How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Grandpa Jack & Motivators ~ Part 14

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last week I mentioned the importance of understanding your own inner motivations.  At the end of my post, I let you know I’m into step aerobics.  I started step last October 2011 offered through Des Moines Public Schools Community Education and taught by Rhonda Judge, a wonderfully talented instructor.

I first took step aerobics during a Physical Fitness and Conditioning course at ISU.  I liked it back then (1995) and always thought about getting back into it.  But geez Amy, it took me well over 16 years to do so!  That’s a bit embarrassing, and I hope if you want to do something, please don’t wait that long!

How am I getting motivated to do step aerobics after all these years? 

I am going to compare it to how I am motivated to get fit and how I got motivated to do well in college (recall I was a high school dropout–what a dud!); and I want to look at what motivates people to work to their best ability.

3 objectives here:

First, what motivates a person to exercise? As far as step aerobics, it’s a workout using a step of four inches in height in front of your body. While listening to the instructor (and music) in a room full of like-minded people, you perform a choreographed exercise routine.  Step is a form of endurance training. You burn calories, increase your strength and flexibility, and improve your gait and balance. Sounds good, huh? Trust me, it works in a fairly short period of time….if you stick to it. The most important aspect of any type of exercise or training is the positive impact it has on your mental health.  There’s your motivator #1!

 

Step Aerobics is Fun!

Secondly, how do students find the motivation to do well academically? There are different concepts of motivation (extrinsic and intrinsic). In my case, I love to learn but not in a controlled environment (eg: how school was structured in the 60s, 70s & 80s…do what the teacher says, memorize, take tests, get graded–external pressure/external rewards.) Once I had autonomy (going to college), and I became driven by my interests and enjoyment in the tasks involved in my learning, I realized, hey not so dumb after all!  

My intrinsic motivation soared! 

My quest for learning jumped through the roof!  There is no ceiling in my place, so I’m going for a state of wisdom perhaps, ha ha ha, wishful thinkin!  The process of self-enlightenment shines through when you focus on your interests and tap into your inner wisdom.  There’s your motivator #2!

After the comic scroll down please, there’s more…

And thirdly, let’s take a peek at what motivates people to work to their best ability.  I want to introduce you to my maternal grandfather.  John V. Dodge.  The V is for Vilas. Grandpa didn’t really like his middle name, he said it sounded like a pickle.

Grandpa’s career was in writing, as a publishing executive. Jack (what everyone called him) worked for Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., for well over 50 years. Encyclopedia Britannica is an international educational publisher with products that promote knowledge and learning. For a long time Gpa was the editor in chief.  If you click on the previous link, I’ve attached the typical responsibilities of an Editor in Chief.  Jack was also an Army Intelligence Officer during World War II.

Jack and Jean Dodge (Gpa and Gma) lived in the Chicago Illinois area all their lives.  Gpa had a college degree from Northwestern University (well Gma did too).  Gpa also studied for a time at the University of Bordeaux, France.  For his work, Gpa traveled worldwide.  Gpa was fluent in seven languages, and culture and people simply fascinated him.

Jack and Jean had four children:  Ann (my mom), John, Gerald and Kay.  Here’s a picture of Jack in his room at home.  It was taken in June of 1986.  Besides all the books on the bookcase, notice the print.  I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I’m pretty sure it’s famous.  I’ll find out and get back to you with the info.

G’pa would love love love the World Wide Web!  

Here is a story I wrote about Gpa for an English Composition class in 1981.

Grandpa continued to consult during his retirement (and hang out with Jean in Florida during the wintertime!) Jack loved to help others to learn. When you use your best skill sets and love what your work is about, you become naturally motivated to work to your best ability. There’s your motivator #3!

Every person has different motivations for working. The reasons for working are as individual as the person. But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work. Working to your best ability is gratifying.  The something we obtain from work impacts our morale and motivation and the quality of our lives. 

As a vocational counselor, I work to help others experience success in their work efforts.  This is always a win-win-win situation….for my client, an employer, and me! I hope you enjoy this post and my blog writings.

Enjoy Yourself

 

Read on and enjoy!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

How the Past Has Brought Me to The Present! Part 13

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here’s an example of how I helped others to learn using a visual…..read on please!

To prepare for a presentation titled Weight Management Techniques for my Personal & Consumer Health course at ISU in November of 1993, I visited my local Fareway grocery store meat man down the street.  He happily turned over five pounds of meat fat free of charge, chuckling at my request and my reason for it.

