Are you a Master?

Bill Technician Rosetown, Saskatchewan Posted   Latest   Edited  

They say it takes 10000hrs to master a skill.

Wait.... What???

Am I dense??? (Rhetorical question. No need to answer)

I likely have well over 5x that and I don't feel I am even 50% there......

How am I supposed to be a master at this skill while the target flies by at 100mph!

What do you say? Are you a Master, and have you been for years, or is there no such thing as mastery of this trade? I have held designations that said I am..... 

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin Default
   

Great question Bill. At 51 years invested in this trade, I'd have to be satisfied if I knew 50% of everything that has taken place during that time frame! Realistically, the best that I can hope for across the gamut of skills necessary, ranges from excellence to competence, depending on the areas of specialization, interest and exposure to advancing technologies in areas of focus. In my role I…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

Thank you Martin, Fantastic input to the discussion. I appreciate it! I am a business owner that has gone down the path of select vehicle repair. I feel that is a long term solution, for my business model, and not a temporary solution in my situation. I think that could turn into a whole other topic, so I don't want this discussion to veer in that direction.

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Jay Owner/Technician
Campbellcroft, Ontario
Jay Default
 

Very true Martin, on so many points. There just aren't enough hours in a day, nor hours in a week for anyone to master everything. since the technologies are a constantly moving target, your statement here is of utmost importance. ""Attainable though for all technicians and instructors alike, should be mandatory mastery of the basic skill sets of performing hand-eye coordinated procedures and…

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Mike Educator
Raleigh, North Carolina
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Anyone that tells you that they know everything about a subject is lying, In automotive, the best that you can hope for is to master several processes. The main processes are: 1) Mechanical disassembly and reassembly, but be aware that new systems and machines are being created as you read this. 2) Mechanical troubleshooting, understanding how basic systems work and determining why they do…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

Thanks Mike, Good points.

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin Default
 

Exactly Mike. While I was a specialist in some areas with a broad range of general skills, when I first entered the instructional field, there were definitely areas where I needed to work on developing improved skills to better serve those who relied upon me for learning. We'd be fooling ourselves as technicians and instructors to believe that we can be everything to everyone. Dedication to…

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Dean Owner
Albany, New York
Dean Default
 

This is a great post. I do not know of anyone who is a "master". I think the the successful people in every trade, are constantly and consistently training. At one of the TST training events, one of the instructors said " you will not fix every car, every time". So simple, but so true. This stuck with me over the years. Much to my dismay, I have proved this instructor true. Keep learning…

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George Owner/Technician
Mobile, Alabama
George Default
 

Add another 5000 hours (15000) and you might be half way to becoming a in master in rebuilding rotating electrical​.​From most all the oldest to the newest​.​This would also include rebuilding indlvidual parts​.​Where to get quality parts and not take all day just to replace bearings & brushes​.​Know what part numbers goes in most all popular…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Buena Vista, Colorado
Gary Default
 

They say it takes 10000hrs to master a skill. Hello, Bill The absolute best that we can be is Lifetime Learners. As you say, what we do is essentially a moving target. I can tell you from experience that once we step off the train, it takes a long time to get back on...

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Ty Technician
East Hartford, Connecticut
Ty Default
 

I think being called a "Master" is just the ability to stay on top of new things as best as you can. ASE calls me a " Master Technician". Do I know everything about all makes and models of cars? No. I'm also a Kia Master Tech, and formerly Hyundai, and do I know everything about those? No. Learn every day, as there is always something new coming out, even after 15 years with just those two…

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Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans Default
 

The more I learn, the less I know

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Jim Mobile Technician
Southampton, Pennsylvania
Jim Default
 

As my mentor told me YEARS ago, "If I ever hear you say that you know everything, The first thing I'm going to do is hit you across your head with a 2 X 4 and then I'm going to tell you that they just changed or added more technology while you were saying that". I have NEVER forgot him saying that to me and he past back in 1993.

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Chris Diagnostician
Lebanon, Ohio
Chris Default
 

The term "Master" implies that one has accomplished all or has achieved to the fullest extent. A little redundant when the automotive industry is still evolving and advancing with cutting edge technologies. I do not like that word association.

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

I agree Chris. The term "Master Technician" when used broadly is a misnomer, unless you were to repeatedly work on one outdated "something". I believe this touches on points Martin made earlier.

