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Dealer downtime: exploring hobbies and interests that fuel auto retail professionals

Even the most dedicated automotive retail professional needs an outlet outside work to recharge their batteries

It’s restating the obvious, but a career in automotive retail requires dedication, energy, and laser-sharp focus. Besides a paycheck, the benefits of this type of work include the adrenaline rush that comes from a fast-paced environment and high-stakes deals. Yet, even the most dedicated professional needs an outlet outside work to recharge their batteries. The good news is that the competitive and creative instincts that often motivate an auto retail professional translate seamlessly into engaging hobbies and interests.

We’ve put together perfect activities that provide an ideal escape from the rigors of dealership life. 

Rock climbing 

Success in automotive sales comes from focus and quick reflexes, exactly the same skill sets required for rock climbing. Scaling a sheer vertical wall requires fierce concentration while under significant stress, testing physical strength and mental sharpness. Auto retail professionals who enjoy the rush of negotiating a complex deal will find similar stimulation from pushing their limits on a rock face. Such challenges aren’t limited to climbing Yosemite’s El Capitan; chances are there’s an indoor climbing center nearby.

Endurance athletics  

Marathon running, triathlons, cycling, and swimming races require discipline, mental toughness, and physical stamina; the same qualities that make for a successful automotive retail professional. Preparing for an ultra-marathon or similar contest aligns with a strong work ethic. And like rock climbing, performing while uncomfortable and fatigued develops the mental fortitude necessary for high-stress workplace scenarios. 


We’re not saying you can be a Golden Gloves champ, but recreational boxing combines an intense workout with precise physical skills. Most areas have boxing gyms that offer a classroom setting with heavy bags. You might even consider hiring a personal trainer for focused instruction, including tactical sparring. Boxing is all about pushing yourself, something that’s common in the car business. One thing’s for sure: if you wear boxing gloves, you’ll never listen to Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger the same way.


Perhaps it’s time to resurrect those long-dormant piano or guitar skills or start from scratch with a new instrument. Music’s improvisational nature resonates with the dynamic rhythms of the car business. Whether you’re playing for yourself or an audience, creating music enhances your intuitive listening and communication skills, something that’s also necessary for interacting with customers and colleagues. At the same time, jam sessions build confidence. 


Sometimes, a calmer escape is in order. Sculpting clay provides a therapeutic and creative release. This reflective activity is enhanced by the tactile sensation of taking something raw and transforming it into a finished piece. Taking up pottery as a regular hobby or occasional event means putting aside professional responsibilities in favor of something solely involving imagination and self-expression. Best of all, a ceramics studio is a judgment-free space free of customers and co-workers. 

Glass blowing 

If ceramics aren’t enough of a creative challenge, consider glass blowing as an alternative. Using heat and molten glass can easily satisfy tactile inclinations. At the same time, the need for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills can support the computer-based tasks that are part of your job. As your glass-blowing skills improve, so will your sense of gratification.  


Yoga’s controlled breathing and gentle poses relieve stress after a hectic and demanding workday. In addition, yoga can clear a busy mind and create mental space through breathing exercises. Yoga also has a physical requirement that can restore and recenter the body. You may even find that using yoga breathing activities at work can offer a moment of calmness.  

Mountain biking  

Biking on a rugged trail can satisfy an adventurer’s need for adrenaline while providing an intense physical challenge. Meanwhile, navigating steep inclines and sharp downhills demands ultra-focus, lightning reflexes, and stamina. It’s the same competitive spirit and risk-taking instincts that are inherent in many automotive retail professionals.   

Community theater or comedy 

Successful auto salespeople and actors have many things in common, like being outgoing, having exceptional communication abilities, and being able to think on their feet. Why not apply these skills to a community theater or improv comedy night? Such activities can improve your public speaking talents, and you’ll have a chance to experience the camaraderie and teamwork inherent in theater troupes. And to truly test your metal, invite your dealership colleagues to the performance!

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David Goldberg
David Goldberg
David Goldberg is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He brings a unique combination of dealership experience, a lifelong love of automobiles, and a journalism background to his writing for CBT News. He has a BA in journalism from The George Washington University.

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