Car Repairs and Advice for Job Seekers

imageOver the weekend, my daughter’s car threw a bit of a tantrum. A little bit of noise, a little bit of fluid dispersal and a trip to the dealer on the back of a flatbed. Never a good thing, but you have to make the best of whatever comes your way – right Jimmy?

We’ve gotta roll with the punches
Learn to play all of our hunches
Makin’ the best of whatever comes your way
Jimmy Buffet

The hunch playing and intuition trusting on this adventure started after the dealer called on Monday. The first opportunity came when they asked us to pay for for permission to remove the intake manifold. They thought the problem was a blown head gasket. That made sense, so we proceeded. Well, that wasn’t the problem. The problem turned out to be a bad timing belt tensioner which had caused some vibration which lead to the failure of the water pump. This provided similar set of noises and fluid-based symptoms as a blown head gasket.

The next opportunity that came our way was when we studied the list of things that could be taken care of while most of the engine was on the garage floor. Disassembly was complete, reassembly was required, AND anything related to the belt tensioner and water pump were covered under warranty. We could replace the timing belt for the cost of the part. We could replace the fan belt for the cost of the part. We could replace the spark plugs for the cost of the plugs and a little bit of labor.

Do any of you remember when replacing spark plugs was a lazy Saturday afternoon job that might cost you about $20? On this car, since the intake manifold has to be removed to even find the spark plugs, the normal price is over $400. The good news is that the plugs are good for 105,000 miles, a bit longer than the ones in my 1968 Dodge Coronet.

The car only has 75,000 miles, but the manifold is already off, sooooo? OK, yes, do that, do that, do that and while you’re in there, change the oil and fix the cigarette lighter.

In case you’re wondering about the title, no, my advice isn’t “agree to everything your mechanic recommends.”

I’m not trying to protect the phone number of the spammer; I’m concerned that he/she might have used someone else’s phone number. No need to add to their problems

One of the things that I get have to do for the company I work for is to receive the spam form-based inquiries that come in from our website. These come directly to my personal email account since our company email server would filter out most of them (even some of the good ones). Usually, these emails fall into two categories: 1) Well written requests for information, or 2) Absolute mindless junk containing a ton of links to websites where I can probably have my bank accounts emptied for free.

Occasionally we get an inquiry from someone who is seeking employment. These too, seem to fall into two categories: 1) Well written complete expressions of interest with enough information for us to follow up if we are interested, and 2) Things that make me ask “are you really looking for a job? Really?” If you are really looking for a job with ANY company (here’s the advice part) pay attention to the opportunity that you have and take full advantage of it. For example:

Our form has fields for First and Last name. This is important, because when you put your entire name in one of those fields we have to guess which is which. It also sends a little bit of a message about your ability to follow directions. I’m not being snarky. There are a lot of people looking for work, and anything you do that causes someone else’s form/resume/email to look better than your hurts your chances.

Phone and email address – if you are hoping to get a reply from us, and we normally reply even if it’s to tell you that we aren’t currently hiring, complete at least one of these.

Title and Company – These can be blank, we understand but they are also opportunities to add something about your most recent employment.

Question – This is a multi-line text field. In other words this is your place to write whatever you want. Think about what you want to say/ask. Write that in a word processor or something that provides spell-check. Copy the corrected text and paste it into the form.

The little thing at the bottom that says “Accounting” in this example, is there to help me route your request. One of the options is “Employment” so even if you don’t have a specific department in mind, you can reassert the fact that you are looking for a job. Hint, if you leave it set to “Select One” we throw the form away without ever delivering it. It’s an anti-spam thing.

Life hands out challenges and opportunities. Challenges can be met and turned into opportunities or can be augmented with opportunities that help mitigate the challenge. i.e.

Change your spark plugs now, since you already paid to remove the intake manifold.

Opportunities can be taken advantage of and opportunities can be squandered – it’s usually your choice.

Forget that blind ambition
And learn to trust your intuition
Plowin’ straight ahead come what may
Jimmy Buffet

15 thoughts on “Car Repairs and Advice for Job Seekers

Add yours

  1. Picture – That’s our daughter’s car, unloaded in front of the dumpster, it certainly looked sad when I arrived on Monday morning to talk to the service manager. She drove it out today, under power, mostly under warranty and freshly washed thanks to the nice folks at Gengras Kia in East Hartford, CT.


  2. 1. I used to “help” with the spark plugs. Now, apparently, special tools are needed and it costs a lot more than a box of plugs and some elbow grease. Good call on changing them while it’s open!
    2. I love my Kia, she’s nine years old and approaching her 100k check-up, but she’s been good to us.
    3. I do not understand people who cannot properly fill out a form, and believe this is a sincere problem with society. However, I also resent filling out forms, especially with repeat information. Sometimes I am tempted to write, (when faced with a fourth request for my phone number) “See forms one through three.”


    1. I would have replied sooner but I was reading about your weekend and watching that video :). The last time I changed plugs was on a 1988 Dodge Pickup, also the last vehicle I dad any serious maintenance on. It’s just too complicated today. I have your “repeat information” hatred for phone-based tech support. Punch your number in and then repeat it to everyone – sigh… Thanks for stopping by.


  3. LOL… I enjoy the way you turn your experiences and observations of everyday life and situations into witty and entertaining posts; if they weren’t actually true they could easily be taken as satire…


  4. Good dads help their daughters with car’s issues, among other things. I’m glad that my daughters have a good dad too. My relationship with cars is minimal, although I love to drive, so they would be in big trouble if not for their dad.
    In this land of opportunities, we have to watch for them, you’re right, otherwise we can miss them. And thank you for Jimmy Buffet, too.


    1. Thanks! I think most dads enjoy helping their kids, maybe more so with daughters and mechanical things. My daughter is pretty mechanically aware and I’m grateful that she had the good sense to get her car safely off the road and called a tow truck before any damage occurred. That is one of my favorite Jimmy Buffet songs. I listen to that when challenged.


  5. I remember my father showing me how to change out spark plugs, then as time goes by I could not even find the plugs – asked a mechanic, only to find out they were below the engine, around the side and sort of into the….. Like you, I brought it to the dealer.


  6. I love how you use dry humour to get through any situation, Dan. I don’t drive, and have never had a car, so I can’t identify with the issues, but I love your attitude towards them!


    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. The thought of not having a car and not driving is almost too much to imagine for me. I have been working almost 40 years, and only during 3 was I actually able to use public transportation. The number of times that “car trouble” has interrupted my plans is too high to count, but I guess I prefer having the option to follow the road (even if it only leads to work).


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