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David Owner/Technician
St. Albert, Alberta
David Default
 

Hi Bill. The term "Master" may mean different things to different people. To me, in our line of work, this means a person with strong knowledge base, lots of experience in many areas, and one who asks pertinent questions. If you don't have a good knowledge base, ignorance often leads to failure. Experience gives a living library of knowledge in what I call "know how" Asking the right questions…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Bill: I think that you're intelligent enough to know the answers to your questions. More importantly, you understand some of the reasons why. The 10,000 hours quote doesn't even qualify someone for a participation medal if all they are doing is just showing up. Points and condenser ignition systems are still taught in some programs. Is that wrong? Not necessarily. Should a whole module be…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
   

Whats the difference Guido? I don't know. I guess personally, and possibly for public perception, I am looking for definitions that accurately describe certain milestones.... I like the endless journey, but it would be nice to feel like I have reached, or surpased a certain level to keep me moving forward. I don't feel there is an answer. It is a complicated industry.

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
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Hi Bill: Assuming that your question wasn't rhetorical, there is no difference in my mind. They are two sides of the same coin. I absolutely agree with your take about it being endless. Sure, it'd be nice to see the finish line but it won't ever happen. The finish line is when you decide that you are finished. Then again, if you want feel good, there is always a piece of paper and pot metal…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

"Assuming that your question wasn't rhetorical, there is no difference in my mind." Can you elaborate on that Guido?

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Bill: The question of being rhetorical pertained to school vs. post-school. While the venues are different, the requirements remain the same. Does that answer your question? Granted, the formal study of these subjects is no longer the same but the practice of them is or should be. If this answers the question, great. If not, I can delve into elaboration of the subjects. Guido

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

Guido, I took it as a statement to my original post. I took it as you saying that if someone doesn't have the capacity to learn, it doesn't matter what they call themselves. I take it the same way now. You have a thoughtful, and indirect way of communicating. I will need to get used to that.

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Hollis Technician
Boulder, Colorado
Hollis Default
 

Cryptic, enigmatic, tongue in cheek and entertaining, sometimes :O)

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Robert Diagnostician
Fair Oaks, California
Robert Default
 

At +30 years I still do not know even close to everything about fixing cars. However I have the skills to take on the challenge of new problems, using the resources and tools to make a good repair most of the time. Knowing enough to ask the right questions and research to come up with the correct repair. Even then still run into car that kick my ass, but not many. After building a fence around…

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David Mobile Technician
Rimforest, California
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“Are you the guy that other mechanics send you the problems they cannot figure out? Then you are as close to a master Tech as you are going to be. lol” Robert, that is a great line. If am occasionally fixing cars that other shops can’t, then perhaps I’m more of a master than I give myself credit for. Davie

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Allan Instructor
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Allan Default
 

Trying to Master something that is constantly evolving is like trying to catch your own shadow. It is always just out of reach.

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
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Hi Allan, Although for there to be a shadow, there has to be light. The light in relation to mastering a field, is realizing, that there is much to master, and the effort is in perpetual learning and to encourage others on the same path.

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Craig Technical Support Specialist
Chicago, Illinois
Craig Default
 

Yes I have paperwork to that effect, but perhaps it's something more evolutionary and transcendent than that, just like other fields there are constant training requirements to maintain certification. We as "masters" we read all the time, we attend training, we strive to provide the best quality work. Mastery perhaps is just not hours spent with a clock, but the adjustment within ourselves…

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
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Yep Craig. I've got the requisite Certificates of Qualification and achievement, plus a drawer full of badges and awards earned over many years. As a technician though, I preferred to fly under the radar in plain clothes, so people didn't keep coming and asking me questions that I couldn't answer! For me, recognition at the point of receiving the certification, badge or award was enough. No…

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Alex Technician
Denver, Colorado
Alex Default
   

An individual's definition of "Mastery" in this field can vary widely. Most auto repair shops in my area are happy just to get a good technician in the shop. The closest thing to auto repair mastery that I have seen is a technician who has strong critical thinking skills and knows how to find answers. If they are presented with a system that they are unfamiliar with, they have the ability to…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Clinton, Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Bill, As a contrast, I have a story. When I was very young part of my face was paralyzed. I went to a doctor that had years of diagnosing under his belt. Before telling my family what the problem was, he ran tests and consulted medical journals. He then told us what it was. He was surely a master. He knew where to look for the answers. For us as technicians with hundred of makes, models and…

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

Thanks Michael, I understand that perspective. Maybe I put "Master" on too high of a pedestal. By definition a Master is... "a person eminently skilled in something, as an occupation, art, or science". That could describe many skilled techs in this trade.

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Mike: I'm glad that you posted this. It is one that I forgot to mention. The skills taught by Library Sciences are critical to being successful in this trade. Of course, being able to read and understand what your reading is a prerequisite to Library Sciences. Good post. Guido

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Rudy Technician
Montebello, California
Rudy Default
 

.....of my Domain. Ha!!

