Career Change: Back to School

Wrote by : Dave Redinger is a retired mechanic with over 45 years experience. He now works as a consultant and legal advisor on mechanical matters (automotiveexpert.ca), offering advice to garage owners and lawyers. Dave hosts “Dave’s Corner Garage,” currently heard on AM 740 and Sirius XM broadcasting to 27.5 million subscribers!

From now on, call me “Professor Redinger!”

For many years now, I’ve been involved with the media. What started out as a gig where I was a regular guest on a local TV call-in show has led to my own television projects across the country. It wasn’t easy. In fact, we produced over 950 radio programs over the last 16 years.
Being new to this industry, we hired a mentor— a professional with years of experience in the radio and television business. It was during our first meeting that he asked me a question that was so simple and so profound that I still use it today.
The golden question
The question: Where do you want to be in the next five years? Where do you see yourself and your business and, most importantly, how are you going to get there?
It seems to me that we are so wound up with our short-term issues that we fail to see far beyond the next week, next month, next quarter, whatever. Yet the secret to success lies in the simple phrase, “Where do I see myself, and how do I get there?”
Well, as it turns out, I retired from the shop four years ago. It happened suddenly, when I think back. One day I realized I was (for lack of a better word) burned out. After 32 years in my own business it was time to call it quits.
Not an easy discussion. Not only did this decision affect me, but it also affects the lives of my employees, some of whom had invested over 20 years with me. My solution was to offer the company to the team for free, in effect asking them to form a company and take over. The company would continue, not missing a step, and I would become the landlord. So much for planning a future.
Retirement stinks!
What happened? In retrospect, they were not ready for the responsibility as a team, although the shop foreman did step up and is still operating the company today. From my perspective, however, the problem was retirement. The simple fact is that being retired is boring! When being at work was your life and that suddenly changes, something is missing. Yes I have other duties in my day: Broadcasting… property management… but I still missed the shop.
Funny how things have a way of working out. The other day I met with the folks at Automotive Training Centre (ATC) a private school with campuses across the country that teaches a pre-apprentice program, among others, in our trade.
I should add that I hadn’t applied for a job in over 50 years. Interesting experience to say the least. Well the story is, they hired me as a substitute teacher. I cover for the other mechanic-teachers when they’re off.
Wow! What a great experience! Totally unplanned and very fulfilling. I really enjoy giving back to an industry that gave me so much satisfaction and a career over the years.

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