My presentation focused on how to maintain a healthy body composition and to help avoid disease through a combination of moderate exercise and a low-fat diet.  I stressed the importance of understanding your own physical make-up and inner motivations before starting a weight reduction program.  I offered a number of techniques that can be used to meet your weight loss objectives.  At the end of the presentation, as a grand finale, I passed around the blob of fat to serve as a visual.

This is 1 pound of body fat.  It was passed around to every student in class…gross…..but effective!

To get to know your own physical make-up, one method is to estimate your body fat percentage.  The Body Mass Index (BMI)  is based upon simple weight and height measures.

The BMI calculation is an indirect measurement, and has been found to be a fairly reliable indicator of body fat measurements in most people. It is a number representing your weight distribution and, for most, is a good quantifier to determine if you are overweight.

If you have a lot of muscle mass, you’ll likely have higher limits. Here’s a BMI calculator from the Mayo Clinic for your reference.   A value between 18.5 and 25 is considered a normal weight.

Another method, now a days, it to look at your “Lean Body Mass”, and know how to calculate it.  What is Lean Body Mass (aka LBM)? Simply put, lean body mass is comprised of everything in your body besides body fat.  Your lean body mass includes:


 …and anything else in our bodies that has mass and is not fat.  As an aside, for the average adult male about 42% of body weight is skeletal muscle and it’s about 35% for females.

Lean Body Mass Formula: Lean Body Mass = Body Weight – (Body Weight x Body Fat %)

This equation is taking your body weight in pounds and subtracting it from the amount of fat you have in your body in terms of pounds.  Simple.  If you don’t know how to measure your body fat, here are are Ways  to Measure Body Fat.

Here’s another web page that will help you calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist-to-Height ratio, percent body fat, and lean body mass.  Diet Calculator, Body Fat Calculator

Calculator

Ideal Body Weight and Percent Body Fat

The ideal weight and fat-lean ratio varies considerably for men and women and by age, but the minimum percent of body fat considered safe for good health is 5 percent for males and 12% for females. The average adult body fat is closer to 15 to 18% for men and 22 to 25% for women.

I hope the information in this post is helpful to you.  I am in progress of changing my body composition (aka:  losing body fat, lowering my weight, trying to ditch the gut, firming up, whatever!!!…) through exercising and watching what I eat, especially tracking daily carb and sugar intake.

I’ve been into yoga for well over a year, and I recently started a step aerobics class.  If there is something you feel you need to do to get fit, start now.  Try something! Do it for yourself.

Dennis has the best words of wisdom:

Thank you for reading!  On to more next week!  Post 14 I believe! Any comments are welcome!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Part 12

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I continue to blog about recollections while attending Iowa State University in the mid-1990s.  Seems like yesterday I was on campus, but alas, time has taken us all much into the future…and it is fun to have fond memories.

In the Spring of 1993, I took 12 credits.  The courses were:  Legal Environment of Business, Business and Social Science Calculus, Business Organization and Management, Principles of Marketing.  I remember these classes (in an earlier post I praised the tutor I hired to get me through the Calculus course).  After this semester, I realized – hey these courses don’t really trip my trigger (other than the legal business course).

As I wrote about in my blog post on January 16, 2012 –  Part 9 I switched my major to Community Health Education.  In a very small nutshell ~ we’ll say a filbert ~

Health Education enhances the quality of life for all people.  For more detail, please click here – What is CHE?  I was very happy to find this major, it really fit in well with my interests, personality and learning style preference.

Now with a new academic outlook, I signed up for 17 credits in the Fall of 1993.  My courses were:  Principles of Biology, Emergency Health Care, Personal & Consumer Health, Drug Education, Individual and Family Life Development and Normal Personality.  All As and Bs, well and a C in biology.  GPA is 3.24.

I worked really hard for my grade in the biology course – which included a class and a lab.  Making my stains, focusing my microscope, studying those micro-organisms, memorizing scientific names, working with my biology partner, turning in lab work and taking tests…  I was genuinely trying to be positive about the whole course – but not really “getting” what I think I was supposed to be “getting” Get what I’m getting at?

Do you learn best by hearing someone say something?  By seeing it written down in words?  By studying diagrams or pictures?  By doing it yourself, or with a partner?  All of these ways of learning can be useful, but most people don’t have a clue about the best way for them to learn. The key to passing many a course at the college level (or to find success at tackling a project at work) is to first figure out how you learn.   Then apply that information to how the instructor structures the course (or you supervisor or team members are structuring the project.)

