Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ~ Thank Our City Workers!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A few years back, Des Moines Public Schools had planned to use Martin Luther King, Jr day as a snow make up day, but it was overturned by the school board based on good speaking and listening skills of many people. However since then, this Monday is not in session, not even virtually on this MLK Day 2021.

MLKDr. King  would be proud of the process involving our community and his holiday!

I also think he would appreciate students being in the classroom on the 3rd Monday in January learning and growing!  (What would students think of virtually learning back in the early 1960s??!!) The doctor obviously had a passion for education, as did his wife Coretta, and knew how important learning is at every age. I totally agree! Dr. King’s teachings continue to evolve throughout communities across our country. 

At the end of July of 2019, my husband and I visited the Martin Luther King National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. We found it to be a special place filled with thoughtful, soulful and educational experiences. 

You may know that on the evening before he was assassinated, Dr. King was preparing to lead a protest march to help support striking sanitation workers.  Dr. King was hard at work doing his job to help others do their hard jobs.

Green garbage truckThankfully, every Tuesday morning the garbage in my hood gets picked up!

Thank you to the city sanitation workers and thank you to the city street sweepers. I appreciate your work. Des Moines is a beautiful city filled with people who care about our community and I’m proud to live here.

Street sweeperI hear the sweeper on my street quite a few times throughout the year and rush to watch it pass by my house!

Thank you Dr. King for your call to service helping working people across the nation. I’m particularly fond of this quote:  

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” ~ by Dr. Martin Luther King.

Be the best you can be at what you do as an attorney. Let me know if you’d like my help to help you help your client on a case involving work and disability! I’ll strive to be of valued service to your case. Contact me at 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  to learn more about each other and our work for others!

Thank you for reading my post and please be cognizant of what you throw away!

___________________

 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 – as a Rehab Counselor! Part 4

Reading Time: 5 minutes

My story leading up to my career as a rehabilitation counselor who focuses on job placement continues!

Many of my first jobs in the big city of Des Moines, Iowa were secured through temporary staffing agencies.  I find the benefit of staffing agencies invaluable! From a personal perspective, working for a staffing agency really helped me to develop my career. Here’s a link to an article of the benefits of staffing agencies from a business point of view.

The View Wasn’t Quite Like This When I Started as  Kelly “Girl”!

Specifically, at this time in my life in 1984-85, I started employment through Kelly Services.  I worked at many businesses, mostly in downtown Des Moines, but also at businesses in other areas of the city, working with a variety of people, and in diverse environments. It was great!

The clerical skills I used (and greatly enhanced on the job) to help these companies included ~ 95 words per minute typing speed, (can’t quite reach that speed anymore!), reception responsibilities such as greeting clientele, answering phones, taking messages, filing, and other general secretarial office procedures. Again, it was great!

To name a few of my assignments from memory (come on little computer in thy brain):  American Can, The Embassy Club, Chamberlin Kirke-Van Orsdel, Sears Credit Card, Younkers Department Store (in the Marketing Department). Besides the tragedy, this is another reason why I shed a tear over the Younkers fire in March 2014…

Image result for many jobs I loved my temporary clerical jobs!

While working for Kelly Services as a temp during the day, I also worked part-time at the Target Café on the weekends (when the Target was on Fleur Drive).  I catered to all the hungry shopper’s food needs.  I made pizzas, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, sandwiches, chicken tenders, fries, and the rest of the snack bar options.  It was a nice job to have. And I never left hungry! At that time, I also lived right across Fleur in an apartment with my sister Janice, so I just walked to and from work!

Additionally during this time period in my life, in the evening I worked on the top floor of the Federal Building for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  (I remember watching the construction of The Plaza across 3rd Street…which was completed in November of 1985) After receiving on-the-job training, I called farmers and asked specific questions about crops and livestock, while entering codes and farmer responses into the computer. It was an interesting job to have! Data entry was valuable, as was good communication skills.

I’ll never forget one farmer, who upon listening to my introduction replied “I’m sleeping.”  I appreciated his ability to sleep and talk….and respected his underlying wishes (and politely wished him good night – it was like 8:00pm, and hung up…farmers=hard-workers.)  Because of my direct experience with telemarketing in a call center environment, I have insight into the nature of work as a telemarketer and its business value.  In other words, it’s a viable occupation and the person on the other end simply has job to do.  Please respect that.

Work as a telemarketer requires excellent communication skills (this worker looks a lot like my son Nick!)

In 1986, I applied and was hired at Mercy Medical Center as a correspondence clerk.  The medical records clerk job description is very important to healthcare. Click here for a job description for medical records clerk.  Commonly a medical records clerk needs an associate level college degree.

