Reporter's Blog

A Letter to the Industry

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For five and a half years, I’ve driven my car to 10 Missions Media and parked in the same parking spot. This Friday will be my last day doing that. On Friday, I move to a new city without a job lined up. 

This is the longest I’ve ever worked at a job (I know some of you out there are probably rolling your eyes, and, I know... It’s not that long, but I’m a millennial) and I’ve really come to love working here, which I honestly did not see coming. 

My journey to become the associate editor of Ratchet+Wrench has been a long and unexpected one. I got my undergrad from the University of Minnesota in Elementary Education. I moved to Milwaukee and taught Kindergarten for one year and decided to go back to school to pursue Fashion Journalism. I went to San Francisco, got my degree and moved back here. I interned at a well-known Twin Cities publication for a few months, where I was making less than $10 an hour working a maximum of 30 hours when I saw a job posting for a “Web Content Producer.” 

I needed a job. A full-time job. I clicked on the post—it was for a company that produced trade publications for the automotive industry. I am not being dramatic when I say that I barely know what my own car is. I have never had any interest in cars. Truthfully, I still don’t. But, I needed a job.  

I applied for the job and, much to my surprise and gratitude, the 10 Missions Team took a chance and hired me on. I started out working on our social media platforms, assembling news and newsletters, and working on smaller print pieces.

My first few interviews, I was scared to death.The picture in my head of an automotive repair shop or collision repair shop owner was someone that was going to be gruff and talk down to me or shame me for not knowing what certain abbreviations stood for. I could not have been more wrong. I quickly learned that 10 Missions Media’s publications (Ratchet+Wrench and FenderBender, at the time I started) weren’t about cars—they were about people.  

Throughout my time here, I have met and interviewed some of the nicest, most caring people I’ve ever encountered. More than once, I’ve been brought to tears by your stories. You’ve all taught me so much and inspired me through your love of the industry. And for that, I want to say thank you. 

On Friday, I move to start a new chapter in my life with my soon-to-be husband, but I will never forget this one and how much fun I had tackling something that was so out of my comfort zone and learning about an industry that I knew absolutely nothing about. I have an entirely new outlook on auto repair and that’s because you’ve all given me a new perspective and face to the industry. 

Thank you all so much for sharing your time, knowledge, critiques, ideas and input with me. You pushed me and gave me the courage to take this next scary step. 

It’s funny to look back at the end of something to the very beginning. What if I’d never clicked on that job posting? After all, I wasn’t qualified. I was out of my element. But, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, once again, thank you to the 10 Missions Team for taking a chance on me and thank you to the industry for accepting me and teaching me what it’s really about. 


Tess Collins 

(Soon to be former) associate editor of Ratchet+Wrench 

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