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Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans Default
 

10000 hours is only 5 years at a 9-5 day job. There’s 2080 working hours in a year, so it’s really not that many! Show me a tech with 5 years experience and I’ll show you someone who made it past the honeymoon phase and didn’t move on to another industry that treats their employees better and doesn’t require a huge investment in tools on the techs part.

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Cliff Diagnostician
Santa Maria, California
Cliff Default
 

I am a master at learning. Everyday something needs to be read and learned about. If you give up on learning you've mastered quitting.

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Uzuorji Technician
Lagos, Nigeria
Uzuorji Default
 

Greetings DN, thanks Bill for the question and everyone for your contributions. From what Michael said, I became interested in this trade because it is challenging and not monotonous. The only limitations I have is my environment. Like it or not, most times it takes money to develope ones self in this trade and technicians in this part of the world averagely earns around $200 monthly which make…

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Brian Instructor
Parma, Ohio
Brian Default
   

You are in the right place being part of this group. I just began instructing this year. It is rewarding and makes me learn and think more than my brain can handle at times.

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Uzuorji Technician
Lagos, Nigeria
Uzuorji Default
 

Lol. Thanks Brian.

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Jay Owner/Technician
Campbellcroft, Ontario
Jay Default
 

Every time I've lent a hand to another tech or shop, I've learned something myself. It's FUN as well as gratifying-!!

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Brian Instructor
Parma, Ohio
Brian Default
 

Thanks for the thought to ponder. I have 23 years in the field, 8 working for my self ( that has to be around 2,500 or more a year) I look around at those who I look up to, many are on DN, and I realize the need to press on and to keep learning. In my little corner of the world some people call me the master or genius (I dont repeat that to pump myself up or brag because I know how much more I…

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Jay Owner/Technician
Campbellcroft, Ontario
Jay Default
 

And even the true masters of those trades you mentioned would say they could still learn a thing or two.

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Mike Technician
Atlanta, Georgia
Mike Default
 

I'm working on becoming a master at learning. Does that count?

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Jose Technician
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Jose Default
 

I‘ve been doing this for less time than some of the fellas here, and I definitely see no end to all of the information and skills we‘re constantly having to stay in top of and continue to acquire. This field is always growing with new technologies and just as soon as you’ve gotten the hang of one thing, another one‘s thrown right at you and you’re back to square one. If anything, one can master…

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Carlton, Oregon
Matthew Default
 

I used to think I was OK at what I did. Then I went through a timer period where I thought I was really good at what I did. As I progressed and learned more and had more training I became less and less secure in knowing much of anything. It's easy to measure a tangible physical item. It is a very specific thing. It has dimensions and specifications and fits in a very nice neat little box. The…

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Jay Owner/Technician
Campbellcroft, Ontario
Jay Default
 

The Ontario apprenticeship program used to be 40 hours a week. In one year that would equal 2,000 hours. It was a FIVE YEAR apprenticeship. 5 x 2,000 = 10,000. Anyone with less than one year licensed couldn't be a "master". It's not possible for anyone to master this trade, even after 45 years. There is just too much to know, and still more to learn, and it never stops. The use of the word…

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Stuart Mobile Technician
Blue Island, Illinois
Stuart Default
 

We are living in a society that we were warned about in all those science fiction novels and movies​.​That is technology controlling our lives​.​In the automotive repair industry we as technicians have a bigger dilemna that most other consumer used products don't face​.​No other industry has evolved as much and in just a short time,we are talking the last 50…

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John Owner
Medford, New York
John Default
 

Bill, Reading your post makes me think of two mantras I live by. 1.) The more I know the more I realize how much I don't know. Answering one question often leads to three or four unanswered questions. 2.) If you are not getting beat up mentally in this business you are not working on problem vehicles. Anyone who says they never get beat is full of it. Period. Granted, I may get to the end but…

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
Scott Default
 

Hi John, So true on both points. I have to chuckle at point #2. I have people, actually shops, that come in saying they've never had a problem fixing a vehicle until this one. Really?? I'm challenged on a regular basis - which would mean I'm not as good as I think am, (which is true) or you're working on things anybody could fix. I'm humbled on a semi-regular basis, which is the way I like it…

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John Owner
Medford, New York
John Default
 

Scott, Happy Holidays. Glad to see someone else has my viewpoints. Shops will call me in on a problem and always ask "Have you seen this problem before?". I always reply everyday there is a new problem that I have never seen before. They are always shocked which I never understood. Have a great New Year buddy. All the best.