I was hired at Mercy because of my nursing background, my knowledge of medical terminology and the courses I completed in anatomy and physiology, as well as my clerical abilities.  At this job, I worked days (the medical records department was a 24/7 operation). Each day, the phones were incessant with callers wanting medical records and the incoming mail filled with correspondence from patients, doctors and other medical facilities requesting records.  Oh, and the back log – stacked to the ceiling in my supervisor’s office…

My work as a correspondence clerk was a lot!  

After opening the mail, I logged everything in.  Then, I had to locate the medical record file.  The storage area containing medical records was vast as was the sheer size of some of the files.  There was a lot of paperwork, nursing notes, testing results, surgical records…on and on and on.  At times the record was on microfiche, which required visiting the basement to locate boxes near the (aahhhh) morgue.

After locating and retrieving the file (which involved accuracy and a check and balance process), the contents of the file were reviewed, the information that was requested was clipped and copied.

Image result for copy machine cartoon To this day a bit of animosity to large copy machines remains within. 

Then the requested information was prepared, a cover letter attached, and mailed, faxed, or delivered via internal mail procedures.  Again, a lot of documentation of what was done and to who, oh and how much was charged.

One day, I learned about the availability of civil service tests to work for the government.  So, I took a test or two or three, did well, and applied with the State of Iowa.  I was hired as a Clerk Typist III-IV for the State of Iowa at the Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDSB) in the Department of Education.

At that time DDSB was located in the Jessie Parker Building, 510 East 12th Street, Des Moines.  I have lots of good memories, met many friends  (I love you Chele Ridout!), and learned a lot about work and disability.

As I blog through time and space both forward and backward, I have no idea how many parts this story will go!  I hope you enjoy it.  Please provide me with feedback or comments.  I love to learn about what people do with their skills and abilities!

More to come, please stay tuned for Part 5.

Initial publication date: December 12, 2011

___________________

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

My Passion for Job Placement! Here is My Story – Part 2

Reading Time: 6 minutes

To understand my passion for job placement, let me tell you a little about some of the jobs and experiences I’ve had growing up.  I mentioned in an earlier post the fact that childhood interests can help you find the right career.  This is so true!

To Thine Own Self Be True

My first job at age 13 was babysitting (okay, child care provider). Besides gaining transferable skills, Click here for transferable skills of a Childcare Provider, clearly “babysitting” sets the stage for good parental skills (I have 3 children).

Before this time in my life, I “held a job” as a swimmer.

Starting at age 6 through about age 17, I was a member of the Iowa Falls Scenic City Swim Club.  The coach, Bruce, was one hard arss.  Swim club is where I learned the art of practice, perseverance, perfecting a stroke, team work, and how to really hold your breath!

I recall the feeling of free style swimming the full length of the olympic-sized swimming pool (164 feet) without turning my head even once to take a breath.  I pretended I was a fish!My favorite trophy! (Body shape certainly not mine at that tine!)

With babysitting, mowing neighbors’ lawns and swimming, along with cleaning my dad’s office space and the shop’s bathroom (ugg) at Culligan Soft Water, summers were busy.

When I got a little older, I started walking beans (definitely not good at this job…not enough physical strength) and detasseling corn (I was horrible at this job, clearly a height challenge (my “accommodations” included a walker who was just a lot better than my horrible hoeing and cutting with a knife; and a cute tall guy a row over who graciously pulled the stalks way down to my level.) Because these were not reasonable accommodations and I knew that back then, I voluntarily left….or I wasn’t called back to work a field, a mixture of both probably.

Randy, my beloved hubbie, on the other hand was retained by a farmer who “fired” the other boys because they ditched the hot fields in lieu of a cool dip in the nearby pond. Yes, he has a history of walking entire bean fields by himself……ahhh…..could you do that?

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Iowa Corn Stalks are Way Tall!

My first official job – with a real bonafide paycheck – was at Rocky’s Pizza as a food server (waitress is what we called it in the 70s, duh!) Rocco “Rocky” LaValle, (our guest speaker at our 30th class reunion dinner in July 2011) hired many young people in town to work for at the joint…much history!  The skills to work as a food server are aplenty.  Click here for more information.

Rocky!

Often, the incredible images I find online (my disclaimer) are perfect for expressing my memory.  Not sure of which year, but Rocky’s moved to a beautiful new location on Washington where you could really see the pizza making action in the front window!

I worked at the original location in about  1978 at ~ $1.85 hour,  plus tips of course! There’s a Facebook page about The History of Iowa Falls that gives great historical information about Rocky’s . What’s cool is how many past workers, including myself, post our memories!

Original Rocky’s Pizza

Along with the pizza joint, I also worked as a food server at an “upscale” fine dining restaurant – The Chateau.  Actually, it was a brick mansion on Rockyslvania “converted” into a restaurant. This food server work required a tweak on approaching customers and serving food, and I enjoyed it greatly.  I wore a black and white uniform and got to serve beer and wine!  At this restaurant, I learned the art of salad making, and eating left-over crab legs (I know, I know, right off a used plate – ugg again!).  

