I Agree, Whatever Makes You Happy You Put in Your World! 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.

2015-04-16 13.10.07

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!

Image result for images cup of tea cartoon

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……    đź™‚

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). I think it is interesting that one of this establishment’s HR policies is that workers have to cover their tattoos (update as of 5/2016 the company changed their policy!). Yes, long sleeves in the hot summer to deliver food to people who just might be showing their tattoos. I think it is ridiculous! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any tattoos…yet? ; )  but all three of our kids sure do (update: my mother got a tattoo for her 80th birthday!), my sister jANICE does and many other people who are artistic, for sure! It’s body art alright and 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!

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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.

Is Your Glass 1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty Today? Personality Assessments Help Find Out!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Studying personalities is important to me. I’ve reviewed the results of many personality assessments and am a proponent of using assessment results if it helps you or who you are working with move forward in positive ways. One of the main personality dispositions is whether you are optimistic or pessimistic. (Which are you?) You can go to The Big Five Project, where you can take a personality assessment for free.

Half FullMy Glass is Usually ½ full!

I’ve studied optimism and after reading the March 25, 2012 TIME magazine article titled The Science of Optimism ~ Hope Isn’t Rationale, so why are humans wired for it?” written by Tali Sharot, I’ve learned more. Sharot is a research fellow at University College London’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. She searches for the places in the brain where optimism lives!

In her work, she’s interested in how our natural optimism actually shapes what we remember. In one of her studies on optimism, using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) the areas of the brain shown to light up  are found in the prefrontal cortex (responsible for planning and goal setting), hippocampus (crucial to memory), amygalda (my favorite emotional processing almond!), the rostral anterior cingulate cortex (boost the flow of positive emotions) and caudate (processes rewards).

Big BrainAll this brain activity is involved in self-reflection and recollection!

I’ll apply her knowledge that our brains are biased towards optimism. She has a great Ted talk on The Optimism bias that helps me to better understand and work with my clientele, evaluees, referral sources like attorneys, insurance representatives, and the entire array of people encountered in the process of rehabilitation counseling. See the optimists and pessimists lining up?

As part of my ongoing continuing educational pursuits in my beloved career, I promise to continue to study personality and use it to help me to read others and to ultimately help you, my client, with your case.

It definitely helps me in my forensic work to seek information about whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist, and then identify if that person can strike a balance. Why is this important to me? Because it shows the person is flexible….and what a great attribute to have as our world constantly changes!

Every time I study others my skills improve!

Every time I study others my skills improve helping me to make more valid and reasonable assessments of persons, places and situations that need to be brought to light. Of course, even the best detective or mind reader is not always right on track each time they do an assessment. It takes continually gathering knowledge of others, practice, practice and more practice (while myself remaining optimistic yet neutral) to effectively and without bias counsel and teach others.

Rosey GlassesToo rosey at times?

I’m told I’m often overly optimistic and overly analytical. Really I’m just sucking up as much information as possible during whatever time is available and I don’t want to miss anything that may make a difference. Therefore, I need to balance my construct of optimism depending on the situation and have an alternative plan to avoid being unrealistic or irrational. A small dose of realism or even pessimism might be the best prescription to achieve my consulting goals.

Sharot writes, “True sometimes we regret our decisions; our choices can turn out to be disappointing. But on balance, when you make a decision ~ even if it is a hypothetical choice ~ you will value it more and expect it to bring you more pleasure.”

I believe this to be part of my mantra when on the stand…knowing my testimony is based on decision making processes that I chose to undertake, and the hope that I am making a difference in the lives of others.

Hope is an emotional state. Optimism is a cognitive process.

Click here for a great take on Hope Versus Optimism

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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.

It Finally Arrived! My Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Certificate!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’ve been waiting for my graduate certificate in Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling from The George Washington University! It finally arrived in my mail box!

Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling graduate certificate
Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling graduate certificate

FRC Graduate Certificate

The FRC program took well over a year, and I’m happy to move forward with new and exciting forensic areas in my consulting practice. Forensic Rehabilitation Counseling is valuable in cases including personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury. Although I’ve had some experience in these areas, I’m ready to take more cases on!

2014-09-29 16.10.51GWU’s colors are blue & buff!

