Thinking, Blinking, Staring, Glaring Contest

Written by mitch on. Posted in Uncategorized

The desk in my “private,” not-so-private office, faces a wall of cabinets and a small alcove. The alcove has some of my favorite books: stuff I like to read or refer to often for solace or inspiration; and a set of the latest, greatest Motor Age ASE Test Study Guides.
They sit there stoically, staring at me whenever I’m at my desk and regardless of what I’m doing. If patience is a virtue, these are the most virtuous books in the entire universe because they have been patiently waiting for me to do something with them – anything with them, in fact – for far too long.
It finally degenerated into a staring contest – the books and me – each daring the other to do something.
You probably think I’ve gone off the deep end and maybe I have. But, I’d be doing payroll or looking at my financials when all of a sudden I felt myself forced to look up only to find the books staring at me: expressionless, unemotional, and yet still casting a disapproving glance across the room. You could almost hear the,
Hey, you… Yeah, you…
Don’t look around! Who are you looking for; you’re the only one in here!
When are you going to quit screwing around? When are you going to get up off your butt and get yourself over here? When are you going to finally make the commitment to register and re-cert?
It’s been long enough, hasn’t it?”
Ignore it and it will go away, you say… I tried. It doesn’t work. The books kept calling to me and I kept ignoring them! Eventually, we just glared at each other… That is, until just a few hours ago. A few hours ago, the study guides took an entirely new approach. They began goading me: taunting me, trying to get inside my head.
“What are you afraid of? Don’t think you can pass the tests anymore? That’s what we’re here for – We’re here so you can not only take the tests: we’re here so you can pass them!”
“No, dammit… that’s not it at all. Even though I’m not working on cars full-time anymore, I know I can still pass the tests expressly because you’re here and able to stare at me from across the floor! I know you’re here just like I know I can use you and abuse you!
I haven’t registered for the tests because the tests are a constant reminder that I’m NOT working on cars full-time anymore. They are a constant reminder I have to work on just about everything around this place BUT cars and trucks anymore!”
And, then I realized I had stumbled upon the real reason for my angst and anxiety: the reason for my hesitation and procrastination.
So, I did the only reasonable thing left for me to do. I got up off my butt, walked across the floor, grabbed a handful of study guides and started flipping pages. Tomorrow, I’m going to go online, register for my recertification tests and then I’ll make arrangements to take them: all of them!
Oh, I’ll study first… I always do. Fear of failure is a great motivator!
But, I’ve got to tell you something. The minute I stopped staring and glaring, thinking and blinking, those study guides ceased being confrontational and became the source of great consolation and confidence.
Suddenly, they were welcome and inviting – comforting: kind of like getting together with a long lost friend. It’s a relationship I’m looking forward to rebuilding: one I can’t wait begin.
When was the last time you sat for the ASE tests? How long since you wore a Master patch or proudly hung a “CMAT” after your name?
When was the last time you were involved in an intimate relationship with our study guides?
If it’s been too long, I’ll bet your guides are staring at you just like mine were glaring at me!
Don’t start a staring contest with them. I can almost guarantee they won’t blink, at least not until long after you have. Pull them away from wherever they are, dust them off and get to work.
Go online… Get registered… Get into the books… And, then, get certified and/or recertified!
The best reason to become is still the ONLY reason: and, that is what voluntary certification says about you and your relationship to this profession… your profession… our profession.

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I am a fourth generation, forty-sixy year veteran of the automotive aftermarket: an ASE Certified Master Technician, Service Consultant and Approved Automotive Manager. I grew up in this business with a passion for all things mechanical, particularly those things relating to performance. That passion grew to include all aspects of management, leadership and personal development with a special focus on every day shop operations which resulted in an eight-volume series on automotive shop management published by Cengage Learning and Thomson Publishing. I have been a trade journalist writing to the aftermarket for almost thirty years, devoting my professional life to improving both the image and experience of everyone struggling to succeed in the service industry and I've worked diligently to improve communication and increase understanding between all segments of my industry. This site and everything on it is both an extension and a continuation of those efforts

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