There’s a picture somewhere of me in my uniform, ready to go to work. Mary Dunlay, remember working together as food server extraordinaires?! The upstairs was for special dinner parties, which wasn’t too convenient…let alone accessible!

On the flip side of “fine dining” establishment and fast food (I worked at Hardees too for a time), with food serving experience working at a small truck stop in the country called The Junction north of Iowa Falls on the way to Hampton.  I remember some of my favorite customers, Chris, the cute and old farmer who always wore overalls. He always tipped! Along with serving, food preparation,  clean up, replenishment of food products and dining items, my favorite job responsibility was operating the industrial dishwasher!

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One rockin’ dishwasher! 

Alice the Cook was Queen! She taught me a lot! Her bench, dedicated to her as she was quite a fisher person, is along the Iowa River in Foster Park, Iowa Falls, Iowa).

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Umm, making the incredibly yummy malts, the leftovers!

I loved working at The Junction truck stop!  So cool my brother worked next door at the stop’s fuel filling facility.  My brother Steven – I love you…RIP.  One hard worker…!

Image result for flagger cartoon    Image result for follow me truck

Stop! Now Follow Me!

I also have work experience working as a  heavy road construction flagger, the person who moves the stop sign to control traffic.  I remember some interesting motorists who long ago passed through….! And I also drove the follow-me truck, But that got un-nerving to me as each time I made a back and forth pass through the zone, the [male] construction workers would stop and stare at me…how silly of them. ? Would’ve that been sexual harassment on the job? Nahh, these were just the big old road crew boys…! I just thought it was annoying, and just wanted to do my driving job!

Image result for ear of corn cartoon       Image result for forklift operator cartoon

Machine Operator and Forklift Operator! I loved it!

Additionally over the course of my early work history, I worked light industrial at the Alden Corn Processing plant in both the corn processing facility…standing at a de-shucking machine and shoving ears of corn through; and in the packing facility….working at the labeling conveyor as well as shrink wrapping pallets, and watching out for the fast moving forklifts. I was trained and did drive a forklift!

I held other good jobs at the Red Rooster Grill as a waitress, at Kmart as a cashier and at Hardees as a fast food service worker. All links provide further information on transferable skills!

In the summer of 1981 I took a nurse aide training course.  Following the training and upon receiving the certificate to be a Certified Nurse Aide, I was hired at Ellsworth Community Hospital.    I gained experience working on each shift over the course of my employment.  Each shift has its unique characteristics.  Talk about gaining incredibly valuable nursing skills.

On to nursing school……..stayed tuned….as I explore my past…..and realize it turned into a passion for job placement.

Stayed tuned for Part 3

Original publication date: November 28, 2011

__________________

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

How did I Get Into Rehab Counseling? Here’s a Little Story

Reading Time: 5 minutes

To understand my passion for rehabilitation counseling (my beloved career), let me first tell you a little about myself.

HERE IS MY STORY – Part 1:

As a September baby  – I’m a Virgo!

I was born in 1963 in Libertyville, Illinois, into a hard working family.  My parents are from Chicagoland.  During my infancy and toddlerhood, my family lived in a small house in Mundelein, Illinois.  My father Richard “Dick” Prochnow worked for Sears Roebuck and Co earlier, and then later hired on with Culligan Soft Water.  He would end up working for the company for many, many years.

My mother Ann Dodge Prochnow cared for their five children (we are each 13-15 months apart!) and I am the “baby” of the family. Siblings are Julia born January 1959, Michael March 1960, Janice April 1961, Steven July 1962 and me Amy in September 1963. Ann & Dick’s first child, Richard, died in infancy in 1956, the year after my parents were married.

Image result for chicago

Mom from Northbrook and dad from Buffalo Grove

Culligan promoted Dick to management and moved him (along with the crew later on) to Davenport, Iowa in 1966 and later we relocated to Battle Creek, Michigan when I was preschool age, before moving to Iowa Falls, Iowa in 1968 and settling in. I started kindergarten at age 4. 

The Scenic City

I’ll expand on my family and their work in another post.  Read all about it!  But on to me (well, I am the one posting this on my website!)

In a nutshell:   I was in a serious car/train accident in June 1979, the summer before my 11th grade.  I was 15 years old. I was a passenger in a car, sitting in the back seat. The car slammed into the train, and me, well, my body went through the bucket seats and the nonexistent windshield with my head being smashed into a bolt on a box car. But the creepier thing is the train actually started to move, as the conductor was moving it into the yard. Of course, I had no idea what was going on at all. Thank God.

The car was totaled.  There were 3 other people in the car, all who sustained serious injuries, but we all lived. I used to have a disdain for the make and model of that green car, however in a sense it did save my life.