I recommend you get to know your own learning style to figure out how you “get things”. Take a minute or two to take this short VARK questionnaire that provides you with a profile of your learning preferences.  Here is a link to more information about VARK

I took the questionnaire and my scores were:

Visual: 3

Aural: 1

Read/Write:  4

Kinesthetic:  7

I have a kinesthetic learning style preference according to the test.

You can also look at the various studying strategies available on that VARK website to find some that work best for each of these learning styles.  I hope this is helpful….even if you are no longer a college student. For more information about your learning style,  see good old Wikipedia – I learn from it!

If you work like I work, you learn something new every day.  I personally like to learn (or to memorize) using a  double “clip art with acronym” method.  For example and this is one we all know.  What are the seven conventional colors of the rainbow?

Roy G Biv ~ You have a visual in two ways!

Stay tuned, for part 13 of “my story” and how I mix up my thoughts on work, life, love and passions as a rehab counselor.  Next week I’ll write about how I used FAT to teach.

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How My Past Has Brought Me to The Present! Part 11

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I was really enjoying my coursework at Iowa State University.  I took anywhere from 12-19 credits per semester.  I was hitting the books hard, studying constantly, and commuting back and forth to Ames.  Even on occasion making the trip twice in one day – I had a couple of night classes.

Go Clones!

For any of you who can relate, walking on a large campus can be quite a trip in itself.  The commuter club dropped us off at the Armory and we walked, and walked and walked.  Oh, and the cold during the winter………and the walking….and the huge class sizes (many of my courses, not all were 200+), and the walking, and the studying and the walking, and the tests…and my life!

Upon awaking she notices yellow highlighter stains on sheets and on various parts of body.  Read:  fell asleep hip (highlighting in progress)

I’ve been going through my ISU stuff, and found several papers and memorabilia from my ISU days.  I’ll be blogging about some of my recollections.  Here’s one!

In the Fall of 1992 (my first semester), I took Business Communications – a Speech class.  One of my first speeches was on something we all do, or will do sometime in the future.  I presented it the class with a clue:  It’s a 4 letter word, ends in k, it can be very good for some people and it can turn boring, monotonous and simply not challenging for others.  You’re right – work.  My visuals included a Barbie and a Ken doll.  Ugg, I know.  But they were my workers.  Click here (or check out my blog on workaholism) for the transcript of my training and development presentation on workaholism.  I have a video of my presentation, and may try to upload that somehow someday.

Thanks for reading. On to Part 12!?!

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Don’t Let Work Become a “Bad 4 Letter Word” – Workaholism

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Below if the transcript of Amy E. Botkin’s training and development presentation on Workaholism for Business Communications  ISU – Fall 1992.

WORKAHOLISM

I’m here to discuss something we all do, or will do sometime in the near future.  I’ll give you a clue to see if you can guess.  It’s a 4 letter word, ends in k, it can be very good for some people and it can turn boring, monotonous and simply not challenging for others.  Do you know the word I’m getting at? Don’t think too hard!

You’re right!  – the word is Work. 

Soon everyone in this room will enter the working world.  The future engineers, educators, journalists, managers, artists and so on in this room will all have demanding positions.  How is it that some people are able to handle the workload while others adopt bad habits and unhealthy work styles to cope with their job?

In this training and development session, I will discuss what workaholism is, compare the work style of a healthy worker with that of a workaholic, the significance of workaholism on the individual and the workplace, and general guidelines which may help you work with a workaholic.

Workaholism is a progressive disease in which a person is addicted to the process of working.  In a nutshell:  a workaholic’s life is dominated by his or her job.  How many of you know a workaholic?  I have a friend who works all the time. Please help me to welcome my helpers.

My visuals were Barbie…

Action:  Following an interview with a prospective client, Barbie blacked out in her office and was forced to spend a few days in the hospital. The doctors told her she had a minor heart problem and she should take a vacation to relax, yet she blew the doctor’s orders off.  Barbie’s life revolves around her work. Barbie does not know how to relax, as she is a workaholic. A definite symptom of a workaholic is the denial.  Barbie flatly denies she has a problem with work. She submitted her proposal the next morning, after working well into the evening.

