Changing the Narrative Surrounding the Automotive Industry - Engine Builder Magazine

Changing the Narrative Surrounding the Automotive Industry

Every now and then, one of my local radio stations in the Cleveland area invites people to call in who recently got ghosted after a first date. For those who need the definition of ghosting, it’s when someone cuts off all communication without explanation. The radio station tricks the ghostee into telling their side of the story, while the ghosted party is secretly on the other line. The reasons for ghosting are typically petty and shallow, but every once in a while, this radio station gets the two people to agree to a second date.

One example recently struck a chord with me because the reason this particular woman wouldn’t go on a second date was because she found out the guy was a car mechanic. Of all the petty and shallow reasons not to date someone, this girl definitely took the cake! She told the radio jockey she thought of him as dumb, she didn’t think it was a credible career and knew her parents wouldn’t approve of him for this simple fact. Naturally, this woman was hoping a lawyer or doctor type would sweep her off her feet.

Obviously, I was sitting in my car talking to myself but directing my anger toward this female caller. Car mechanics need a lot of knowledge to do what they do, and they require an intimate understanding of electrical, mechanical and engineering facets – and they need to understand it all as it relates to multiple car models and brands. Not everyone can grasp those things, let alone apply it and be good at it.

To his credit, this guy didn’t just take the insults. He told her how much he has to know to be good at his job, and that he made very good money as a car mechanic. He also challenged her to get inside or under a car and she how smart she feels. My guess is she’s the type of person who has to double check what side of the car her gas tank is on every time she fills up.

For her to discredit an entire industry, more or less, was absolutely crazy to, not only myself, but the radio jockey and certainly this guy she dated one time. Mechanics, technicians, engine builders, machinists – you are all VERY NEEDED. To your credit, the jobs all pay very well, but it is clearly this mindset of younger people and those who don’t get into cars that these careers are less valuable, not worthy and signify that you might not have received higher education – you’re dumb.

Those sentiments are obviously way off base, and this woman who felt this way was clearly the clown on the three-way phone call. But, it’s another reminder that our industry – automotive as a whole – needs to continue to change the narrative out there about what it means to be part of this industry. Sure, changing this particular woman’s mind probably isn’t worth it, but there are plenty of people who believe some aspect of what she thought about car folks.

I know that in the nine years I’ve been in this industry, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting and speaking with some of the smartest people I know – business owners, engineers, scientists, and skilled men and women who can do just about anything.

To wrap up this radio story, the two parties agreed they wouldn’t be going on a second date, and the radio jockey, the male caller himself and likely most everyone listening, thought he dodged a bullet! I share this little story because it maddens me that people are so ignorant, but also because this issue of Engine Builder magazine highlights several engine shops out there doing a great job – of which there are many. But, we can only honor a few that are worthy of our annual awards – America’s Best Engine Shops (Race, Diesel and Vintage), and Engine of the Year and Diesel of the Year. Check out page 34 for more details about these winners. Enjoy the November issue! EB

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