The train stopped moving, having only traveled a few years, stopping inches from a culvert. A passing car with a young couple came upon us. And for me, what I know now, is that a woman named Teri saved my life. Thank you Teri.

I was first transported by ambulance to Ellsworth Municipal Hospital to the ER. I was then trasnported again by ambulance to Mason City where I was hospitalized  for a week with a broken right arm (ulna and radius), numerous lacerations, and a severe head wound requiring extensive plastic surgery.   We’re talking a lot of stitches, and bruises. My left pinky finger was nearly severed as well. I don’t remember any of this time in the hospital until I came out and was clearly doing better…

The accident kinda screwed up my life at that time (sure wish I had a rehabilitation counselor to work with me!)  I dropped out of high school ½ way through 11th grade (there’s a story to that, but anyway….)  At the time, my mother  was working at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls in the placement office.  She “forced” me to enroll at the college, which I did reluctantly.  I was 17.  I first had to take the GED and pass!

State of Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma ~ Amy Elizabeth Prochnow November 10, 1981

After this positive life event, I moved on and audited courses at ECC ~ Ellsworth Community College (with much older classmates).  I then enrolled officially and took secretarial coursework….and in 1981 also graduated with a certificate in secretarial science.

To clarify these dates, 1981 was the year I should have graduated with my original high school classmates.  But instead, I went to college with “older” people, and my sister Janice Prochnow, two years older than me. I think we had one class together.

In the ECC Class of 1981 program below I’m listed under the first section, One Year Secretarial, the fifth student.  Janice, her name is the second to last column under the last section of the program titled Associate Degree Diploma, has 3 asterisks *** because she received honors and was a mid-term graduate.

Other people in the program are a couple friends who Janice graduated high school with in 1979, Patti Rieber, Janet Roozen and Melinda Rutzen. I remember being in class with some of the ECC male (read tall to me) basketball players!

panther

Here’s a picture of me and my older sister Julie Prochnow who is five years older than me, on the day we both graduated in October 1981.  (No picture of me and Janice for some reason, at least that I have!) I graduated from ECC with my secretarial science certification and Julie did from Iowa State University in recreational studies.

Notice Julie’s honor cords –  valedictorian!

After this robe wearing event, time to move on again!

Stayed tuned for Part 2

 

Nov 21, 2011 original publish date

 

___________________

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

I Retired from Writing for Women’s Edition…Skills Gain!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

[Repost 10/22/2015] I retired from my stint as a freelance magazine story writer for Women’s Edition after enjoying monthly job assignments from January 2012 through September 2013. Shortly afterwards, the magazine’s owner and founder left our Des Moines, market. They continue to publish from Omaha, Lincoln, Denver and Colorado Springs.

I gained many skills, read on after reviewing this brief summary of the business owners and associates of companies throughout Des Moines, Iowa I interviewed about their business and wrote creative stories:

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Summary of My Writing Stories for Women’s Edition

By Amy E. Botkin

  • LuGene Isleman & Heidi Wilson “Your Center for Wellness, Rejuvenation and Body Balancing”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • PrimeSource Mortgage “Meet the Ladies that Walk You Home” a Business Style Story
  • Attorney Diane Dornberg “Passionate About Helping Families”, for an Out & About Story
  • Burgin Drapery Workroom “We Do It All!”, a Business Style Story
  • Things On Douglas An eccletic blend of new and consigned furniture and home décor”, for an Out & About Story
  • Douglas Dental, “A Dental Clinic With Experienced Staff At Your Service”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • Dr. BJ Foust, Foust Family Dental Care, for an Out & About Story
  • Noelle Carroll at Simply Organized, “Organizing Clutter and Chaos”, for a Business Style story
  • Dale Carnegie, “Turning Potential Into Performance”, for a Business Style Story
  • The Funky Zebras an Out and About story
  • Anderson Animal Hospital, We Care for ALL Critters” a Business Style Story
  • Barb Diment Law Office for A Business Style story
  • Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling for a Business Style Story
  • Ann Hartz, CPA for a View From The Top story
  • Applebee’s, a Healthy Living Story

After participating in an overnight murder mystery back in 2001, I had an incredible story to tell. But I didn’t do it! I swear. I was too busy. Not me! I did not do it. I’m the maid here, how could I find time? Maybe I’ll post it someday if I can find it!

[Another update as of 10/22/2015, I just found pictures from that evening  (going through pictures & stuff)! As sneaky killer suspects, we (each guest) were particularly odd looking.  I may scan 1 or 2 pictures in someday for this post.]

Have you ever participated in a murder mystery package? It was fun to travel to Bellevue, Iowa for this work assignment, spend the night in a beautiful mansion, be involved in a murder, write, and get paid! I remember meeting a white cat with secrets near the river….