Action:  Following an interview with a prospective client, Ken powered walked to his office and left work early so he could head to the beach with his family.  He recently had his annual physical from this regular doctor, which showed he continues to maintain great health.  The doctor recommended that Ken may want to do more walking, just to keep his heart healthy.  Ken’s life revolves around his work and his family.  Ken loves to relax and hang out with his friends.  Ken is looking forward to working with his new client and has plans to submit his proposal next week.

and Ken dolls…

Image result for working ken doll images

The main difference in work styles between Barbie and Ken is that Barbie’s work is out of control.  She is unable to relax, take time for herself or give time to her family.  Her work is her identity.

Ken, on the other hand, goes to work to provide for his family and to pay his bills.  Ken enjoys working and he loves his profession.  He fills discretionary time with recreation, volunteering, attending community functions or with his family and friends.

Workaholism can lead to personal health problems as well as inefficiencies in the workplace. Workaholics get burned out and tired from their frantic pace.  Tired workers make mistakes, spend extra time redoing the mistakes and have a higher incidence of accidents and illnesses.  Studies reveal that 40 hour work week often brings higher productivity than a 60 hour work week.

Chronic fatigue, headaches, backaches, difficulty sleeping, stomach problems and heart problems are all symptoms common in workaholics.  There are often merely disregarded as stress-related.  The fact is a workaholic’s body and mind are on overload and compounded with the inability to relax, devastating results are destined to happen.  Workaholism can be fatal if not prevented or treated timely.

A workaholic’s work style can create obstacles throughout the company.  There is a good possibility that communication problems with co-workers and clients will occur.  For example, since workaholics often exhibit peaks and valleys in job performance, co-workers can get mixed messages.  When a workaholic is “up” it is good for other co-workers.  When she is “down” confusion and miscommunication occur.  A healthy worker has strong communication skills.

A workaholic becomes obsessed about their job while not taking into account the whole picture behind their work.  This can be very dysfunctional in the workplace as the worker simply cannot be obsessive about a client or a particular account for example.  A healthy worker is able to focus on more than one project at a time.

A workaholic may constantly want to revise something in an attempt to make it perfect.  A perfectionist is often inconsistent in his or her productivity. They fluctuate between intense working and procrastination.  A healthy worker finds it best to level or balance out performance.

Often a workaholic needs to be in control in individual work as well as group work.  Since many companies rely on innovative teamwork, the workaholic is not a good team player and can hamper the group’s goals.  Teamwork is an essential component of today’s modern workforce. Problems related to workaholism can lead to inefficiencies in a company.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A WORKAHOLIC

  • Prefer jobs with important titles and the opportunity to control others
  • Has an obsessive nature about work
  • Needs to be in control
  • Makes endless lists of things to do
  • Exaggerates achievements and rarely mention failures
  • Are often perfectionists
  • Appear to work twice as hard as everyone else
  • May have other addictions to money, food or relationships
  • Cannot say “no” to excessive demands for fear of disapproval
  • Constantly seeks approval which they receive through work (needs to please others)
  • Has either overinflated or under inflated perception of self
  • Has a hard time seeing themselves honestly and accepting who they are
  • Operates in constant crisis mode, usually because their schedule is more than they can handle
  • Inability to relax, workaholics cannot just sit and be
  • Puts in endless hours, foregoes vacations and puts everything else on hold for the sake of work
  • Loses touch with families and friends
  • Denies the problem / disease

HOW TO WORK WITH A WORKAHOLIC

  • Learn your company’s mission statement.  Understand the objectives related to achieving it and stay focused.
  • Gain co-workers’ trusts from the beginning.  Take charge of your work and get it done promptly.
  • Do just the opposite of what a workaholic does.  Arrive at work on time and leave when the time is right.
  • Don’t get caught up in the “frantic” mode of work.  Make order out of the chaos.
  • Creatively adapt to the workaholic’s work patterns.  Study the person’s style and habits, and learn what triggers affect their pace of work.
  • Be respectful and helpful to all co-workers ~ Be a Team Player
  • Solve problems with flexibility and learn from the situation

 

“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.” ~ Henry J. Kaiser

In conclusion, workaholism is damaging to individuals, their relationships and their workplaces.  It leads to inefficiencies in the work place and can cost employers time and money.  The most valuable asset a worker carries is that of serenity of mind and a healthy physical presence.  If we work ourselves to death at the expense of health and mental well-being, we will ultimately fail.  A healthy company encourages their workers to get the rest, recreation, exercise and self-reflective time necessary in order to be effective and productive players.

