Persevering: Dale Hansen, Practice Administrator, Family Hearing & Balance Center

Work Hard


My father decided one summer that I would accompany him to the job sites where they were constructing in-ground pools. He saw this as an opportunity to build character and for me to make some extra money. Dad always seemed to be looking for opportunities to build my character. To this day, I don’t know if I had potential, or that he was more worried about me, and that I might be living with him for the rest of my adult life.

He put me in the car at 6 am. It was a warm and sunny summer morning. He had our lunches and his coffee thermos under his arm. “You ready?”, he smiled.

How was I supposed to know if I was ready? At the construction site it smelled of mud, and the high idle of the cement truck was causing everyone to yell during introductions. They assigned me to wheel cement, which was the new guy job, and I sat up next to the cement truck driver. He looked like a bear. He was at least 300 pounds, and hairy from his face down to his steel toed construction boots. He wore a button down plaid shirt with the sleeves cut off, and one of his arms was bigger than both of my legs. He looked me up and down. “How old are you kid?”

“Sixteen sir.”

“Don’t call me sir. Call me Jake.” He yelled over the engine.

“Ok Jake.” I yelled back.

“How much do you weigh?”

“About 125 pounds.”

He laughed, or more like he howled. “Good luck son.” With that he pushed a button, and the wet cement came flying down the chute on the back of the truck, into the wheel barrel that I was holding, and I knew I was in trouble. It was heavy and sloppy, and I almost dumped it right there. I wasn’t ready Dad.

In the next month I:

  • Didn’t shovel the wet cement close enough to the ground around the bank of the in-ground pool, so that there were piles of drying cement that had to be leveled. The finishers came out and yelled at me as they took sledge hammers and sprayed water on them to get them level out so they could pour sidewalks. Finishing cement is a hard job, and the last thing they wanted to do was level out rock piles once they came out of the hole.
  • Threw wet cement down the boots of one of the finishers, because it was so heavy, and had to be moved quickly, that my arms were giving out. The third time of putting wet cement down his boots caused him to yell at me and chase me out of the hole with his trowel. He moved pretty fast with cement in his boots.
  • Lost a wheel barrel filled with wet cement, and it and I went into the new swimming pool fiberglass wall causing it to bow in and almost brake. They yelled at me as they went to the truck, and obtained stakes and string to pulled the wall back out.

Those morning trips back to the next job site were long and stressful. I didn’t want to go back, I didn’t even want to wake up. I kept working at it as the summer went along, and I became stronger and the yelling lessened. When I was laid off for the summer, that morning I suddenly found I was part of the crew, and they included me in their banter and jokes. There was a new guy who also showed up that morning. He started making the same mistakes, and one of the other crew put their hands on my shoulder. “Can you believe you were that bad once? I am glad he is here for only a day.”

I had made it, and left that day walking on air. It was a life lesson in persevering. I didn’t think I would ever make it, let alone become part of the crew. Challenges and losses create difficult feelings that make us uncomfortable. The mistake that some make is avoiding those feelings. Living calls us to have those feelings, and then do something with them. More than not they create a positive result, because we face them. When we persevere, we are doing something.


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14 Comments Showing 50 most recent
  1. Amy

    Sounds like a hard job!

  2. Joanne

    Interesting blog Dale.

    • Dr Reikowski

      I thought so too Joanne!

  3. Kristie

    Nice blog! I tried working with cement once, never again! My arms gave out too! I like the end quote!

    • Dr Reikowski

      My dad layed cement at our house and can only imagine how hard it is!

    • Dale Hansen

      Thanks Kristie. I value your comments.

  4. Jen

    I just had a conversation with Maire the other day that looked similar to this. Minus the cement! 🙂
    I was looking at my training notes from when I started working here just a year and 8 months ago and realized for the first time just how much I have learned and how far I have come from where I was. It is a good feeling!

    • Dr Reikowski

      LOL Jen minus the cement…:)
      Yes, you have come a long way and do great work!

    • Dale Hansen

      You are valued and very important. As I go out to other offices, and I hear “Name?” and “Do you have an appointment?” and when I return home and I hear “How are you today?” from you, I feel thankful.

  5. Gail

    When I’m faced with a difficult situation, I say to myself that I’ll get through this, because it know will all work out in the end 🙂

    • Dr Reikowski

      That’s a great attitude Gail!

  6. Dr Reikowski

    Very nice sharing Dale. Yes, persevering is the key right!
    I loved the part of the truck driver saying, “Good luck kid” LOL. Also, that the worker could run so fast with cement in his boot!
    What great learning moments your father made for you and he together. I bet he was so proud of you!

    • Dale Hansen

      Thanks Rich. I felt this would apply in hearing loss. As one with hearing loss I experienced that same need to persevere, keep moving forward and understand that it wouldn’t be the same. If I gave myself the chance…it would be better.

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