I love to read and I love to write!

I hope to write for publications in the future. At this time, with my business rocking (tons of reading, research and report writing); bloggin’; the need to study, research and write out responses to discussion questions, prepare term papers and projects for my current rehabilitation counseling forensic coursework through GWU….it would be way too beastly wild for me to do it all. [Update from original post Oct 7, 2013…Yep! Completed that goal!…no not becoming a wild beast, but receiving a post graduate degree!]

Image result for wild beast cartoon red

Wild Beast Amy

Seriously however, I benefited in numerous ways during this time of writing for publication. My interview, research, creativity and writing skills improved! I met many professionals in my community and made great business connections. Interviewing business owners provided me indepth insight into self employment and small business ownership. I knew quite a bit about this subject, being in this same boat since 1999!)

I personally give thumbs up recommendations for several of the  businesses from other than my angle of writing their story because I became a customer of their establishment/business (if you need your driveway raised, Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling does an excellent job); became a business connection of their services…and yes even gathered new friendships! (Ann Hartz, CPA, she and I were in boot camp together!)

Thumbs Up:  Attorney Diane Dornberg, The Funky Zebras, Anderson Animal Hospital, Dan Bishop, Ann Hartz, CPA, Dale Carnegie and of course Applebee’s!

Making a smart move after the decision was made to retire, I requested a recommendation letter, which Kelcie Warren the publisher of the magazine kindly wrote. Thank you Kelcie! Of note, Women’s Edition left the Des Moines market, however, the magazine still has operations in Omaha, Lincoln and Colorado Springs. You can find the reference letter on my website over yonder under documents for download.

If I can help you tell your client’s story, do not hesitate to contact me. I love to write about others! 

___________________

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

 

 

Empty Nest = Freedom! Good Job Parental Units!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Okay, my readers, curious why I didn’t post anything in awhile? Here’s why….the kids moved out last weekend! (So I’ve been busy, busy!)  Jake and Arin moved into a furnished house by Grand View University with their friend Bridget and her mother. Although I already miss them incredibly, the job we set out to do is complete – and we did it well!

Good Job Parental Units!

When kids are on their own they’ll learn to do a lot more for themselves, allowing them to be strong and experience life on their own terms. Plus, they will be better people and believe more in themselves.

Jake took his Hedgehog Sandslash, but the rabbit Mollie and the hamster (update: Aphrodite went to hamster heaven in August 2015) are still here (they will probably be moving out shortly!) And Alaska the white puddy tat stays stays put!

 Image result for marvin k mooney will you please go now

All  are all welcome to visit, but Marvin K. Mooney maybe not yet!

I’ve been going through, organizing and ditching stuff galore, of course! Not done yet, but wowsa! It is odd to have so much room, although my house didn’t grow from it’s 900 square foot of living space!

Found this behind Arin’s dresser: 2015-05-07 12.06.17

And no more of this (waahh) commonly found in the fridge:

JJ Bread
JJ Bread

My goal is to focus more on work with an organized mind! Ahh, I still need to organize my electronic files in a more [fun]ctional way! And my bike, my bike! More time to ride!!!!!! I am so excited about my future!

Empty Nest = Freedom!

The birds have flown and will be just fine, thank you! Please let me know how I can help with a case involving the vocational aspects of a litigated family law, personal injury or workers’ compensation case. I feel “a bit more” credible knowing that I (we, yes Randy!) reached this stage of maturity in life! It is truly a blessing to serve as a parent. I have learned so much from my children….stay safe my loved ones!

You Go Botkin!

___________________

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

I Agree, Whatever Makes You Happy You Put in Your World! How About a Chocolate Long John!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As I wrote about last week, Randy received the 2015 Alternative Educator of the Year! At the April 21, 2015 Des Moines Public School District Board Meeting he received recognition. Randy endured quite a bit of silliness and a lot of congratulations from his co-workers at Scavo High School about this “award” but all in all, be proud Mr. Botkin!

Here’s the letter announcing the news: Scavo Teacher Named Alternative Educator of the Year.

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The plaque he received has the wrong year!

I’ve written about this before because it’s exciting! Randy will be engaging much more when school begins again this Fall 2015 (I know I know, school is almost out for this school year, why talk about restarting it already) as Scavo’s work experience coordinator!

This will be great for him, after 22 years in a classroom (not that he’s ditching a classroom nor teaching, this is more of a melding of his skills to help his students). Randy has taught many different subjects, ranging from baking (I remember those yummy strawberry pies), to parenting (he’s a natural!) to history (his cup of tea), and algebra too (ahh, no comment)!  I remember one year he taught wood shop. We still have a bench he made which is ironic because he’s not very good at cutting a straight line! Sorry guy! Just the truth!

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I’m a Cup of Tea Alright!

