If you’re reading this site, you’re likely already a statistical outlier in some aspect of your car behavior. The quantity or quality owned, the time you spend reading or watching automotive media, or the numbers of pictures you post of your travels to races and shows. When you look at how much of the expenditures pie goes to all things auto, it’s tempting to make the jump from consumer to producer. After all, why wouldn’t you want to do something with cars for a living?
Unfortunately, you’re not the only one with that idea, meaning there’s likely a huge applicant pool for whatever position you might be after (except maybe live crash-test dummy). The more people want to do something, the less the pay or the crappier the gig. Provided you can differentiate yourself enough with a PhD in combustion engineering or a working knowledge of Alfa’s SPICA system, there’s a chance you can carve out a niche…but then you’re stuck in that niche, not getting paid to tour the countryside in a fine machine or build a 1926 Willys Knight into a LeMons racer.
Me? My stint as a tire monkey around the turn of the century was great money and experience for a young gearhead, but not something I’d really recommend as a career. Oh, and this gig? Sure, it pays for some gas, but it’s gonna be a loooooong time before it’s anyone’s day job. That said, as my real life resume as an engineer with some good project management skills matures, the idea of translating what I’ve got into something in the Wide World of Cars and getting paid for it starts to sound marginally feasible and more than marginally attractive.
But then again, it doesn’t take long before a job boils down the same busywork and bureaucratic nonsense, regardless of what you’re working on. After all, if it were fun, they wouldn’t pay you to show up every day. The flip side of this coin is to wring as much, well, coin out of your “real job” and use it do your car thing on your own terms. No one wants to fill out TPS reports about throttle position sensors.
Been in the automotive industry/media/marketing/aftermarket/dealer/etc? Still there? Based on the domains tacked on to a few of your email addresses, we know we’ve got plenty of folks on the inside. What’s your take: Business or Pleasure?