Being Nosey, Opinions and I Make My Point Clear!

This summer while I was walking around Gray’s Lake, I eaves dropped over a conversation two young women were having about tap water throughout the city. I was right behind them, ready to make a fast pass around.

I’m not Gladys Kravitz all the time!

One thought Urbandale water was good and the other didn’t. They agreed West Des Moines water tastes ucky.  One loved Chicago water (and I thought ewwww ucky, and the strange smell to boot).  Then their conversation turned to a cute guy jogging their way……

Clearly, people’s opinions vary widely around one subject!

I don’t think I will ever find a person who is adversarial to water – and specifically why water is important to a person. However, I, in my role as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, routinely find a person who is adversarial to my opinion regarding whether or not a person can return to work (over their stance that the same person is permanently and totally disabled.)

I’ve evaluated hundreds of people and I hold firm in my opinion that work is incredibly important to a person. Rarely have I not been able to identify work for a person. In that type of situation, the person’s serious mental health condition (such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder) comes into play more than the person’s physical capacity.

One point I’d like to make clear!

[And this isn’t an opinion, it’s just the truth:] It is easier to state that a person cannot work than to identify what a person can do for work.

“No, can’t work.” That’s it.  “No” “Can’t Do” “No Work is Available”  What a negative attitude.  Is it just too much work to find work for a person?


“Yes, you can work” And here’s why, how and what the person can do! “Yes” “Can do” “I will help you!” This is a positive attitude! And it is a lot of work to find work for a person! That’s what I’m trained to do! And I love it!

Please see my paper I wrote August 2013 titled (it’s posted on my LinkedIn page)


Let me know what I can do to help you with your legal work regarding your client’s return to work!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * * 515-282-7753  *


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

Observation Skills and Body Language – Where’s Waldo?

Observation skills are important in my work as a counselor. Observation skills incorporate visual analysis, memory, concentration and the ability to pay attention to detail and to notice visual signals like body language.

When’s the last time you checked out Where’s Waldo?

In counseling, body language is used to help build rapport. It helps to observe the client’s/customer’s body movements and match or mirror them in an appropriate way. This can improve communication and  can help people feel more comfortable being around you. It’s true that people seem to gravitate towards people who are most like themselves (I find that boring though.)


As a counselor, I observe people’s body language a lot and can notice when a person is in discomfort, is lying/not being truthful, or is hiding something.  If the person is a client or a friend, if there’s conflict between what comes out of their mouth and what is being said by the body, this could indicate they are having a difficult time verbalizing something. I encourage the person to explore their feelings and try to reconnect their mind and body.


Look Long!

It’s not unusual when counseling, the client will break down and cry…..which calls for some serious quiet time.  This offers an opportunity for the person to be still.  This silence is the calm and a much needed break. The person will resume a conversation when they are ready. Body language speaks loudly without pretense. Body language is often more important than the spoken word which can be done quite softly.  Body language doesn’t lie.

I’m off to meet my step aerobics buddies for a night out (originally posted June 4, 2012 ).  I’ve had a couple of weeks of not doing aerobics so it’s time to see my buddies in real clothing, and eat with them!  However, I have been going to boot camp! Silly me! So what’ve you been doing for exercise lately?


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



Vocational Evaluators: 3 Roles in 1. Germs, Competitors, and a Shredder Help!

In my Iowa State Days and into the Fall of 1994, one course I recall quite well was Microbiology. Here I am, a new mother, messing around in a laboratory with germs. Okay, microbiology is better defined as “The branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms.” Luckily I had a smart lab partner who knew what needed to be done with the microscopes, dyes, stains, aseptic procedures, identification, etc.. My partner helped me to learn and helped me to keep myself and my new baby at home safe from bad germs!

My Grade for the Microbiology Course ~ B+

I believe my grade proves I took the course seriously and I tried my hardest! This leads me to discuss the topic of the serious nature of my role and function as a vocational evaluator.

Because there is a need for vocational evaluation services to persons with or without disabilities, I continually expand my professional capacities in these areas:

1)   Vocational/Career Expert     2)   Disability Specialist     3)   Educator

A Vocational Evaluator has 3 roles in 1!

I work with a wide variety of people and provide a mix of services to improve and expand my 3 in 1 role as a vocational evaluator.

I’ve come across several “competitors” vocational evaluation reports and found they served the best role shredded in the bottom of a recycling bin. Of course, I learn from reading them and can apply data from them, only if it makes sense to me!

In fact I’ve read two reports on two separate people by one vocational evaluator. Boy they read similarly! These reports were canned, used computer generated data, laced with irrelevant statistics, tossed with strange jargon, citing outdated sources, sprinkled with wording that all sounded the same.  Both reports concluded the same thing: this person is totally and permanently disabled from all work. Wow! Was I missing something? Were there germs lurking?

The “competitor” reports I’m referring to did not contain important information (that I include in my individualized reports) such as:

  • detailed information about the workers’ vocational background
  • an analysis of the person’s transferable skills
  • what type of work the person is interested in
  • a look into current employment opportunities that match those interests and skills
  • a review of reasonable accommodations and/or other ways to perform work efficiently
  • real life job placement perspectives and actual comments from local employers
  • recommendations for skill enhancement or ways to learn a new skill
  • offering of job placement or referral to community sources for help!

The information I include is based on the context surrounding the individual and the goal of the evaluation.

Poorly written reports get shredded!

I’ve performed hundreds of vocational evaluations (and have shredded many, too)! When I combine my educational abilities and career counseling expertise while providing disability specific resources when needed, my goal as a good rehabilitation counselor is fulfilled!

I’ve posted several times on the subject of vocational evaluations ~ which happens to be one of my favorites! ~ Please take a look around my blog and let me know how I can help you.

Contact me at 515-282-7753 or


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



Client or Customer? Both are Equally Valuable!

I consider the job seeker as my client, and the business entity (eg: an employer or a service provider) as the customer. I have  job placement services available for the client. Typically my clients are people who have already worked and are now on a path for new work opportunities.

Matching People With Their World of WorkMatching People With Their World of Work

My philosophy regarding placement is to individualize services to match the job seeker within his or her own world of work. Although we all comprise the working world, we each have our own niche that can be as far and wide or narrow and slim as our talent can go.

I focus in on which job search tools my placement client can use to benefit their own natural style of communication. Being able to describe yourself in a way that answers questions during an interview while showing your personality is valuable.

You have to understand your transferable skills and believe you can apply them in many different settings and situations (and make make $ to boot!). Believe in yourself first, and then build a market profile of yourself. And start the sale!

It’s a matter of expression to picture your skills as valuable, marketable and on sale to the best buyer!

On the other consulting side of my business, I have services available for the customer. One such service is job analysis.  A job analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular functional duties and requirements and the relative importance of them for a given job. An important concept of a job analysis is that the analysis is conducted of the job, not the person.

While job analysis data may be collected from incumbents through interviews or questionnaires, the product of the analysis is a description or specifications of the job, and again, not a description of the person.

A job analysis that includes accommodation options has helped when the client is already an employee (and has an illness or injury leading to questions about ability to do the job) and a decision needs to made whether the best option is to retain or release the employee from permanent employment.

Judgments are made using data collected regarding the job and / or a variety of jobs with similar components. And then I can provide expert testimony based on the data and my opinion of the person’s place within his or her own working world.

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I like customers and clients equally and promise to serve all people to the best of my ability.

Call me, Amy, at 515-282-7753 or email should you want me to help you with your clients.



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