I wish you all good luck in the future and encourage you to take your work seriously, yet at the same time enjoy your life to its fullest.

CALCULATE YOUR WORKAHOLISM RISK FACTOR

If you suspect you may be a workaholic, your responses to the following 20 statements will help you determine what course of action to take.  How often do each of the following statements apply to you? Give yourself:  0 points for never;  1 point for rarely;  2 points for occasionally;  3 points for often.  Then add your points and refer to the scoring ranges at the bottom.

  1. I find myself irritated or frustrated by situations I think I should be able to handle
  2. I get overly involved emotionally with my clients
  3. I overschedule appointments
  4. I have chronic physical ailments
  5. My spouse/partner, children and friends complain that I’m never home or able to do things with them
  6. I feel I have so much to do that I’ll never get to all of it
  7. I feel successful but not happy
  8. The costs of putting all my energy into my work outweigh the benefits
  9. I get anxious and depressed and wish I could leave the business, but I know I can’t
  10. I must keep driving myself to avoid disaster
  11. I feel edgy, anxious, or guilty when I’m not working
  12. I believe that if I don’t keep up the pace, I won’t survive
  13. I feel tire—nearly exhausted—all the time
  14. Anything less than perfection is failure
  15. I work more than ten hours per day, six or seven days a week
  16. I’m preoccupied with work-related concerns
  17. I keep telling myself that I’ll slow down and take some time off
  18. Work comes first in my life
  19. I feel as if something is wrong, but I don’t know what it is
  20. I have trouble falling asleep at night because I’m thinking about work

Scores:  1-20:  workaholism may not be a problem for you, but you may want to ask the people who know you well whether they agree with you assessments.  21-50:  you could be in the beginning or even the middle stages of workaholism.  Get a physical checkup and implement some changes.  51-60:  You’re most likely under a great deal of stress and have several physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.  Take immediate steps to get professional help.

 

How My Past Has Brought Me to The Present! Max the Manx, Something New and The Flood! Part 10

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Original blog publication Jan 23, 2012 @ 06:00

January 1993.  All is going well, traveling back and forth to ISU, learning, raising a child, enjoying married life and having my lovable cat Max (the Manx at my side.)  

Max

Then once upon a time, Randy and I started to get an idea and started to explore our options. All seemed to be the right time (trust your instincts people!)  We were both employed (he at DMPS and me at CorVel).  We both felt as we needed a change.  Something new, different, and exciting, so we decided to look around…at houses!

We placed our mobile home “aka trailer #47” (Southridge Estates, behind Southridge Mall) up for sale.  We planned to sell it on our own.  But (and a big but), the owners of the trailer court – one woman in particular, caused all sorts of heart, time and money aches for us. She was money hungry, greedy, selfish, and had an unethical business style. Whatever her problem was, her wicked personality was revealed…and

she was one bad apple.  

I’ve always been a “good guesser” of a person’s personality, which is that person’s particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patterns.  I prefer to use personality assessments when working directly with placement clients as it provides information that is useful for discussion purposes allowing a counseling relationship to grow.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is popular to find out your “type“.  The MBTI is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.  It is valuable to use when making career decisions.   If you haven’t taken it for yourself, please do!  (It costs, and my link above just gives an overview of it.)

Any guesses on what “type” I am?  You are right!

I am an ENTP – Extraverted Intuition with Thinking

Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems.  Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically.  Good at reading other people.  Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

Click here for a great free personality assessment.  This test is based on Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers typological approach to personality.

Anywhoo, we looked at many houses.  Thanks to our realtor DeAnn Lee of Iowa Realty, we found the perfect home, and during the Floods of 1993.  We had just put in a bid for the house, and well, our great city of Des Moines, Iowa came to a standstill.

I just paused from writing to locate the paperback book I own titled Iowa’s Lost Summer:  The Flood of 1993 published by The Des Moines Register.  The book was dedicated to the memory of Spc. Steven M. West, 30, a National Guard soldier from Ogden, Iowa, who was electrocuted July 16, 1993, while on duty in Des Moines.  He was erecting an antenna to allow communications with water trucks when the antenna touched a high-power line.  This book has incredible stories and vivid pictures.   

