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How does one make the decision to hang up the wrenches ?


FARMALL FIXER
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Been doing some thinking lately , been turning wrenches for 39 years , started at 17 right out of high school . Allways worked 2 jobs , mechanic at the local IH dealership untill 1990 than my own repair buisness since than as well as working EMS too . The mechanic end of things provided for my Wife and 3 kids , paid for thier college education and the normal day to day necessities and emergencies of raising a family . Years of long hours ,cement floors and abusing the body kind of starts to take a toll on the body , at 56 I dont consider myself old yet years wise but arthritis and worn out joints catches up to a person . 

Just a darn hard decision to make on something that has been such a major part of ones life !

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Wow!! I could have typed that up myself almost word for word.............watching. (30 years) 

Never did work 2 jobs, just always work long days. Normally get to shop and work in office from 0430 to 0700 then hit the shop, take 1/2 hour for lunch then work till 1800-1900 hours. Makes a man weary after a while...............

 

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21 minutes ago, CIHTECH said:

Wow!! I could have typed that up myself almost word for word.............watching. (30 years) 

Never did work 2 jobs, just always work long days. Normally get to shop and work in office from 0430 to 0700 then hit the shop, take 1/2 hour for lunch then work till 1800-1900 hours. Makes a man weary after a while...............

 

Yes it does make one weary and set one to thinking also . Thank God I have had a very supporting family through the years . Had my first heart attack at 50 , spent my 50th birthday ( 6 years ago ) in Sanford Heart hospital and have had 3 more stents since than , who knows maybe stress had something to do with it at that age .   I guess I know what I should do but ...... pulling trigger and calling it quits is a darn hard thing to do . Sort of a confusing time in a person's life I guess . I have everything paid for so one would think it would be an easy decision .

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56 minutes ago, FARMALL FIXER said:

Been doing some thinking lately , been turning wrenches for 39 years , started at 17 right out of high school . Allways worked 2 jobs , mechanic at the local IH dealership untill 1990 than my own repair buisness since than as well as working EMS too . The mechanic end of things provided for my Wife and 3 kids , paid for thier college education and the normal day to day necessities and emergencies of raising a family . Years of long hours ,cement floors and abusing the body kind of starts to take a toll on the body , at 56 I dont consider myself old yet years wise but arthritis and worn out joints catches up to a person . 

Just a darn hard decision to make on something that has been such a major part of ones life !

If you’re thinking about it, then it’s time.

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I walked away 3 yes ago. I still mess with my old tractors and that's enough. It's nice to be able to walk away from something when you want. No pressure to get someone's matching fixed. Started when in high school in the late sixties. 

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after 2 spine surgery's i'm trying to get out of the maintenance field you are right concrete floors are hard on the joints got 5 years to retirement and just want to find a job that is a little bit easier on my joints hard to find a job when you get close to retirement now is the time if you are going to make a change it's hard to do but when you look at working hard like you are doing do you want to regretting it in few years when you start hurting more i learned the hard way wish i would have found a job a little less hard on my body 

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It wasn't wrenches but in June of 16 it just was not working out. I fired my grandson after he didn't want to do things my way on the farming, 2 days later i got hailed out on 1 farm and since i had other farms that didn't get hail i got no insurance, Then a no-rain bill from crop insurance company for $40,000 a few days later. I decided i had had enough after starting in 1970 when dad passed away. That fall i sold one farm, turned a rented one back and leased the other one. Started selling my machinery privately and then ended up putting the tail end of it on BigIron and then was hired on by them to become a listing agent for the area. I seem to be so happy and don't have to worry about any hired help.  A hard pill to swallow but never been happier.

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50 years for me, this will be the last except for my ih stuff and will continue doing a/c, body has held up very well but seems i get tired sooner and am losing the desire to repair things for customers, kind of enjoy the kids and grandkids more and more and just taking of with the missus when we feel like it. i think as a person who has done this all their lives you will never really quit until the good Lord calls you home as there will always be things to tinker with. to my fellow technicians enjoy your retirement from the rat race.

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I don't understand the concept of "at some time we have to quit and go home". I am the same person I first discovered when I fixed my first bicycle or put the first handle in the hammer that Grandma gave me for my 8'th birthday. It was a black smith hammer that Grand pa once used.  I have been fixin since the early 50's, and fully intend to fix until my body fails me to the point that I am no longer capable.  Life is too short than to waste a single moment thinking  of what could have been or where the nearest fishing hole or golf course is.  Be an active participant in something worthwhile to yourself.  I am only 76 I may change my mind after I turn 80 or or some other old age.  My latest  tool purchase was a 33 MM 3/4 drive deep lug nut socket to set the 500 Ft Pounds torque for our transit bus RV project.  Yea, I am still at it!  with the 600 FT# Snap-On TR

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Your lucky you have a choice, in my case they said your gone, sending it to Mexico . Oh by the way do you want to go down there and get it set for us on contractors,do you want my answer ?

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2 hours ago, FARMALL FIXER said:

Been doing some thinking lately , been turning wrenches for 39 years , started at 17 right out of high school . Allways worked 2 jobs , mechanic at the local IH dealership untill 1990 than my own repair buisness since than as well as working EMS too . The mechanic end of things provided for my Wife and 3 kids , paid for thier college education and the normal day to day necessities and emergencies of raising a family . Years of long hours ,cement floors and abusing the body kind of starts to take a toll on the body , at 56 I dont consider myself old yet years wise but arthritis and worn out joints catches up to a person . 

