The parable of the mechanic…

My name is Henry, and I am a mechanic for the Ford Motor Company. I began fixing cars back in the early 70’s when Ford cars were muscled, loud, and explosive. So much has changed since those days. I work for a high-volume dealership in Natteyville, just a few miles from one fo the largest Ford plants in the country. To a great extent, I am one of the faces of this industry, and I am well respected in my field.

I love my job, especially when the old beauties come rolling in. There is no one alive who can get those old cars humming again just like when they came off the showroom. As the years progressed, the cars have changed a lot, but I haven’t needed to. I keep on doing what I have always done, and that works just fine. An axle is an axle, a piston is a piston, and at the end of the day, it is the important things that matter. No, I never learned computer-aided diagnostics. Who needs that when you have a keen ear? Can I fix the electronic fuel injection chip? Hell no, I have that young guy in the next bay do that sort of stuff. That’s not even really mechanics, that’s electronic computer geeky stuff. I have no use for that. Whenever they off the free training for that sort of stuff, I take it as an opportunity to get a few things done around the shop. And those kids who know about all that computerized engine stuff, are always working. Seriously, it must take forever, those guys never have a free moment. I have avoided any major fancy-schmancy trainings, and now, just 7 years from pension, I dare them to make me.

Ok, so I didn’t get to touch that brand-new Mustang that came in last week. No one even asked me, so I assumed it had an electronics problem and the young guys worked on it. Who cares. I’m sure a ’66 will come in soon. Then I will be able to show my stuff.  I’ve had precious little opportunity to show off lately. Seems like those old cars are just doing fine without me, I see them so rarely.

There has been rumors lately that there will be some major changes in the staffing around here, and that it has a lot to do with the skills people around here supposedly have. Judging by how little dirt and grease the young guy next to me has on his shirt and hands after a day working on that damn computer of his all day, I assume it is probably going to be him. Even if not, I am sure at least one of these geeky overachievers is going to get the boot. Then they will come crying to me to help get things back on track with a little grease and sweat. The way it used to be. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Ironically, this story has to be fiction, because there is no dealership in the country that would make it so easy for an employee to avoid staying current with the technology needed to do the job. The sad thing is, this story describes what goes on in almost every school in America. We force faculty to attend safety and special education training, yet we make the technology training optional. This allows people to pretend that it is irrelevant, rather than be forced to make the conscious decision to use or not use modern technology to advance learning.

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