 

Iowa’s Lost Summer – The Flood of 1993

My boy Nick, age 3, loved to swim/lounge/splash about in the plastic swimming pool on the back deck of our trailer.  Luckily, I had not emptied it lately for a refill.  It intensely rained cats and dogs for like 15+ days straight and when Water Works was submerged by flood waters (July 11, 1993), the water went out into the City.  My little family of 3 were among 250,000 people without running water for 12 days.

Thank goodness it was completely full of rain water.

I used the rain water from our blue plastic pool for many purposes – a biggie was to flush the toilet, and even to take a bath.  It was boiled and used to wash dishes, and to clean up.  Looking back, I remember taking a bath with about a gallon of water.  Pretty impressive thinking how much water one can use daily under “normal” circumstances.

Remember the cans of drinking water distributed by Budweiser?  

Looking back, I witnessed a lot of people helping a lot of people. Randy did a lot of volunteering – can anyone say sandbagging is fun? I volunteered some, but not nearly as much as he did.  (BTW, during the summer of 93, Randy was taking courses up at ISU – getting on track for his master’s degree!….I’ll get to him in a post soon!

Randy forfeited going to class in Ames to sandbag

After all settled down, to some degree, and life returned to normal to some degree (what’s normal life??!!), the mobile home sold.  I’m glad I have pictures of my canary yellow 1970 Champion home for over four years.  We moved into our first house.  (Well, we had our stuff stored and stayed with Randy’s parents in Saylorville for a while due to timing issues.)  We have a 3 bedroom ranch with a full basement. And OMG a garage and a fenced in backyard!  It was October 1993.

Stay tuned, I hope you are enjoying my posts!  Comments are welcome.  On to Part 11 of How My Past Has Brought Me to The Present!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

How My Past Has Brought Me to the Present! Career and School, More of Both! Part 9

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As touched on in my last post, I was employed through Interim Personnel (now called Spherion Staffing) and was placed at CorVel Corporation.  Initially, it was just me and the newly transplanted branch manager (Scott).  I provided administrative secretarial services to him while he marketed the company, got the office up and running, and hired people.

Image result for you're hiredAfter the manager hired a nurse case manager (Ann) and a vocational case manager (Connie), I started to assist them too.  This allowed me to gain a better understanding of vocational rehabilitation services for workers’ compensation claims and this industry (basically cost containment for workers’ compensation claims through vocational and medical case management).

My role at CorVel was to perform secretarial administrative duties, deliver job placement services to clients with obstacles to employment; write concise and effective cover letters and resumes; train client in job seeking skills; prepare value added reports for insurance adjusters; and enter ICD9/CPT billing codes.  My work kept me busy and my brain was gaining valuable knowledge!  And most importantly, this is where I got my first taste of vocational work, specifically job placement.  And I liked it!  And I was good at it!

Now, in the summer of 1992, I applied as a transfer student to Iowa State University.  During orientation, I took the wonderful placement test to help determine the appropriate level of English [no problem for me] and math courses [oh boy!].  I started out at ISU in the College of Business with intentions of going for a business degree in marketing.

My first semester was, lets say…challenging.  Courses such as Management Information Systems, Financial Accounting, and Business Calculus – well, they were pretty much beyond my head.  Bottom line, because calculus and I didn’t see eye to eye (I even hired a tutor – Michael from Malaysia – smart dude who really helped me) and I busted my butt for this course and earned a C-, I decided to switch majors.  On to the School of Education I go.  I enrolled in the Community Health Education program.  Click here for explanation of that program.

As I full-time student, I was taking a full load of credits each semester.  Living on the South side of Des Moines in our lovely country yellow 1970 Champion trailer, and traveling to Ames daily took its toll on me and my car, a white 1990 Olds Cutlass Calais named Chelsea Megan.

“Chelsea Megan” – named by Nick, age 3 at the time

I soon learned about the Des Moines Commuter Club.  I joined and was recruited right away to be treasurer!

Now, I only drove Chelsea Megan once or twice a week North to Ames.  We (my fellow commuters) parked our cars at the Epworth United Methodist church parking lot (Euclid Avenue & 4th Street) and hopped on the interstate for a speedy jaunt to Ames.  Oh what good discussions we had enroute.  The Armory was the pick up/drop off point on campus  Anyone recall?

In September 1992, Randy accepted employment as an educator for Des Moines Public Schools and started teaching at North Alternative High School (now Casady Alternative Center).  This was good, as he would now have a regular salary (recall he was a substitute for a long time – working in a number of different schools; and then having the long term sub position at the alt school) and employee benefits!

