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Posted by Julie Gruenholz

Sabbatical- Is It More Like Work or Retirement?

April 24, 2020

Short answer:

I have no idea. I've never been retired, so I can't compare. A definite answer would be like trying to tune a pH PID loop with only acid control and no base - you can make some guesses, but a concrete result is not possible.

San Diego, CA

Long answer:

I'm currently on a 4 month sabbatical with my fellow Hallam-ICS employee, Michel. We're very grateful to have this opportunity and to work for a company which was willing to let us have time off to have a fantastic adventure. We're riding our bicycles from San Diego, CA to Portland, ME. We drove from VT to San Diego, visiting friends and family along the way, sold the car, took a quick trip to Hawaii to visit my dad and other family, then started pedaling back to the east coast.bikes in Vermont

We've been riding since April Fool's Day (a fitting departure date) and will return to work in mid July. There is a lot of time to think while pedaling. Like all things in life, I try to learn from past experiences. Traveling this far on a bike is similar to writing control system software. Riding 4,000 miles is a huge project, with lots of planning required, like starting a large software project. But, like all well written software, I can apply the S88 philosophy and break it down into manageable chunks. We have a few major map points to hit, but we plan only one or a few days at a time.Flat Tire Riding 90 miles on loaded (90 pound) bikes is pretty manageable if you don't focus on doing that several days in a row. Hopefully thinking this way will allow me to still perform my job effectively when I return to work.

So, in some ways sabbatical is like work, but I hope it is also like retirement. There is only one task a day, so there is no multitasking, which makes for no stress. I also hope in my retirement I have something to keep my mind busy. Calculating miles to go is a little too simple. I've been working on a formula to calculate energy required for each day of cycling that includes mileage, feet climbed and wind, but the wind is just not predictable enough and there is not a good way to calculate total wind resistance between the west and east coast. Blog 6 - IMG_8865-1.jpgSo, I have to settle for thinking about stupid stuff to try to keep annoying songs out of my head. When I hiked the Presidential Range in New Hampshire with another Hallam-ICS employee (hi Brenda!) I had “Stacy's Mom” by Fountains of Wayne going through my head the whole time. Luckily I've been able to find a new song each day to go with each town we ride through. I'm glad we're past Winslow, AZ so I can move past the Eagles “Take it Easy”. Anyone know a song that is about Albuquerque? 

See you in July!







About the Author

Julie Gruenholz is a Senior Control Systems Engineer for Hallam-ICS. As an Electrical Engineer, she has been designing, installing, modifying and programming control systems since 1991.

Read  My Hallam Story  

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: Inspired Engineering

Julie Gruenholz

By Julie Gruenholz

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April 24, 2020

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