Updated: May 9
After a year of travelling my pockets were understandably rather empty. I needed a job and fast!
I felt it was time for a change of tack in the career department. Of course it had to be related to cars, that's pretty much all i know, so I decided to give sales a try.
The local Lexus dealer hired me a Sales Specialist, this was in late 2003 when the new RX400 Hybrid had just launched so they promised me a package based on a low basic salary and commission per unit, they told me I should expect to be selling around 10-15 cars a month which calculated a decently monthly salary, unfortunately that was just their pipe dream. I spent my days trying to do deals with customers that were keen to try Lexus but with such skinny margins in the cars I couldn't meet their trade-in expectations and they mostly went down the road to Mercedes or BMW where they got a better deal. To make matters worse I really disliked the Sales Manager, the guy had a bigger ego than Donald Trump, he was impossible to work for. Nobody there liked him and it turned out I was the 5th new sales specialist there in 6 months. Needless to say it didn't work out and I walked out of there one Friday afternoon after being told I was useless by that fool.
I remember his parting words to me were "if you think you can walk out of here into a 35,000 pound a year job in London, you're an idiot".
The following week I had a job interview at an Audi dealer in London's Docklands. After leaving that interview I walked over the road to the Mercedes-Benz dealership and dropped my CV in there and started walking back to the train station to go home.
On that walk my phone rang and it was the Aftersales Manager of the Mercedes dealer asking if I could come back to meet him.
After a 15 minute informal chat about me experience he offered me a job as Technician on the spot. Asked if I could start the following week! And guess what.. the salary was 35,000 a year. I couldn't help but feel smug on the ride home, a big 'up-yours' to the fool at Lexus.
The Audi guys called the following week to offer me the job but it was too late, I had decided to go back to what I know and what a relief it was.
I completely lucked out with that job, I was one of about 17 technicians in a large service centre. It was really busy, on average I was working on about 5 cars a day, and being in Central London the type of cars coming through were mostly high-end Mercedes. Lots of S-Classes owned by the big banks and chauffeur companies and lots of AMG models.
It was here that they saw my potential and invested in my advanced technician training, starting with my MB Systems Technician qualification and then moving up to complete my MB Diagnostic Technician qualification which involved many hours of online and classroom training followed by very nerve-wracking practical exam where I would carry out in-depth diagnosis on three separate cars under exam conditions, finding the solution to each problem and writing up detailed reports.
I moved in with a mate, sharing a flat in Brixton and had the full London experience. What a great city and what fantastic memories.
But my feet were itchy again - the travel bug hadn't left me so in late 2006 I quite my job and packed my bags again. This time heading west!