The weird thing is the certificate is printed in portrait orientation and not landscape, which all my other (I need to look up and to my left and count) 6 framed certificates look like. Okay, the other 6 (so exciting I know, but this helps me document them!) ~

  • High School Equivalency Diploma, State of Iowa, November 10, 1981
  • Ellsworth Community College Certificate of Graduation, One-Year Secretarial Business Program, May 23, 1981  (Yes, the dates are correct, I went to ECC “before” I graduated from high school….they….I guess the State, made me wait to get my GED certificate even though I had already passed the test…which I had to before I could enroll at ECC!)
  • Bachelor of Science, Community Health Education, Iowa State University, August 5, 1995
  • Master of Science, Drake University, School of Education, December 17, 2004
  • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, Number 71256 (I just renewed this certificate and got it in the mail the other day, too…I need to replace the old one that’s framed!)
  • Certified Life Care Planner, International Commission on Health Care Certification, Number 1130 (it’s valid through February 28, 2016!)

Oh, there’s also my golf certificate from 1978! (It’s not really on the wall!)

GolfHuh, no coach and no principal signed it!?

I remember a hole-in-one at Highland Country Club in Iowa Falls. (Of course a hole-in-one will be an important part of my memory bank!!!)

I was golfing with Becky Tjaden, in a mother-daughter tourney (and my mom picked my sister Janice to play with!). I miss you Becky and treasure my memories of golfing with you….teaching and mentoring me on the course has helped me in so many ways….including in my career. BTW: Do you know there is golf forensics!?

Last hole in one was not that far removed from 1978

Using my golf game as an analogy, each stroke involves tapping into good judgment (more art than science which I’ve blogged on) when deciding which club to use! My swing (not nearly as perfect as my mom’s, or Becky’s was!) must involve practice, practice and practice. Knowing the lay of the course is important along with the weather and the ground conditions. So is knowing who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. Knowing the rules is invaluable as is keeping perfect score. Of course, are you an ethical golfer!?!  Ahemmmm

Have fun with your career and in your golf game!

Yes, the stakes are high in forensic rehabilitation counseling, and yes they can be in a golf game. It may be like getting out of the rough on the last hole of a golf tournament, and you never know if you’ve made the right choice until it’s too late to change your mind. To play to win (or at least to beat your opponent by a stroke or 2!) keep certain basic principles in mind, use your best judgment, your best methodology, your best attitude, and have fun!

Let me know how I might help with a litigated case that would benefit from my involvement. I love preparing Life Care Plans. (I can also critique a plan that landed on your desk!) A Life Care Plan can become the hole-in-one to your case!

Contact me at 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

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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.

Happy Birthday to Agatha Christie! Here’s Your Gift!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

My birthday always corresponds with the ISU / UI rivalry! Good Job Clones! I personally hope the annual game continues into the future, cuz it allows the fans of these teams to be mean to each other! Ahem, boo Nick, my own son thinks Hawk.

ISU Baloon
ISU Balloon

Today, my daughter left me a gift before flying off to her job at the library.

2014-09-15 09.37.27And my parents sent me a card.

2014-09-15 09.39.50

Okay, now what am I going to do? Obey the parents. Wait for the daughter. I have patience. And perseverance and ohhh pooopy again. The temptation continues…..arggh.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to Agatha Christie. I love the fact that we share this day in common.  Agatha would’ve been 85! and Me, okay, 51! I can make a typo and say 15!

What I did so far for my birthday: I read this short story written by the Grand Dame of Mystery. I found The Witness for the Prosecution online (and for free!) from a K-12 New York school district! And I’m offering you a gift of reading for my birthday!!

Here’s your own copy to download if you’d like!

the Witness_for_the_Prosecution

It’s a great read, especially for us witness-like minded people! You won’t be able to stop reading it once you start!

Hope your week is great and take care!

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

 

 

Artist in Training……Talent, Skills and Practice

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Continuing on from last week’s post and my stated interest in my final ethics paper, I’d like to learn more about art.  I am a pretty good sidewalk chalk artist! No really, I believe at my lovely age (wanna guess?), learning creative ways and techniques to spark new interests is good for the soul. This is just the beginning!

Image result for sidewalk chalk

What Shall Adorn The Driveway Today?

