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Posted by John Kurowski

My Midlife Crisis….at Hallam-ICS

May 13, 2019

I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “oh, he’s just having a mid-life crisis”. This is said after someone does something or buys something completely out-of-character compared to the rest of his or her life.Before I came to Hallam-ICS, I worked for a big company with many people in one location. I saw first-hand some terribly bad decisions that people dubbed a mid-life crisis. I took notice. I’m not sure why, but I compiled a list that was off limits to myself when I got to the age where people might use the dreaded phrase.  My personal list is:

  • no earrings
  • no pony tail
  • no tattoos
  • no sleeveless T-shirts
  • no convertible Mazda Miata

(and heaven forbid, a combination of any of those together). You know exactly what I’m talking about.

My list of off limit

I’m not sure if anyone has said that I have had a mid-life crisis behind my back. (Although if true, it will be funny when that person reads this blog.) However, I have a few self-described things that might qualify as a mid-life crisis. Let’s start with motorcycles. I do NOT have a Harley-Davidson, but I do have a big cruiser that I ride with a group of friends on 1 or 2 days per month in the summer. There are no leather chaps, no leather jackets, and no du-rags associated with cruising on my big motorcycle. I will say however, I find it hilarious to watch doctors and lawyers dress up like bad-ass gang members at motorcycle rallies in Laconia and Lake George. I don’t do that. In addition to my cruiser bike, I ride a sport bike (crotch rocket style) to and from work daily in the summer. Admittedly, I am happy going zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. Maybe this isn’t a mid-life crisis; I’ve been doing it since I was 22 years old.

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Last year after ski season ended, I did something that was related to years-worth of pent-up frustration. In snow country, there is a ritual. Every fall, you have your summer tires taken OFF, and your snow tires put ON. Then in the spring, everyone (usually on the same day) reverses the procedure; snows OFF, summers ON. Well, I had enough of that, and all the hassle of scratched rims and a bad spin balance.

Phoenix Tire Changer

 So, I bought myself a tire changing machine and a spin balancer. There will never be a Return-On-Investment with this endeavor, but I will never make a tire appointment on the same day as everyone else, and I will never be upset about a tire vibration that wasn’t there 6 months ago. I thought about this for years before I actually did it. Now, I have these two giant machines occupying my garage, and I am happy about it. Maybe this isn’t a mid-life crisis either; I thought about it for far too long before acting.

This year before ski season started, I became the proud owner of a full drum set. Do I play the drums? No. Well, I did 40 years ago… kind of. My parents encouraged me to play many different instruments. Drums was one of the groups of instruments that I tried. At the time, I chose to play all the brass instruments. Again, the thought to buy drums has been on my mind for many years, but I would never go to a music store to purchase new. In this case; our local, community, on-line forum happened to present me this opportunity, and I took it.  Now this might be closer to a mid-life crisis because I have never muttered a word to anyone about getting back into music, and it would probably be a surprise to anyone who walks into my home. I’m still not sure this qualifies for a full mid-life crisis, and it is definitely not the craziest thing I have ever done.  Again, I’m happy with the decision.

What does any of this have to do with Hallam-ICS? Well, nothing. Except. Four and a half years ago, I left a company where I had worked for 30 years. THAT was a crisis. At the time, I had an identity as the Facilities Chemical Systems guy. Everyone knew who to call with a chemical question, and everyone knew who to call when there was a chemical problem. Suddenly, I was not that guy. THAT was a crisis. My former colleagues and technicians called me for year and a half after I left with chemical questions. THAT was a crisis. That same year, I started working for Hallam-ICS. My former company hired Hallam-ICS to send me back for one week to do my old job. THAT was a crisis. Only now do I realize how big a deal all that was. At the time, I didn’t really think about it. Maybe working at Hallam-ICS was a good mid-life career move that made the transition easy. Maybe I did have a mid-life crisis. And maybe, I’m only realizing it now.

About the Author

John has a B.S.  in Chemical Engineering from Penn State and a M.S. in Manufacturing Engineering from RPI. Prior to coming to Hallam-ICS, John had 30 years of experience working in Manufacturing/Process/Facilities Engineering for printed circuit board and semiconductor manufacturing.  As a Senior Engineer at Hallam-ICS, John is responsible for the design and specification of Toxic Gas Monitoring Systems. He participates in all project design phases from concept through construction documents.

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About Hallam-ICS

Hallam-ICS is an engineering and automation company that designs MEP systems for facilities and plants, engineers control and automation solutions, and ensures safety and regulatory compliance through arc flash studies, commissioning, and validation. Our offices are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and North Carolina and our projects take us world-wide.

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Topics: Culturally Different

John Kurowski

By John Kurowski May 13, 2019

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