Chasing your passions ...

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iantm's picture
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Joined: Apr 2 2005
Posts: 709

I spent about 10 years as a professional "IT Guy". In that time, it started out as something I loved, but as time wore on and I got to see the corporate world for what it was - I burned out. After my last layoff in March of 2009, I found that between a lack of work for an IT guy, lack of desire to do IT work, and frustration with the direction the industry was heading in - I decided to leave. I managed to get my foot in the door at a local auto repair shop - learned the trade, got a grant to go to school to learn the trade in more depth, and build a new career.

Right now, I'm a year into my new career as a mechanic. I'm presently a technician at a BMW dealership, and I have never been happier. The work is satisfying, the people are great, and I am doing what I love. The fact that the cars I work on are awesome doesn't hurt. Are they perfect - by no means, but if they were - I wouldn't have any work to do.

See, when I was a little boy - I loved cars, like most boys do. I used to tinker with my bicycles, and wanted to be a mechanic when I grew up. Well, my dad has been in the IT field since the early 1970's. Both my older brother and older sister went into the IT field, so it was only natural that I did. I was told that there was money in computers - not fixing cars, and well - that was sort of true back in 1999-2000, as time progressed - everyone got in the business and money became more and more scarce. I didn't want to program, had no desire to do PC stuff or UNIX stuff, so I got into macs. It was my specialty, my thing. Well, finding mac work was sporadic so I took the odd windows or unix related job here and there - and well I had a lack of passion for a fair amount of it.

Now, I'm a year out from doing computer work, fixing cars - and now I enjoy my work as well as tinkering with my computer. The money right now is not great, but it will eventually get better. Truthfully, there's more to life than money.

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- iantm
ACPT & ACDT (long expired)
BMW Certified Technician

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themike's picture
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Joined: Jul 21 2004
Posts: 455
I can't agree with you more s

I can't agree with you more sir. My parents were very disappointed that I didn't go to college, didn't go into IT like my dad. I think I knew though, that the market would be flooded with professionals- I knew, because *everyone* that can fix a computer was being forced in that direction. I have also never been a fan of the "corporate mentality", I have always preferred to work in a small, locally owned company, mostly for the more familiar atmosphere that provides.

Right now, I'm driving a tow truck. It isn't the best job, but its something I really enjoy, and I hope to finish up this summer by going to trucking school, getting my CDL, and traveling the country while getting paid to do so. And though I agree that money isn't the most important thing, it is pretty nice to have a high-paying job that you can also enjoy Wink

Suffice to say my parents aren't happy about any of this, but hey, it's my life right?

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
you are not alone...

I know both of you were casually familiar with my story as well: wanted to be an engineer, decided to go to college for it, but changed to Physics, then got a job in IT ('cuz Y2K was were the money was at), made a ten year career out of it and specialized in my tools, then got canned (by the job and then the wife), and went through a very rough spot reinventing myself.

Following your passions is something I am definitely trying to impress on my kids. Had I followed this myself and 15 years earlier than I finally did, I would have saved a lot of grief and pain in my life.

Driving a tow truck is actually pretty cool as is being able to repair a car. And I get to do Army things. All of these are things I am sure none of us ever envisioned we would do, but it seems we are all happier for them.

I make about 10% of what I did in 2004/5 and the stress level then sucked. Money is like a drug - it feels good at the time, but you need more and more and the job is the needle. At some point, you get so far gone that if and when you loose the job, everything falls apart. But like Mr Makay sez, "Drugs are bad, m'kay".

I think the only way I could get closer to my passions (my kids, evil brick company products, and computers) is to have more free time - things I know I will have after I get back from deployment.

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

gsmcten's picture
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Joined: Oct 4 2005
Posts: 2616
Chasing your passions ...

As Doug-Doug will attest, ADP (Automated Data Processing) was the IT equivalent back in the day (1992). Thats where I started working with computers instead of keeping it a hobby like it was supposed to be.
I was ADP Security Officer at Assault Craft Unit Five (ACU5) at Camp Pendelton, California just before I retired. It was also where I became a technical writer. After leaving and moving to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I worked for Gateway 2000 (Boy; that's changed huh?) as a repair parts person and then came back to the DC area to work on manuals for NAVSEA. I have been doing either IT or tech writing since when all I really wanted to do was open up a second hand book store and game shop.
It has yet to happen. I have just about lost my desire to either write manuals, or do IT work anymore. The only reason I'm working right now is to have money for my "Toys", otherwise I would have quit already.
I may get to have my shop yet. Smile

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Steven (gsmcten)

"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

iantm's picture
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Joined: Apr 2 2005
Posts: 709
Re: Chasing your passions ...

I've been a mechanic for just shy of two years now, and it's working out ok. The pay is crap, but taking the odd side job has led to meeting lots of great people and experiences. I recently started doing computer work on the side for the first time in ages. For the first time in ages - side computer work is proving to be incredibly profitable. It's funny how fast my memories of working on iBook G4's started rushing back. It feels good to know something inside and out and completely understand it. Now, if I could only get my rapidly deteriorating MacBook Pro to run on a more reliable consistent basis. (mostly neglected out of laziness and lack of intel based mac expertise - having left the hardware game around the time period of the intel transition)

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woogie's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 267
Re: Chasing your passions ...

In a lot of respects being a child of the 50s and 60s
paid off for me! I "rebelled" and quit college in 1969
and decided that I didn't want to be confined to a 4x8
"office" with no windows!

So I got a job in the Fire Service with the Federal Gov't
(workin' for the Man). The pay might not have been as big
as being an engineer (like all the other generations of
my family), but the experiences, educational opportunities
(ended up going BACK to college) and variety of my working
environment was priceless! Plus, working for the military
let me see things that even regular fire/rescue folks don't
get to see!

Plus....I got to live EVERY guy's dream! I got to dress up
funny, drive VERY fast and break LOTS of traffic laws, take
great big tools and tear stuff apart and GET PAID TO DO IT!

Funny thing, though, as a result of my job in the government
I was afforded the opportunity to get to know computers, and
Apple was the first "personal" computer I had used! And my
original college training in Computer Science came back to
haunt me when I was informed by my Fire Chief that I was now
the Automated Data Processing Officer for our Fire Department!
(He checked our personnel records to see who was the best for
this collateral duty...)('collateral duty' = more work with NO
extra pay..) I was given a pile of Apple gear and some software
setups and told to "make it work". I eventually did, (those
programming courses helped a LOT).

My career afforded me the opportunity to pick up two new and
interesting hobbies. (1) Collecting and restoring old computers
(Especially Apples) (2) Collecting and operating fire apparatus
(Have 4 completely equipped and operational vehicles now)

Can't get any better than that!

My advice to you...FOLLOW YOUR DREAM! As long as it is legal,
pays the bills and SATISFIES you, then DO IT! After all, it is
YOU who has to go to that work space, NOT your parents or teachers
or any other person "who knows what is good for you". Your
occupation should be enjoyable as well as productive. BUT...
also take FULL advantage of ANY education you can get! THAT is
priceless!

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