I should mention the wonder boy Nickolas.

Randy & Nick on Carousel at Southridge Mall 1992

What a smart child. Okay, Nick is a smart adult too!  He was now 3 and being cared for at a daycare facility.  We were so blessed to be living by a good friend (Chele!) who would also babysit when we needed a break.  Nick & Chele to this day are bonded friends!

I hope you take time to assess your VALUES – what matters most to you.  I value Faith, Family & Freedom.   Feel free to take this values questionnaire.

Stay tuned, we are only approaching 1993    Part 10 up next!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Part 8

Reading Time: 3 minutesI enrolled again at Des Moines Area Community College in Spring 1990. I had already taken courses in the Fall of 1986-87 and 1987-88.

 Over a couple years’ times, I took many courses (at the Ankeny campus and the Urban campus) and graduated in 1992 with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts.

DMACC Transcripts

DMACC is an excellent educational institution and I recommend it highly! .Click here to learn more about what’s going on at DMACC   Ahem, Nick my boy, has only a few credits to complete…..get a move on young man!  Considering you were 1 when I went back to college at DMACC. I will help.

I remember one of my earlier instructors – Dr. Robin Orr (ISU Basketball Famous Coach Johnny’s daughter) taught Human Biology (click here for good info describing this course).  As our class was about to take a final, she stopped mid-sentence and asked us all to arise and take a deep breath.  Then she left the room and motioned for us to follow…we did…to a new room…..to take our test.  That moment in time really cleared the brain and prepared me to ace that test.

Thank you Robin, RIP

One day in speech class, (click here for a good explanation of this subject)  I recall talking to a classmate (right after a fellow classmate’s demonstration speech on how to make a subway sandwich!) of my intentions to continue on at Iowa State University.  I said to him, I’m not going to go ahead and get my degree here from DMACC, what does it matter since I am going on?  My wise classmate recommended I change my mind and receive the diploma as you never know what could happen.

Smart…so I did.  But for some unknown…I can’t find the diploma!  Wahhh. [Update early 2015!… DMACC Diploma found!]

I did graduate from DMACC, but did not do the walk.  Anyway, thank you fellow Mr. Classmate.  Wish I could remember your name!  I’m sure you are successful somewhere.

Another memory of DMACC was my teacher of Finite Math ( click here for a link to a good explanation of this subject).  I never thought I was much for mathematics…….but after her class I felt much better about my abilities!  She was an excellent teacher….and made (I mean absolutely made) us do our homework….and taught us how to do it!  No homework turned in, no grades.  This course helped me to learn how to think analytically….and not procrastinate with homework.

Again, I graduated from Des Moines Area Community College with a Liberal Arts Associates degree December of 1992.  Here’s a listing of my coursework! During part of this timeframe while attending DMACC,  I was employed at CorVel Corporation through Interim Personnel (a staffing agency).  CorVel has just opened a branch office in West Des Moines.  After the temporary to hire period (30 days), I was permanently hired on staff at CorVel in February of 1992.

More to come about that work in Part 9.  Stayed tuned!

As I continue to blog about my work–life, love-passion, I encourage you to take time to assess your own world.  See your value.  Go ahead and share insight into your world of work….I’d love to know more.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Part 7

Reading Time: 2 minutesIn January 1991, my transfer went through and I moved westward to the State Historical Building 600 East Locust Des Moines Iowa.  It was a beautiful new facility (officially opened by the Department of Cultural Affairs on Dec. 11, 1987) and I wanted to work there!

I worked for the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) in the office spaces directly through the main doors and on the right.  It was a brand new building!

I performed secretarial duties for several professionals in charge of various functions for the historical society.  I typed records and documents for state curators, archivists, historic sites coordinators and preservationists.  I helped with the volunteers, scheduled tours (for schools and civic groups) and events in the atrium (eg: recognition dinners).  I served as a prn tour guide for the Delicate Balance, Human Values and Iowa’s Natural Resources exhibit (upon receiving training by Mavis, our very smart and blind tour guide).  I loved it!