Mr. Botkin’s primary endorsement is in behavioral disorders making him basically a major troubleshooter!  Can a person’s behaviors change? Of course! I’ve learned the key to maintaining  new behaviors…is to be happy! Want some cookies with that cup of tea? I just remembered something……    🙂

Whatever Makes Your Happy You Put In Your World

Whatever Makes You Happy You Put In Your World!

Randy and his students used to take orders twice a month (this was several years ago) for 10 dozen school-baked cookies for the Des Moines School Board meetings. Two dozen a piece he reminds me: of chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar, peanut butter and ? oops I forgot! Macaroons? Are macaroons too difficult to teach teens how to bake? I’ve never made them.

During those days Randy and all his fellow BD educators and staff members taught here, at the original Casady building on 16th!

Casady Building 6-12-2013

The Casady Building, built in 1905, was demolished a month or so after I took this shot June 12, 2013! 

Another new source of happiness for our daughter Arin lies in her employment. She is now working at Zombie Burger as a host. She continues at the Des Moines Library, too!

AJ has wanted to work at this popular restaurant (there was a 2 hour wait this Saturday, even in the rain) for a long time! After putting her two weeks’ notice from Walgreen’s in, she started a couple of weeks ago. I am so proud of my daughter’s work ethic! Ah heck, everyone in my families! Arin has said to me about both her jobs “I Really Love What I Do….!” Why Do You Do Your Work? You too may be in love!

A little update on the Botkin boys. Last year, Nick received a promotion at Well’s Fargo. He is doing so well that recently he received an award as well! This award includes a full-ride trip to Miami (he leaves with Derek this Thursday)! Randy got $50 worth of donuts from Highland Park Bakery to share with his fellow educators at work to celebrate his educator of the year award. And he didn’t even bring me home a chocolate long john : (

Related image; ) Long Johns are delicious, yet tooo much sugar for me. It’d take a couple days to eat it all, but I would! Waste Not, Want Not!

Jake continues at Jimmy John’s. He’s been there quite a while now (update: as of 9/2018 he still is). One of JJ’s HR policies is that workers have to cover their tattoos (update as of 5/2016 the company changed that! It made no sense to me to work in a kitchen and delivery in the hot summer wearing long sleeves to customers who can show their tattoos. Ridiculous! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any tattoos yet? ; )  but all three of my kids do (and my mother got a tattoo for her 80th birthday!), my sister Janice does and many other people who are bodily artistic. Jake enjoys designing tattoos and has considered becoming a tattoo artist! He is very talented at drawing!

Back to working on a presentation project for my work! Please let me know what I might do to help you with a sticky employment situation!

Stayed tuned for the future Part 2 of Whatever Makes You Happy Put In Your World!

___________________

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

Got Motivation?? Let’s Just See!!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Did you take the Why Do You Do Your Work assessment? Read on and at the bottom of my blog post, you’ll find a key with detail on your results!Image result for motivationMotivation describes why a person does something. According to current psychology, motivation involves biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that initiate, guide, and maintain goal-oriented behaviors requiring endurance to keep going and the ability to persist through obstacles in spite of difficulties.

As part of my work, I’m commonly asked to give an opinion of a person’s motivation to find work or to keep work (in the realm of job search or job retention). I can uncover a match in skills, education, and experience, and have motivation scales available which help form my opinion, yet still this x-factor of success is extremely difficult to determine.

However, creative interviewing that generates specific examples from a person’s work history provides further evidence. Couple this with contacting the person’s previous or current supervisor, which I believe to be the best and most reliable method of assessing a person’s level of self-motivation, to get their input.

For example questions to ask a supervisor / former employer could include (all questions would be tailored to the worker, and focused on productivity): Is the person capable of following through consistently without supervision? Does the person handle customer complaints independently? Does the person show up on time as scheduled? Would you say this person is motivated to learn new skills? You get the idea I hope, as answers to specific questions help form opinions. 

Motivation can be used to explain behavior. In general, intrinsic motivations (driven by an interest or enjoyment in a task) arise from within; while extrinsic motivations arise from outside the person (and often involve rewards such as money, trophies, social recognition or praise.)

Favorite trophy

When young and in swim club, I received these swimming trophies! I was motivated to swim, swim, swim but really don’t know why because I certainly didn’t think of trophies when I was competing.

There are 3 major components to motivation: activation, persistence, and intensity. Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior. Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist. Intensity can be seen in the concentration and vigor that goes into pursuing a goal. Each of these components can be assessed and described in detail.

A few signs of self-motivation in a job search (considering obstacles) that I can report on and/or testify to include:

  • Applying to numerous businesses each week.
  • Performing informational interviewing as well as direct interviewing.
  • Scheduling time to research companies and using results to benefit job seeking “marketing” campaign.
  • Critiquing one’s own job search and learning from efforts.
  • Participating in short term skill building activities while in job search mode.
  • Volunteering in a useful and purposeful area.

