Working in racing is unlike anything I’ve ever done previously. It seems like all the rules that apply to normal jobs and job searching are completely irrelevant. Resumes aren’t as important as your reputation. There are no job boards or websites. Sometimes you can get hired without ever even meeting a crew chief. What your past experience and achievements are don’t matter as much as what you can do right now, today. And job offers are sometimes only valid for a few hours.
Movement and turnover happen in every business and industry in this country, and racing is no different. Some guys are able to find a home and stay there for many years, while others seem to work for a new team every season. But at some point, we all come to that crossroads.
As a young tire changer, all you are looking for is a chance. And if you are smart, you will pit anything and everything you can. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Cup car or a go cart; or if you are making a few hundred bucks or doing it for free. The only way to advance is to learn on the fly and make a ton of connections. But as you move along in your career, the priorities change. Is winning more important then money? Can I have both? What is best for my family? Is there any semblance of job security with a new team (there never really is)?
And as we move along, we all get to that point where we’ve got to take a chance and make a move. Just like anything else, sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. And it doesn’t matter whether you are working for a team currently and a better opportunity comes along, or if you lost your job and are mulling a few different options. In racing, you better not mull too long. Because if you wait and hope to maybe get more offers, or you aren’t sure what is the best path, you might get left behind.
I think for most folks, having somebody offer you a job out of the blue isn’t usually realistic. I know before I worked in racing, nobody ever called me up one day and said “hey, you want to come to work for me?” The only jobs I was ever offered were those I applied for. Racing is different though. All it takes is one phone call to change everything.
But just like every other decision in life, you’ve got to think on your feet, weigh your options, and make the best possible choice with the information you have to work with. Beyond that, all we can do is hope for a little luck.
Just as a little side note, I want to say that I’ve been blessed and am really excited to be heading out for another year in racing. The season officially kicks off this weekend, and both myself and Journo are excited about bringing you along for the ride in 2010. We think we offer something you can’t find anywhere else in the NASCAR media, and we will keep bringing you the best in inside information and insight. Enjoy the races!