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John Educator
Toronto, Ontario
John Default
 

What a great … and discussion. I don't believe its possible to become a master of this trade. There are too many variables and as stated we are consistently aiming at a moving target. I think the best we can hope for is mastery of basic skills; like analyzing wiring diagrams, knowledge of basic system operation, use of the tools we use on a daily basis, use of information platforms, and…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Buena Vista, Colorado
Gary Default
 

"I tell my students that in order to be successful in this trade, you need to embrace change and must be willing to consistently learn on your own and from others. When students complain and tell me they don't like to read, I simply tell them that if that's the case they had better re-think their choice of career." Which is one problem we have when we take students into auto programs when they…

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John Educator
Toronto, Ontario
John Default
 

I totally agree Gary, reading and writing seem to be lost skills. I’m at the stage with my students that I will not assign anything that is hand written, everything must be typed. They struggle with printing, none of them can write cursively, yet they graduate from high school. Then they come to college completely unprepared, and cry the blues when they fail. They just can’t comprehend that they…

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David Owner/Technician
St. Albert, Alberta
David Default
 

John, you have certainly hit on some sore spots. Do you recall the high school teacher, here in Edmonton, a few years back was suspended for dispensing a ZERO mark to a student. It was regarding an assignment never turned in, despite numerous suggestions and warnings. Little Johnnies parents complained to the school board, saying you can't give zero for an assignment that was never turned in to…

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Gary Owner/Technician
Buena Vista, Colorado
Gary Default
   

Hello, David Interesting story: Back in 1968 during my junior year in college, we were graded entirely at the professor's discretion. BTW, we couldn't wear blue jeans and t-shirts to class, just slacks and buttoned shirts. I took one of Dr. George Gailia Gates' American Literature classes, which required us to read in detail one American Classic like "Moby Dick" or "Huckleberry Finn" each…

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
Scott Default
 

Hi Gary, I once had a teacher that said the assignment, and the instructions stated this as well - "was to be turned in with black ink." I did what I wanted and used a blue ball point. When I received a C and protested the grade, the teacher said it was very well written and would have received an A if I would have followed instructions. That C stuck with me more than anything that I could have…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
   

Well Scott, if anything, you've proven that you are capable of doing more than fogging a mirror. Why the left-handed compliment? It really isn't, at least toward you. The vast majority of the people, that I've met, who have failed the L1 have done so for one simple reason. They refuse to accept that the composite vehicle is the vehicle that they are diagnosing. Why is that? One reason may be…

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
Scott Default
 

Hi Guido, Back when I was still taking ASE tests and the L1 first came out, I signed up for the test, and passed. There were very specific warnings that I took to heart about using the composite vehicle for the answers, and not to rely on product knowledge. So I guess that one lesson from years ago, stuck with me, and has served me well. :-) I shake my head for what constitutes critical…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Scott: I trust that you understand my comment about the L1 was allegorical. In your …e, I'm going to go out on a limb and figure that you considered that job as a double-edged sword. While having the work is nice, having that work, not so much so. I used to get embarrassed about things like that. It's getting harder and harder to feel that way anymore. Taking this full circle, do you…

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David Owner/Technician
St. Albert, Alberta
David Default
 

Oh yes, the "learning with the hands" scenario. LOL. Ask some one who says that to you, "Are your brains in your hands?". After they give you some feed back, you will have a better idea of their actual ability or desire to learn. Of course, they really mean they learn by trial and error experience. Too bad it is human nature to think we are better at doing things than we actually are. If only…

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Robert Technician
Trevose, Pennsylvania
Robert Default
 

Well said. I think the goal is to stay teachable, try to use everything as a learning experience and know where and how to get the information you need. I had an engineering professor in collage that said his job was not to make us memorize information but to teach us how to find it when we need it.

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Michael Diagnostician
Vineland, New Jersey
Michael Default
 

Hi Bill,I'am a master every day, until I walk out in the shop and that PIA. car slaps me around​.​LOL 

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Robert Technician
Trevose, Pennsylvania
Robert Default
 

20 years ago I thought I was the hottest thing around. Now the more I learn the more I know I need to learn.

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Gary Owner/Technician
Buena Vista, Colorado
Gary Default
 

Right on, Robert Right now, I'm inundated with Things I Need To Know... {:0(

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George Owner/Technician
Mobile, Alabama
George Default
 

I am a Master of Forgetting most all I knew about vehicles of the past

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Robert Technician
Trevose, Pennsylvania
Robert Default
 

Me too! I relearn the same stuff over and over. I think I have too much valuable brain space used up with remembering song lyrics

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill Default
 

Isn't that the truth. I am getting better at putting the "gems" in binders. I print them out and laminate them. They last forever and somehow have more value that way to me. I have files on files in drives. I try to sit down and pretend I am going to sift, sort, and organize every once in a while. Doesn't seem to happen.

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