While working at the State Historical Building, I had the privilege of participating in the creative aspects of the museum, viewing many of the artifacts stored in the basement, and browsing through the historical library.  Another interesting aspect of working in the building was the facility had prisoners on community work release programs.  I got to work with a couple of them.  [Note:  In my career, I have worked with people with criminal histories; and therefore have studied the relevance of this related to working…I may blog about it in the future…]

One of the most exciting times working in the museum was helping to prepare the placards for the designers who were working on new exhibits.  I also enjoyed looking up military records and typing up affidavits and other public records.  These job activities brought me to the front lines of Iowa history.  Click here for a History of Iowa From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

After another healthy time period, I made a decision to return to college.  Again, just moving forward…..and little did I know, this was only the beginning!  I was still working at night transcribing records for a dermatologist in West Des Moines (oh, and raising a child in a lovely trailer on the Southside of town with my husband Randy!)  Randy was employed as a Des Moines Public School system long-term substitute teacher in a 3.6 self contained CLEAR (creative learning experience and real life situations) program geared towards behavioral disordered teenagers.

And working on his bachelor degree in education at Grand View University!

MORE TO COME!  Part (I’m losing count) 8 up next!

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How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Part 6

Reading Time: 4 minutesAfter a healthy period of time working for the Disability Determination Services Bureau (and getting really good at chair dancing – admit it, if you’ve worked in an office, you’ve done it) I decided to go for a change.

I put in for a transfer to the Department of Education and moved from the Jessie Parker Building which is on the North side of the Capitol, to the Grimes Building, 400 East 14th Street – located East of the Capitol in 1987.

Do you remember the wonderful fountain on the west side of the building (now it’s the Freedom Flame, World War II Memorial)?  I miss it.

A look of the Capitol viewed from the south side!

I worked for a number of professionals at the Bureau of Planning, Research & Evaluation as a Secretary I  a link to job description .  The professionals included the Bureau Chief, (Lee…enjoying retirement I’m sure!), two really smart consultant guys (Joe – always very well dressed & Dave – he loved peanut butter sandwiches), and other highly intelligent and efficient consultants (Kathy & Gwen & Michele); and the Department of Education’s Legislative Liaison (Gail!).

Can you envision how this may be for me?  This secretarial work was filled with variety and I enjoyed it immensely.  Specifically, working with Legislative Liaison allowed me to help draft bills, and walk the underground tunnel system (fun and scary at the same time!)  to deliver messages to the Capitol (both the House and Senate chambers, the secret hanging out area, the café, as well as the rotunda) and help out in person.   Take a look at this You Tube video for a few laughs about the underground tunnel system.

QWERTY Keyboarding!

Other work I performed helped me to gain new knowledge and really enhance my skills and abilities, including of course, the omnipresent skill of typing – which I love!  I worked with numbers, figures, statistics and data.  The necessary attention to detail, editing, proofreading and accuracy involved in this secretarial position, along with being sure to file perfectly, spell correctly, type speedily, back up all documents, communicate with people from all over the state and work on a team ….allowed me to learn a lot.

I remember getting our first Apple McIntosh in the office.  Talk about getting creative with proposals!

The people I worked with were wonderful (Sheila and Kim V, Ruth the librarian, Mike the mail clerk, Gordon the custodian, plus many more), and of course my friend Chele followed me over there…..and she continues working for this Bureau (you rock girl!)

Also, during this time in my life while working days for the DE, I worked a part time job at night.  I read a blind for a moonlighting transcription opportunity in West Des Moines and sent a resume along with a cover letter.  A few days later, Dr. Barrett F. Schwartz contacted me and we interviewed.  I accepted a position to transcribe this dermatologist’s medical records.

I transcribed for Dr. Schwartz for five years

Oh, ALSO, during this time in my life, I had a baby boy (Nickolas made a grand entrance weighing in at 9lbs 4 ozs on April 12, 1989), and got married (to Randall on August 4, 1990).  Yes in that order!

In December of 1990, Randy graduated with a bachelor of arts in Education from Grand View College  (now a University).  He has a secondary teaching degree, with minors in government and social studies.   He was continuing to work nights and weekends at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant (remember Garcia’s when it was south of Merle Hay Mall on Douglas?  Hey Janice (my sister in sunny Florida) are you reading this? … You practically lived there!).

I like this statement: Education is the quest for the unknown and the processing of the known 

After more time went by, my mind encouraged me to move forward.  So I put in for a transfer  …… Stay tuned for Part 7.  Again, as I’m moving forward and backward at the same time (ahhhhh), I’m not sure how many parts there will be….!

Please comment on your education!  Where’d you go?  What’s your major?

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