I look back on the many years I have spent in the automotive aftermarket, I find that I have many stories. Some of them are very informative, some of them are just war stories and some of them are really true.
Nevertheless, when I first contacted Mark Phillips, the Countermaneditor, I told him all I really wanted to do is share those experiences with any and all who might read them and find some use from them.
Recently, in a sales meeting it was announced that I am a columnist for Countermanmagazine. When the guest acknowledged my presence the first thing that came to mind was, “Yes and some of the columns are pretty good, too.” My attempt at humor is sometimes perfect and at other times, not so much. And as funny as I try to be, it sometimes belies the serious nature of what we do for a living.
When I consider all the questions and answers and study it takes to stay-up-to-date with the ever-changing climate of our chosen profession, it becomes clear that we overlook the one thing that we all have to offer.
When I considered where my training and knowledge has come from, the thought always turns to my first boss. The truth is, the people I supervise today could not have worked for him. But, I was forced to learn the “parts business” or get out. The second thing I think of is the money he spent on training me and sending me to class, not because he made me want to, because I wanted to. After that, I consider the amount of money that the next company I worked for spent on me and in my estimation was around $250,000 over an 11-year period. Not because they made me, but because I wanted to. Not every company can combine resources with another company and offer that kind of investment for all of us. Not all of us will be so fortunate to have that opportunity.
The opportunity afforded to me was based on my willingness to offer the only thing I really had to offer, and that was time.
What do we sell our employers when we go to work for them? Time, in return for a paycheck. Philosophically speaking, we sell talent, knowledge, ability and many other things, but those are in addition to the time we sell.
People can and will argue this with me and that is fine. But, in a day, week, month and year, most of us will use as an excuse, “I did not have enough time.” We will blame co-workers, whether they are mere co-workers or they are subordinates to us. We will blame customers, supervisors, family, friends, traffic or anything else we can find to blame for the ineptness we have displayed for whatever failure we have come across. But, did we manage the time we actually had?