I have a goal to visit Hawaii, and am hopeful to see some of Walfrido Garcia’s works. Walfrido’s website has really cool visuals and videos for your viewing pleasure. I absolutely love this painting (see below) and it puts us right into today’s beauty and the week’s incredible weather forecast right here in Des Moines, Iowa!

Summer

“Summer” by Walfrido

My son Jake is a talented artist. I am hopeful his future will open the eyes and minds of others as his works get noticed. For now, he is making his money working at Jimmy John’s Update February 2019: Jake’s still working one day a week for JJ, but he is working full-time at the Animal Rescue League!

Like many of life’s passions and callings, artistic ability is a a combination of both talent and practice. It is true that some people are predisposed to specific skills. Jake’s been drawing for ….. 20+ years!?! when he could use a pencil to draw beginning at age 4. He practices a lot and has since 1st grade. For example, instead of doing math in 2nd grade, he’d draw wild creature-like numbers!  His  teacher(s) always let us parents know what he was doing as opposed to what he wasn’t (this lasted all the way through high school graduation!)

Some people are good at drawing, and some at painting. Some at writing, and some at speaking. Some at knitting, some at crocheting. Some at playing guitar, some at the piano. Some at biking, some at running.  On and on. Many people are multi-talented and can engage at anything! 

I truly believe you can be good at whatever you do or want to do if you tap into your passion, your skill set, and your mindset along with a good dose of emotional intelligence. Practice does make perfect in the eyes of the beholder or the eyes of the person who believes in the beholder (yourself perhaps!_

Eyes Are Difficult To Draw

More on Jake’s artistic drawing talent in the future of my creative writing blog. Have a beautiful and creative day! Take time to get some chalk, find a good place, and have fun drawing!

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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.

 

Preparing to Graduate…Again!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Just an update to let my readers know I am nearly done with my most recent learning adventure through George Washington University….that lasted well over a year! I certainly learned a lot about forensics rehabilitation consulting, and really appreciate my cohort comprised of really smart rehabilitation counselors across the country!

There are students from the great states of Iowa (me!), Texas, Ohio, Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and who am I missing? Kansas?!

 

BeautifulOur Beautiful Country is so Colorful!

I’ve been in all our states but Washington, Hawaii and Alaska. This was traveling done mostly as a youngster, in the back of a station wagon with the entire family (oh, the memories!).

Back to the current times Amy….! During the forensic rehabilitation coursework, I placed heavy emphasis on the study of ethics. Because I feel comfortable with my own ethics, in turn I feel comfortable with forming my own opinions (and expert ones at that!)

One ethics paper I prepared in October, 2013 for the course Foundations of Forensics Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396) emphasized Ethics, Values and Character Surrounding My Career in Private Practice.

In another ethics paper I submitted in Spring 2014 for the course Law and the Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396), I analyzed Ethics and Vocational Reports. Specifically, I critiqued a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and his USE OF TESTING INSTRUMENTS in VOCATIONAL EVALUATIONS.

Along with submitting my paper to GWU, I also submitted it to a professor from the great State of Washington who teaches ASSESSMENTS to master’s level rehabilitation counseling students. I received powerful feedback from her.

 Knowledge

I am happy to share what I’ve learned and how it can be best applied to meet your litigation needs. My papers are available, just ask and I’ll see if you really want to read all about it! Call me at 515-282-7753 or email vocresources@gmail.com.   Or easier yet, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ve posted them there!

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

My Purpose to Serve Others Continues to Ring True!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

(Original post date 9/10/13) As I mentioned last week, I’m moving into round 2 of my studies at GWU. I came across the statement of purpose I wrote in April 2013 and wanted to post it as it continues to ring true for me!

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE written by Amy E. Botkin

My purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University is to learn about the intricacies and efficiencies of serving as an expert witness in my area of expertise. As a rehabilitation counselor, life care planner and placement specialist, my focus is often on facilitating healthy return to work outcomes.

Prior to my current career, I worked as a marketing representative for a staffing agency that placed people into clerical and light industrial jobs. This work experience offered me a base on how to match people with the world of work. I understand the concept of incorporating the needs of employers with the needs of job seekers.

My background as the leader of a diverse group of placement specialists afforded me additional insight into challenges affecting job seekers. In my practice, as well as with the experiences within our group, I visit employers and find that personalities and fitting in, as well as proof of skills, may be the strongest indicator of a successful placement.

