will not give you the answer, but hopefully will provoke you to thought.

one of my take aways (paraphrased) = if you have an abundance of financial & emotional supports, you can go from A to D without a glitch. most of us have limitations, so we're inclined t go from A to B to C to … ad infinitum.

different jobs are part of our evolution as people. apparently you are cognizant of your well being enough to know when to make a change. at the risk of sounding glib, "follow your bliss". success comes in many forms, satisfaction being the main one. money, unfortunately the scorecard our society keeps, will follow. learning is cumulative, so just keep on it.

good luck!
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Old 04-18-20, 09:36 AM
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Become a mechanic in a different line of work?

I feel similarly as you. I've been turning wrenches in a different industry for nearly 25 years. Even though my primary income production for my employer is me turning wrenches, I also do sales, maintenance contracts, and web design/maintenance for the company.

My biggest problem is I'm really burned out of traveling. In my case I'd like to work in a place where the machines are brought to me. Years ago I had one service contract for about 1.5 years servicing machines all in one building, and it had its downsides, but at least I could leave my tools at work and pick a less mundane type of transportation to get there. I sure liked riding my last motorcycle to work during that time.

The pic below is a typical loadout of about 1/2 of my tools that I may have to roll several city blocks from my van. By the way, I love stairs so very much.


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Old 04-18-20, 09:46 AM
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Well in the bike field there's going over to the dark sides. Shop ownership or the supply side. All the abilities we use in repairing bikes cross over to many other fields (electrical, plumber, autos, medical ands nuke plants). But don't expect the human interactions to change. In fact the closer to the basic human need the field gets (home, food transportation) the greater the customer's expectations can get. After 45+ years in the LBS (15 as shop owner) I've had many co workers pass through the bike business and move on. Some were very glad and did find their true calling. Others still were jaded and listless. That parts up to you.

I have always suggest some career consoling to these coworkers. They are the pros at asking the right questions, listening to your answers and have had the range of experience in guiding many others (then we have). Andy (who really doesn't consider the other sides to be bad, just injecting some humor)
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Old 04-18-20, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ankurmenon View Post
Looking for the next step forward in life and I keep stumbling and not finding where to go.
Maybe something along the lines of racing team support, or factory sales rep.
Look here: https://bicycleindustryjobs.com/JobSearch

Dan
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Old 04-18-20, 01:12 PM
  #6  
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Dan- Right now the teams are trying to reduce their staff if at all possible. I would not suggest a long term faith in a field that is very volatile in the cash flow. Sponsors and brands are well known for changing their business plans. All it takes is a change in one or two positions in the company to have a different view to the benefit of supporting a team. But this is why I suggested a professional career consoler as they see the big picture better then those in the middle of a specific field do. Andy
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Old 04-18-20, 07:10 PM
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I started in shops ('77) then went into repping (several industry firms beginning in '87) and then back to school in ('02) for an IT certificate and hung on for ten years until retirement. Work is work, so find something you like.

Career counseling was not helpful or inspiring when I tried it.

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Old 04-18-20, 07:34 PM
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Trades. Plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc aren't going anywhere soon.
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Old 04-18-20, 08:18 PM
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Did computer repairs, sales, and service for the last eleven years. I've been burned by employers for the last time in that field, burned out and unemployed. Totally understand how TC feels. They hire you to do one job, and next thing you know they're dumping the workloads of people that have either quit or been fired on you and still expect you to do the original job as well as you ever had before, and get mad at you when you can't complete all of it in a given day! First computer shop I worked at was great the first couple years, then they dumped three additional job position duties squarely on me, and by the time they fired me for "poor job performance" I had been tasked with the workloads of five employees! They did me a favor firing me after eight years as my stress levels were beyond anything I care to ever experience again, but it hurt none the less as I liked really working there.

Second computer store/shop I was at I quit after a little over three years as it was a completely opposite experience in that I hated working there and the management team was almost entirely made up of scumbags that wouldn't hesitate to rip-off a customer. Final straw was when both the department manager and department supervisor positions became available in the same month and they promoted two of the most obnoxious and lazy people in the department into those positions. Day one of their rain I showed up for my shift, was taken to the office for a "one on one" with the new department manager and told to my face that I was the most named person in the department's positive online customer feedback for ten consecutive months running, but my revenue metrics sucked so I needed to stop being so nice to the customers. Yeah... and then people wonder why Geek Squad has a bad reputation. So I gave my two week notice that week and have never set foot inside of a Best Buy since that two weeks was up. But lo' and behold, places I've applied at have shocked me with informing me that my resume is wrong, stating that they were informed I was fired from Best Buy for thirty-straight days of "no call, no show".