Just a darn hard decision to make on something that has been such a major part of ones life !

Your right about cement floors been on them since 14 at 49 feet and knee about gone .when not at work I’ve been wearing crocs at first they didn’t feel to manly now I don’t care , makes my feet feel better. 

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35 minutes ago, ky966boy said:

Your right about cement floors been on them since 14 at 49 feet and knee about gone .when not at work I’ve been wearing crocs at first they didn’t feel to manly now I don’t care , makes my feet feel better. 

I wear Crocs constantly for my feet.  I do wear whatever they call those anklet socks when I wear them out to dinner.  Boots or my crocs and I am good to go!

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Yeah, rough I am sure. I sit behind a computer all day and it also has health consequences. It's not good sitting for so many hours a day and my waist line is proof. In the month and a half were down earlier this year I lost quite a bit of weight, actually being active through the day. The headaches I've had for years went away. Felt better than I had in at least 5 years. It's really got me to thinking myself. I'm 44 so getting older is getting older, but I now realize that sitting behind a desk isn't what we were made for. Neither is sitting on concrete I'm sure. Good luck no matter what you do!

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i hope i never retire, in the sense i get to work at my own pace and own wrenching of my choice - i like lil projects and what not - fortunately i have spent managed time on concrete. I hope you guys have a good retirement and figure it all out sounds like several here pondering it. my neighbor that worked on heavy frame trucks and such for ford is still at it he is 70 but works off/on on projects of choice

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I slowed way down when I hit 50,

at 55 I  basically let go all of my high stress related accounts. 

Should have done it sooner . 

 

One things for sure , even though it’s differant for everyone, You’ll know if you waited too long . 

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I'm 73, same as you I started with a clutch on a '61 chev when I was 14, two jobs until '95, retired in '08, always did my own work, last job I did was my girls jeep rad a bit ago,  with all the ailments I made an appointment in 2 weeks to have my jeep serviced, first time ever. My buddy is cheap at 50 bucks an hour so I figure a few hundred and I won't hurt is worth it, I'll keep on with my bike because nobody really knows old shovels anymore.

I figure I've done pretty good but the arthritis is eating me up, and the RA in my hands and wrist made the decision for me, gotta say ratz though, because maybe a shawl and a rocking chair might be next while I'm yelling go away to all the young whippersnappers?

 

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I've been at it since 2007 full time after exiting post secondary schooling.  Hard to believe how much things have changed since even then.  At 33, I'm starting to kinda burn out doing it for 2 jobs.  I've done well for myself but with 2 kids, and another on the way it's tough, along with trying to help with farmwork as some of my leisure (which usually isnt very leisurely anymore).  

I've spent a TON of money of tools and equipment and for a guy that does it "on the side" probably have some stuff some dealers dont even have.  Carved a pretty good customer base out just locally with that.  It's just hard to quit when you have the stuff.  

Diagnosis is like a drug for me, I'm a sucker and love schematics, electrical, and hydraulics etc.   Probably the only thing that keeps me in it.  Heavy work and tearing stuff into 2000 pieces isnt my cup of tea.  

Your post stirred some thoughts though, Its just not the same anymore.  Stuff is stupid expensive and difficult to work with.  Technology is used to stymie us.  People are difficult to work with.  Its physically demanding.  

 

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I spent a good share of my time in a field service truck. Got to see and be around a lot of things most people aren't able to. Some customers I still see but some I don't have to be nice to anymore!

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If you guys figure out how to sell a small business, let me know.  The 12-14 hour days between a full time job and my businesses is wearing on me.  Nobody wants to take over a small business anymore or work that hard.

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I cam out of the army in 1971. Went to tech school for two years and started as ag. mechanic. Worked full time as  ih,then case-ih  at the same dealership till i turned 68 1/2 and then worked  part time till this last june. Body just wore out . Bad feet,knees, and finger cramps. Had a good run!  But going till 71 not too bad.                                                                                                         

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Thinking about stopping the wrenching myself but sure can't afford to. Started in November of 1979 at 19 and I've pretty much been doing it ever since as well as a little farming. (180 acres) Turned 60 in February and it was like hitting a brick wall. Fingertips seem numb, knuckles won't bend, knees are sore as well as a hip.  Sore shoulders and they crack when I lift my arms. Keep going on I guess. 

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28 minutes ago, Pete1468 said:

If you guys figure out how to sell a small business, let me know.  The 12-14 hour days between a full time job and my businesses is wearing on me.  Nobody wants to take over a small business anymore or work that hard.

Exactly !

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My retirement hero was a fellow in his 80's that I used to buy small engines from.  He would travel around and buy riding mowers and such and part them out. Not because he had to, but because he loved doing it. I think he was 85 when I got the last Briggs v twin from him.  My friend who has been a JD mechanic for 40 years and works on the side says he just doesn't take on big jobs anymore, but is never short of stuff that takes an hour or so to fix. It's all about what you can and want to do. Everybody's different.  Most mechanics that I know, though, wouldn't be happy never turning a wrench again.

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