However, in perspective the job seeker may not believe he or she has the capacity to meet the employer’s expectations. Therefore, the job seeker is not successful in the initial stages of a job search, leading to feelings that may further disintegrate their role and performance as a qualified job seeker. Therefore, my career goal is to continue with my consulting practice and incorporate specific work-life identity skills training.

Ringing True!

As a freelance writer on a part-time basis, I develop stories about locally owned businesses, mostly from a personality perspective by interviewing business owners to learn about their background and what brought them to this particular business. I gain much insight and detail into what brings a person to their career.

My ability to draw out a person’s background information is also useful to guide a person who has lost their job due to illness, injury or disability into a new or similar job that continues to use their assets, albeit in a new form.

My research interests are in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, specifically how personalities, lifestyles and cultures form a person’s work identity. When taking into consideration a serious injury or accident that leads to disability or functional limitations, I would like to identify and assess unique methods to adjust the factors related to essential functions of a job that may be beyond a person’s capacities (either physically, emotionally or intellectually).

I would like to learn how to Box!

Using the skills gained from this program, I’d expand my research methodology for my client, evaluee or customer. Presenting novel material in front of a jury will allow me to separate from the common counselor and be viewed as a credible source of unique material that is specific to the needs of the case. With this new knowledge and skill, I would feel even more confident expressing my opinions. I look forward to my studies.

Thank you,

Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP

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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.

Feeding the Sharks…Even Babies Bite Hard!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

[Original Post date: March 26, 2012] Feeding the Sharks…Even Babies Bite Hard!

I fed sharks!  Incredible!

To explain:  My son Jake (he’s a high school senior) needed help feeding the fish at Central Campus over spring break.  Central Campus is a regional academy of the Des Moines Public School District in Des Moines, Iowa. The campus provides extended and unique learning opportunities to students.

Jake is a student in the Aquarium Science program, taught by Kirk Embree.  In the program, students experience aquatic animal husbandry and aquaculture in a new facility modeled after a public aquarium.  The “fish” are on the 3rd flood of the “old tech high building” and you have to see it.  It’s very impressive.  The entire building is getting an incredible face lift (it used to be a Ford assembly plant).  I’m proud of what DMPS is doing to improve learning environments.

There are over 100 aquariums, totaling 16,000 gallons of saltwater!

Last year, Jake and his cohort traveled to the Bahamas for a 10 day field ecology trip and explored the ocean…..and other areas of life while down there.  He certified in scuba diving for the trip.  What stories he shared…  We are privileged to have this wonderful learning academy accessible for our youth!   Here’s a short video about the marine program.

Sharks have all the senses we have (smell, taste, touch, eyesight, and hearing). They can also sense electricity and vibrations in the water. However, a shark’s primary sense is a keen sense of smell. It can detect one drop of blood in a million drops of water (~25 gallons) and can smell blood 0.25 mile away!  To feed the sharks, I used a realllly long needle with raw shrimp on the end.  They snatched it right up and I let out a bit of a scream!

That would bite!

To change tones of this post I have a question.  Have you seen the movie Swimming With Sharks (also known as The Boss and Buddy Factor)?  It’s a 1994 American comedy drama film, directed and written by George Huang.

Buddy Ackerman, an influential movie mogul, hires Guy, a naĂŻve young writer, as his assistant. Guy, who has just graduated from film school, believes that his new job is a golden opportunity. Despite warnings from Rex, the outgoing assistant who has become hardened under Buddy’s reign, Guy remains optimistic……..Unfortunately, Buddy turns out to be the boss from hell…..

The above is from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I’d rather feed than swim with the sharks!

A “shark” can be a greedy or ruthless or treacherous person.  I tend to understand that “swimming with sharks” means “working with ruthless, back-stabbing people who will stop at nothing to achieve their own goals (profit).” In this sense, a shark doesn’t care what he does to you or a company. He “attacks fiercely” in order to achieve his own goals. The “attack” could be perfectly legal, even though it might hurt a lot of other people.

Pay attention to “sharks”

I counsel clients through the job placement process, and we pay attention if it appears there’s sharky behaviors coming from potential employers.  I also counsel myself when it comes to the potential of swimming in water that may be infested with sharks.  In a future post I will talk about my role in litigated cases as an Expert Witness.  Stay tuned and keep watch!

 Even cute baby sharks bite hard!

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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.