4 Important Life Lessons For Technicians


We asked UTI Automotive Instructor Sean Callahan what advice he would give to his younger self. Yes, he talks about hard work and dedication, but the story is deeper. It's about giving yourself the freedom to grown and not giving up when it looks like things aren't going your way. 

Spoiler alert! There's a happy ending, but the journey for Sean had its ups and downs. There's a good chance you're experiencing similar triumphs and tragedies in your life. The question is, what will you do when you want to give up?

Here's what Sean did...

A Letter to His Younger Self

Dear much younger me,

I’m writing to you to let you know that all the years of striving to learn and gain experience does pay off. Starting from when you were 5 years old and helping Uncle Jim work on his vehicles (yes, even the one that almost caught fire counts--still don’t know if we caused it, again we were only five), as well as all the years of small independent shops during high school and the decision of continuing your drive for automotive by attending UTI, was a wise decision.

Yes, it wasn't easy. No car, running to work at five in the morning, working all day, going to school at night, social life after hours, pretty much living off ramen noodles and pizza for a year.

1) Take the Time and Opportunity to Learn

In that time you also learn to appreciate a good cup of coffee along the way. Although it may seem difficult now, that knowledge you acquire in a short time frame from seasoned instructors was a great investment in yourself that not only opened many doors of opportunity to come, but also getting a major head start in the field.5 Especially in electrical, Mr. Rodriguez was an excellent electrical and diagnostic instructor, you will find out that those two areas are your strongest skills.

2) Don't Get Discouraged... the Best is Yet to Come

After you graduate, don’t get discouraged as they start you as an hourly lube tech. They are seeing if you can perform the simplest tasks without any issues and what kind of work ethic you have. The way you carry yourself with the professional habits instilled from when you went to UTI, will have you quickly moving up the ranks to an Expert technician for Volvo, a Master certified Mazda technician, Ford engine and chassis Master technician as well (all at the same time).6

3) Pour Your Life Into Other People

As you continue to progress, always be the one to give a helping hand as you always have, it does not go unnoticed. Along the way you will be acquiring other skills as a shop foreman, and a service advisor that will help you with people skills for your next endeavor, teaching. From all the years of advanced training, performing any and all tasks that are presented to you, even competing in a training competition and placing in the top two percent of Volvo technicians North America, will show you how far the hard work and dedication can take you in the field.

4) Give Back to the Next Generation

Although working in the automotive field is your passion, you will find a great change of gears in teaching that coincides with your good nature of helping anyone out. Now, passing on the knowledge and experience you’ve gained on to the next generation of wrench turning knuckle busters looking to pursue their goals. My advice to you is to keep striving, keep learning from a field that is always changing with advancements in technology, and enjoy the ride along the way.


A much older but wiser you.

P.S.  Invest in a company named Google ;)

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
5.1 ) UTI programs prepare graduates for careers in industries using the provided training, primarily as automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a technician, such as: parts associate, service writer, fabricator, paint and paint prep, and shop owner/operator. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
6 ) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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