So yeah, in the seventeen months since quitting Best Buy, which I absolutely do not regret doing, I tried to go independent and do computer repair, but it's a dead market. People are scared to death of hiring someone to work on their computer who doesn't have a storefront (thanks media). I had one customer the entirety of 2019 for computer repair, and he not only didn't pay me the rate I quoted him, he wanted to argue about me simply advising him to replace a obviously failing thirteen year old computer in his business office, that his secretary was complaining about. At that point I said screw-it, I make more money selling stuff on Ebay and don't have the pressure of being asked if I'm done yet every five minutes. Then also began refurb'ing and flipping bicycles on Craigslist. Both said resell markets are highly volatile, and my income last year sucked bad enough that I'm still looking for a regular job.
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Old 04-19-20, 02:34 AM
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this guide gives a general direction for job growth, so if anyone wants to pursue, there will be some reward: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
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Old 04-19-20, 06:25 AM
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Lawn care and landscaping seems to be a popular fall-back job around here.
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Old 04-19-20, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ankurmenon View Post
I'm searching for new career options. I've been wrenching for 15 years and I've finally realized I've slowly turned into the curmudgeonly jaded mechanic who dislikes his job. I don't hate it, there are lots of good parts about being a mechanic, but I'm sick of it. I've been in sales, service, been titled as "sales manager" and "service manager" and "general manager" of multiple shops. I've been around the bike shop block so to speak. Looking for the next step forward in life and I keep stumbling and not finding where to go.
If it were me, I'd get the training/education and become and electronics tech. Been there, done it. For me, it opened so many doors and raised my family. You can eventually branch out to computer or home networking innovations, entertainment systems, biological technology, automotive (big bucks here), HVAC installations, or simply become an innovator and do your own thing. For me, I eventually went into maintenance supervision, became a Engineering Specialist, and then the Manager, Maintenance Engineering Support. There are a million interesting choices, and when you fix something no one else could, your reputation skyrockets. But, it's all up to a lot of hard work and the ability to stick to it.

BTW, research any company before you take the bait on the hook. How have others fared with this company? What are their turnover rates? Is their pay what you are going to expect? Do NOT believe them when say advancement opportunities are great. Ask WHY advancement opportunities are great. Is it because they burn out their employees and they leave the company?

I've found the best companies to work for are the ones that are the hardest to get a job with. Persistence pays off here. Keep at them. Keep on trying and never take no for an answer. In fact, as a hiring manager myself, I kind of liked the people who were a pain in the rear and wanting a job. It showed tenacity.

Good luck!

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Old 04-19-20, 07:44 PM
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When I burned out on bicycle mechanics, I became an RN and worked in hospitals for the next couple decades. Now that I'm retired, I've been able to return to bicycle mechanics on my own terms, volunteering at a local charity bike shop.
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Old 04-19-20, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Lawn care and landscaping seems to be a popular fall-back job around here.
much like the field which I fell (construction), it gets tougher when you get older. I think the average age leaving the construction business is 33 and I lasted until 45 before going to matchbook college. credentialized many of my skills & taught me more new ones.

you don't want to be the 50 year old guy with a 30 gallon bucket of grass clippings on your shoulder.
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Old 04-19-20, 08:48 PM
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The last of the great salaried jobs are in Utilities, (Gas, Power, Water, Phone, Transportation, etc.) Government, or, large Multinational Corporations. We're really living in the big brother age now. The haves get salaries vacations & benefits. The have nots get hourly wages and not much more.
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Old 04-19-20, 09:28 PM
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How about opening your own bike shop? Now, running your own business can open up a whole can of worms of problems and headaches that you'd have to deal with. I would only recommend this in an area that has a decent labor market. But you get to call the shots. If you have a decent head and can figure out a budget, go for it. It really doesn't take too much $ to open the doors. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. If you have a passion for riding, make sure it won't take that away.