If currently employed, I have also been asked to provide my opinion of a worker’s motivation to do their best at work (again, considering obstacles). A few signs of self-motivation on the job that I can report on and/or testify to include:

  • A history of doing more than just what is required.
  • Consistently exceeding performance expectations.
  • A history of working the amount of time/hours necessary to get the job/project done, not just the “required” hours.
  • Participating in activities that will benefit the bottom line of the business.
  • Helping and supporting co-workers and supervisors
  • Sharing talents and information openly, in an optimistic manner

In summary, success in a job search or success on-the-job requires self-motivation. If there is proof of high achievement that can be duplicated (once again, considering obstacles), strong self-motivation is suggested.

Why Do You Do Your Work?

The key along with information on your results:

Motivation Results and Descriptions

Intrinsic motivation: 4,8,15;

Integrated regulation: 5,10,18;

Identified regulation: 1,7,14;

Introjected regulation: 6,11,13;

External regulation: 2,9,16;

Amotivation: 3,12,17.

***

Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards and is inspired solely from the interest and enjoyment a person finds in an activity.

Integrated regulation arises when a person has fully integrated a motivation within, and behavior is influenced after undergoing self-examination and then internalizes and assimilates the reasons behind an action. S/he has carefully explored external motivations and decided that they’re congruent with his or her other personal beliefs and values.  An example of integrated regulation as motivation would be a person who attends church through the belief the act aligns with a personal belief system, even if the person doesn’t attend for the sheer enjoyment of it. The person doesn’t feel guilt or shame if s/he doesn’t attend, s/he attends because it feels right and suitable.

Identified regulation is when a person has personally identified with the importance of a behavior and accepted it as a regulation of her own because it benefits her in achieving a goal, she’s motivated by identified regulation. With this form of motivation, the individual doesn’t have to find enjoyment in the behavior, and there doesn’t have to be an immediate reward. The person also isn’t motivated by guilt or shame: She simply recognizes that a behavior is beneficial toward her development and adopts that behavior as her own. For instance, a person may recognize that studying grammar for English class is an important means to the end of becoming a successful writer. This is a subcategory of external motivation that’s more self-determined and personal than external regulation: External regulation may be for a more immediate positive reward, while identified regulation is used to achieve an end that affects an individual’s personal well-being and desires.

Introjected regulation is motivation from an internalized, pressuring voice. The source of motivation for a behavior is guilt, worry or shame. Introjected regulation inspires an individual to enact a behavior not because s/he wants to, but because s/he fears not to out of a sense of obligation. An example of introjected regulation is a person who goes to church every Sunday because s/he fears a negative effect in the afterlife or the negative reaction of peers at a church event — s/he doesn’t necessarily find enjoyment in the service itself. Avoid this form of motivation if at all possible, as it fosters anxiety. When succumbing to this form of motivation, it’s difficult for individuals to feel positive and confident about their actions.

External regulation. People are motivated by external regulation due to an external acting influence. If an individual exhibits a behavior to obtain an externally provided reward, then her behavior is externally regulated. For example, if a person enters the science fair because she wants to win a gift certificate for a restaurant, she’s not acting out of what interests her personally but out of a desire to obtain the reward. External motivation is often used to encourage employees or students to take part in a behavior that they must complete but may not be genuinely interested in — that way, even if they don’t otherwise wish to engage in the behavior, they do so to obtain the reward.

Amotivation is a state of lacking in any motivation to engage in any activity, characterized by a lack of perceived competence and/or a failure to value the activity or its outcomes.

Sources for above are taken in part from http://www.ehow.com/info_12153839_5-different-types-motivation.html

Do you want more assessment information or want to read more! Here’s an earlier blog about motivation. And here’s one about Randy and his work ethic. Read on! Call me! 515-282-7753

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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.

Creative Cover Letters Entice Your Reader

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I decided from my last blog (so many choices!) to write about me looking for temporary work….

Last year, I applied for a temporary part-time academic counselor position at DMACC. The position was focused on young “at-risk” students. I share my cover letter (which wanted the applicant to address certain characteristics or skills in the cover letter). I added side comments and graphics to illustrate!:

November 25, 2014

DMACC Human Resources

2006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Building 1

Ankeny, IA 50023-8995

ATTN: Susan Bernard smbernard@dmacc.edu or 515-964-6487

Dear Susan:

I am hopeful my master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling will be put to good use at DMACC as the college’s newest part-time temporary career counselor. I am a DMACC graduate and if it weren’t for my experiences with many of the college’s instructors (for special reasons I recall Robin Orr; and many other great teachers!), and the time in class I spent learning on the Ankeny and Urban campus, I would have never gone on to get a bachelors, let alone a master’s degree!

