Dealers: You love what you do. Right?


THIS COLUMN originally was going to expand on something Mike Vaughan brings up in his column on the last page of this magazine.

In talking about the news that Kawasaki is taking its Costco referral program nationwide, Vaughan points out the never ending negativity that inevitably creeps into any discussion about a new product, new concept, new proposal or impending change in the motorcycle industry.

It’s an observation for a larger point he’s making, but Vaughan is on to something. See the negative online comments accompanying our story about the Kawi/Costco partnership. But don’t stop there. At any given time stories on our website elicit nothing but negative comments.

And it’s not just our website. This grumbling pessimism and negativity is all pervasive across a myriad blogs, websites, forums, even in person among groups of industry folks. New bike model? It sucks. Someone get a promotion? Oh, he’s an asshole. New biker TV show? What a bunch of tools.

Understood that things have been in the toilet now for a few years and thoughts run bleak in times like these, but this creeping negativism isn’t relegated only to the recession years. It was evident even in the Boom Time, often from the same folks spewing bile now (hmm, maybe there’s something to that?).

Now I understand that some people are just irascible cranks, and I’m no Pollyanna — far from it — but I guess my original question to those who grumble and spit is, what the hell?

But I digress. This was going to be the topic of this column until the day that I sat down to write it I got news of the death of one of the biggest influences on my adult professional life. Jolene Combs, adviser for my junior college journalism program and mentor to countless working journalists, died July 13.

Prior to entering her classroom, I’d never encountered an educator of such wit, passion and energy who demanded excellence and encouraged all. Just about any student who came through the El Camino College journalism program absorbed Combs’ love of the profession, which she taught with such exacting standards that those who learned AP Style through her relentless testing still remember how she phrased her questions.

As an adult deciding to get a college degree at age 25, I was a bit of an aimless lout who finally found direction through Combs and her colleague Lori Medigovich. These two taught me to love the profession, helped me channel my latent abilities and served to guide my way into this career.

I learned that excellence isn’t something to rest on, but something to continually try to attain. That the next story I write will be the best one I write, and so on. Her teaching helped me into a profession, but her words gave me something more.

What does this have to do with the motorcycle industry and the negativity that spreads through it like a rash? Well, as far as I know, JC wasn’t a motorcyclist, but the lessons she taught me and the guidance she gave transcends any one topic.

You see, JC had “three things,” a trio of principles that would help you find success in life. Find someone to love, who loves you back. Be healthy. And, find something you love to do for a living. She’d say the first two were out of your control to a degree, but the third was well within your power.

And this is why I ask, what the hell? We’re all likely in this industry because it’s something we love to do. I don’t know too many people getting rich in powersports, but I do know a lot who love that their careers intersect with their passion.

Taking JC’s advice, I made the choice to do something I love doing in a business I love. So I don’t understand those who made the same choice, who piss and bemoan anything and everything that comes along. I don’t know what purpose it serves other than to reflect a poor attitude.

Think about it. This is what we get to do for a living. This. You’ve gotta admit, this is pretty cool.
Thanks, JC.

Dennis Johnson
Editor in Chief

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5 Responses to “Dealers: You love what you do. Right?”

  1. Dave "Dako" Koshollek Says:

    Great words of advice Dennis. I too encounter a lot of biker bashing in our business. And yet, when I ask a room full or powersports people how many love their job – almost always, all hands go up. Then, during break they’ll complain about their manufacturer, brands that aren’t their favorite, their customers and the government’s over-regulation of our sport both local and national.

    Ahhh, the government – I think that should be our biggest concern. How do we, as a group get the government’s attention and respect when we are so fragmented as a group? Why should the government listen to us when we’re not on the same page; when we argue and disagree with each other? While we’re complaining and criticizing each other our rights to ride and protection from distracted drivers are disappearing in front of our eyes.

    I’ve said for some time, “The good thing about this business is the passion everyone has. The bad thing about this business is the passion everyone has”. Time to put that passion in check, step back and realize that anyone involved in the powersports business (2, 3 or 4-wheels) is better than anyone not involved in the powersports business. You don’t have to love your fellow rider, just give he or she the respect you want for yourself.

  2. 2Big2Ride Says:

    Dennis, just wanted to say thank you for this post.

    Makes you ask yourself how much energy do we all expend over the things we cannot control while being distracted from the positive things we can influence and control?

  3. Emily Franklin Says:

    Thanks for this! There is way too much negativity, especially in cyberspace. I guess they feel big and bad behind their computer. Let’s pat each other on the back and congratulate one another! Embrace change, it’s almost always a good thing.

  4. lorin alminde Says:

    lorin aka hellbent , i work as a sales rep i love my job more then anything im a biker frist a sales rep secend , i beleav its shud be a as far from car sales as it can get it shud be fun and sales reps shud ride or love bikes , but wen it was good all the shops in fl took on car sales tacticks , we have to get back to the way bike shops use to run , and the one i work at now is that way and were are doing grate , but the biz is tuff right now and its hard to makeing a liveing , i dont wanna do anythig thing eals in my life i love what i do , i even have my 2 bikes in the liveing room ,

    but yes i love what i do

  5. These words are for you « Dealernews Blog Says:

    […] then there was my editor’s note from our September issue, “You love what you do. Right?” This one seemed to stir something in […]

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