I speak from experience in this area
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Old 04-19-20, 09:35 PM
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Just guessing that medical technology repair might be a decent biz to get into, after the hullabaloo blows over, or perhaps before. There could be jobs with the local reps of the equipment makers (GE, etc.) or a position at a hospital or clinic network. There's likely to be more money in repairing million dollar gadgets, than thousand dollar gadgets. It might require a bit of training at your nearby tech school, or an employer willing to train you. A good diagnostician who can follow procedures is valuable. And your experience as a bike mechanic means people have trusted you for their safety, over and over again.

A friend of mine went from musical instrument repair, to diesel mechanic for the city bus service. Now he's got a union, retirement, etc.
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Old 04-19-20, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Just guessing that medical technology repair might be a decent biz to get into, after the hullabaloo blows over, or perhaps before. There could be jobs with the local reps of the equipment makers (GE, etc.) or a position at a hospital or clinic network. There's likely to be more money in repairing million dollar gadgets, than thousand dollar gadgets. It might require a bit of training at your nearby tech school, or an employer willing to train you. A good diagnostician who can follow procedures is valuable. And your experience as a bike mechanic means people have trusted you for their safety, over and over again.

A friend of mine went from musical instrument repair, to diesel mechanic for the city bus service. Now he's got a union, retirement, etc.
FWIW: I went from 12 years in the bicycle business to software testing to being a pharmacy technician. When they found out I knew something about computers and mechanical stuff they made me the administrator for the hospital's automated dispensing machines. (Think vending machines for drugs.) I'm pretty near indispensable now. I work in a 5 hospital system and my counterparts at the other hospitals come to me with their questions. In the last couple weeks we've been very busy preparing for COVID patients- thankfully we have not been overwhelmed. It's a very interesting time.

I work directly with the vendor's repair people to fix things that I can't do myself. The repair guys are pretty cool- very knowledgeable about computer hardware and their specialized parts and willing to do what it takes to get a malfunctioning machine back in service. The downside is that they are spread thin- they're mobile and on call 24 hours a day. They have told me that they can rack up 40 hours of overtime per week.
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Old 04-19-20, 10:17 PM
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Ankurmenon:
I’m curious what elements of the current setting you dislike? The work itself, (sounds as though you may be burned out a bit) and simply the bike shop environment? or the people you work with (co-workers & bosses as opposed to customers)? Also, although advice is completely free and easy to come by, it would be hard to make suggestions without knowing your circumstances. I’m wondering roughly your age- is college an option at this point, do you already have a degree, and if so, what field?
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Old 04-20-20, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
much like the field which I fell (construction), it gets tougher when you get older. I think the average age leaving the construction business is 33 and I lasted until 45 before going to matchbook college. credentialized many of my skills & taught me more new ones.

you don't want to be the 50 year old guy with a 30 gallon bucket of grass clippings on your shoulder.
Speaking of that, when looking at other job opportunities I'd see that wind turbine techs/inspectors were in demand. At 55 years old, I'm certainly not about to start in a line of work that requires a lot of climbing and rappelling.

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Old 04-20-20, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
. . . . 55 years old, I'm certainly not about to start in a line of work that requires a lot of climbing and rappelling.
'samatta sweet pea, can't ya take it?
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Old 04-20-20, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by southpier View Post
'samatta sweet pea, can't ya take it?
5 or 6 days a week every week? Nope.
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Old 04-21-20, 04:36 PM
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I think the first question is whether you hate turning wrenches of any sort and don't want to do that in any industry. If you still like the mechanical aspect of work, then you might want to look into working for a city or county. There will always be parts of any job that you will hate, but there is a different atmosphere working for the government. And the benefits are good.

Our son went to school for HVAC and then worked doing maintenance for a pharmaceutical company for a while. From there he got a job working for a city in Arizona. Summers are brutal, but it has been a great job for him. He likes to get in there and get things done, so they pretty much leave him alone. And doing HVAC in AZ is a job he can have for as long as he wants to do it.

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Old 04-21-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
When I burned out on bicycle mechanics, I became an RN and worked in hospitals for the next couple decades. Now that I'm retired, I've been able to return to bicycle mechanics on my own terms, volunteering at a local charity bike shop.
I hadn't thought of that, but repairing people is certainly a worthy pursuit.
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