Randy and Abe’s Work…Pretty Impressive! Plus a Kiss!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

[Original Post Date: Feb 18, 2013] Okay, even more about Randy. He’s starting to get a bigger head. But he’s still not reading my blogs unless I remind him….what about you my reader, sign up for my posts and they will be emailed to you. : )

Randy has taught the wonderful and well-behaved youth in our community (hee hee) for over 20 years as a teacher for the Des Moines Public School District. He teaches at Casady Alternative Center. The goal is for the students to earn enough credits to either return to their original high school on time to graduate, or to graduate from Casady. Either way, it takes a lot of effort on the kids parts….oh yea and Randy and his fellow teacher pals to accomplish this goal.

At times in all our jobs we must work with, coordinate with, consult with, etc., and/or try to encourage, motivate, teach etc.,…..people who seem to not really care about a project, the subject matter, finding a job, caring for their own bodies, any goals…..on and on and on. You get my point. How do we continue to take pride in our work when it would be easier to throw in the towel?

It goes back to sustaining the pride you take in your work ethic.

And it helps to add humor into your approach with people who may be difficult to work with.  Randy has been known to dress up as characters when he taught a history lesson (a subject often known to be of boring material to youngens…some youngens…not you Taylor Prochnow)!

For example, he has dressed as Mark Twain to teach about (ahh, I don’t really know); and as Abe Lincoln (to teach about Abe Lincoln I guess.) He’ll have to fill the parenthesis in later….and in consideration that he is not at work today because of President’s Day, we’ll see if I can track him down.


I also need to track down a picture of Randy dressed as Abe

His favorite president I do believe is Abe Lincoln (or is it Richard Nixon?). Randy tends to have an interest in most presidents and really has a good grasp on what they accomplished, or didn’t, during their terms.  I think he likes Jimmy Carter too (I do).

I often hung out with Abe and his son Tad during my lunch break when I worked for the  State.

Okay, to the point of this blog about work ethic. I am pretty certain Abe had a fantastic work ethic and took great pride in his work.  I take great pride in my work and so does Randy. I hope you do too!

Recall from my previous blog that I believe you get your work ethic from your parents. Yet, what about the person who didn’t have great role models yet still exhibit qualities and traits of a hard worker/a person with good work ethic. Here’s an article that will help you grasp the concept of taking pride in your work from the get go.

I’ve found that it can be easy to exceed the expectations of others simply by being someone who is reliable, on-time, diligent and professional. I think these are all hallmarks of people with a strong work ethic.

Here’s some questions to ask and answer yourself about your work ethic:

Attendance ~ Are you dependable, stable and willing to take responsibility for your actions?

Reliability ~ Are you hard working and conscientious about the quality of your work?

Rules of Compliance ~ Are you likely to obey company policies and procedures?

Trustworthiness ~ Do you feel you are trustworthy and trusting of others?

I hope you feel good about answering these questions. When I interview people and find they have a good work ethic (and I often do…it runs deep here in good ole’ Iowa), I know that the person has what employers look for when they hire.

I found a couple shots of Randy and his buddy Abe (know where this sculpture is located)?

Good Friends
Good Friends
He Kissed Me Back!
He Kissed Me Back!




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

Answer: Jordan Creek Mall!

Valuing the Mind at Work and Be Sure to Tip Well!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In last week’s blog, I kindly asked you to stay in the ship.  Thank you for complying! This week I’m going to navigate the cognition dimensions of physical work.

Blue Captain Hat
My Captain’s Hat

My daughter Arin asks me why I’m always reading “knowledge based or self-improvement” type books. Currently I’m reading “The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker” by Mike Rose.  I find this book very interesting. It’s about the thought–the cognition dimensions–necessary  for what’s usually considered physical work.

The Mind at Work
The Mind at Work


In “The Mind at Work”, Mike Rose examines the connection between the body and the mind through careful study of professions involving physical labor. Rose’s observations provide educators with a view of the skills, attitudes and habits of mind people need to succeed in often undervalued jobs—undervalued, at least, from the perspective of intellectual richness.

I found this book at the library, and after reaching my limit on renewals, I bought my own copy. In the book, Rose shows us waitresses making lightning-fast calculations, carpenters handling complex spatial mathematics, and hairdressers, plumbers, and electricians with their aesthetic and diagnostic acumen. Reading the book helps me to reinforce my thought processes and positive viewpoints of people working in physical labor jobs.

My husband, although a teacher by day, enjoys his time on his feet serving food and drinks to his favorite customers on weekends at Okoboji Grill in Johnston, Iowa. Randy has worked for this restaurant for many years. He believes he’s the only person at the restaurant who can operate the tvs correctly (ha!)

Okoboji Grill Restaurant
Where Good Friends Meet

Both my teenagers, Jake and Arin, work as hosts there too. My oldest son Nick held his first job at Okoboji Grill when he was a teen as well.  And my brother in law Kyl  Botkin is the General Manager of the Okoboji Grill in Pleasant Hill.  Me? I just eat and drink there, thank you very much!

Treat your restaurant workers well. Hi Dave, a good bartender! Jen and the rest of the bartenders are pretty good, too! Appreciate the servers, and the guys in back (Bob!) including the cooks, dishwashers…I could go on and on with names of some of the best restaurant workers in this town!  Be sure to treat restaurant workers with respect, kindliness and patience is really nice, and mucho tips too!

The thought processes that unravel at physically demanding jobs is incredible.  Read a one minute selection from The Mind at Work about the intelligence of a “waitress” here.  Think about how much she uses her mind!  And then be sure you tip restaurant workers 20% of the bill for really good service.

Q&A Time
Is Arin okay with my answer to her question?

Back to Arin’s question which is why I’m always reading “knowledge based or self-improvement” type books? My answer is that I’m intuitively geared towards continually improving my life and the people I care about as well. I’m also learning and learning and learning so as to gain knowledge, work smarter, and improve my performance.

Arin herself is a connoisseur of books…and that’s my topic for another week. Hope you enjoy reading!


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


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.


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.


  • 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


  • 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.


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.