HSDOI had the lovely label “high school dropout”

As a person with a colorful educational background, including being labeled a “high school dropout” I fully acknowledge the importance of a great community college. I value DMACC highly. This is where I found how much I love to learn, and better yet, I found out I wasn’t so dumb after all!

Happiness is Finding Out

 “Happiness is finding out you’re not so dumb after all.”

I love to help others, and people absorb information if it is presented in a number of different ways, in one sitting, or through several meetings and follow-through activities. My experience also tells me that as the “teacher” such knowledge has to be facilitated in a holistic manner, encompassing what the learner has offered about their background.

I’ve delivered presentations to many audiences, including youth at church, high school age learners, adults (colleagues, clients or potential customers), health-educational programs (smoking cessation, CPR/First Aid), including an entire room full of attorneys (for their continuing legal education needs). I see presentations as a way for me to become a better counselor. I re-learn the topic for the presentation, gather updated information, and focus on how to present in a creative way that makes sense for my audience.

The timing for your needs and the interest in this opportunity is coming at a great time for me. As this counselor position is temporary and part-time, it works well with my current work load as a self-employed person. I hope you read the answers to the supplemental questions I prepared for more information on the required and desirable qualifications you seek.

DiversityI believe diversity surrounds us, and without embracing this limitless concept we’d all be boring! I however do not know a second language, although I do know and utilize methods for taking notes, including Gregg shorthand and medical terminology shorthand, all in order to gather and absorb valuable data.

Thank you Susan. You can reach me at 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com. Please feel free to look at my LinkedIn page, and connect with me for more information. I also blog and maintain my own website at www.lcpresourcesplus.com  You can find a lot about me on these two platforms. Or better yet, call me soon and we can interview!

Sincerely,

Amy E. Botkin

BTW, I’ve followed up on my application with Susan four times since, and haven’t heard back….but I am persistent and I want to know the status of the application. I’ll keep trying…however now the timing may not be so perfect for me!

Image result for time cartoon

Timing is Everything!

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

A T on My Finger and Action Green

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Okay, after blogging recently about my forgetfulness when it comes to certain situations, I admit yet another one. Right before Christmas I found my DMACC graduation certificate, with Randy’s Saydel High School diploma (yep, stashed them in a good spot alright.)  I’ve been curious where my DMACC diploma was hiding.

DMACC AA Certificate

Here it is! My DMACC Associate in Arts Degree December, 1992

……together with all rights, honors, privileges and marks of distinction pertaining thereto!  Given this month of December 1992! You’ll have to go on the wall as soon as I find a frame!

Again, blogging about my past helps me organize my stuff, practice creative writing, connect with you and share my talents. Hopefully I have all the dates, etc. correct on my living resume! I get a bit confused about my own past from time to time!

I also recall, let me look for it….a blog about my house and the STUFF. Which I need to find that post…. [update 2 hours later! Here is the link…but it’s really about setting SMART Goals! And I am proud to say my humble abode is MUCH better! Thank you.

Here’s my transcripts too. Worst grades include a C in Chemistry….and a C in Principles of Accounting II…go figure! I started DMACC in 9/2/86 and finally was awarded a LA AA  degree 12/18/1992. Wow, took me six years!

I was pretty busy during this time with working two jobs (at the Department of Education in the Grimes Building as a secretary by day and for Dr. Schwartz transcribing his medical records at his dermatology clinic by moonlight!), had a baby (Nickolas Andrew) in 1989 and got married (Randall Eugene) in 1990. But I persisted!

One strategy I practice TO BE SURE I DON’T FORGET SOMETHING REALLY IMPORTANT is to put a T on my left index finger. Back 1988-1989 from time to time, my sister Janice asked me to pick up her daughter Taylor Marie from daycare after my work. This is what I did and I continue to do so I didn’t forget T:

 T on L Index FingerA T on My Left Index Finger Helps Me Remember Something Really Important!

Like today Amy, be sure Bella has water in her heated bowl. Brrr. She has enough fur and she loves her house, so I can’t worry too much about her, but she does need accessible water.

Anyway, last weekend I attended a CRHP  Christ Renews His Parish retreat. I am serious about making my life more simple……and focus on what really matters. The retreat helped me realize that even more!

KeepitSimpleStay tuned for a blog about me looking for work!  Or maybe I’ll blog about my faith! Possibly more about my secret…….or my husband!!! Who knows at this time??? Remember, I blog about the present and my future…..and love to write….and work….and play….and pray….and live life fully!

I hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl last night. I wanted the Seahawks to win. I really like their colors, especially the Action Green…..I can see the plays so much better!  Click here for a blog about the skills of a football player!

Brain Workouts

BTW, when it comes to my vocational counseling……I don’t forget! I have a steel trap memory for what transpires on my cases. Test me!

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