Happy 20th Anniversary Vocational Resources Plus! Time to Stop and Smell The Roses!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Over the years, I’ve received many a rose and enjoy taking pictures of my favorites.  My plan was to find 20 single rose pictures to celebrate the beginning of 20 years in business, but it became too much work to go through so many photos!

Instead, I changed my mind and decided to come close with my count and not worry about the math, especially when at this time it’s time to

Stop and Smell the Roses!

and be satisfied with my efforts because I gave it my all at this time, as I always do for my work! You too? I’ll bet you do (even though I’m not into betting)! Enjoy the photos that follow and read on!

Tiny Orange Rose
Orange Rose
Beautiful Rose yes

 

 

Ohhhhh!    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All beautiful, yes, I agree! Go ahead and vote on your favorite. I wish you could scratch and sniff each to also let know your thoughts on which you believe smells the best! 

And to be totally honest, the next rose picture was not taken by me!  Incredible, isn’t it…would’ve you guessed this was a find (on an internet search) or actually taken by me? I’ve received blue roses in the past, and my pictures are just too blurry…even when editing. My disclaimer explains

I’ve named this beauty Ghost Rose!

Just to summarize this “author special” post, what’s important to point out is my business has developed for over 19 years. Because my work is important it needs to be clear, simple and pass the “smell test”. 

At times, if an answer to a question or a report on a particular individual or issue is not “perfect”, a decision of what to do next can be unnecessarily stressful. My “best bet” is giving my cases my full attention, and be satisfied with the fact that I put forth my best effort. I’m okay with that with other professionals.

That’s worth, in my opinion, every dollar paid for all the roses Randy’s hand  delivered to me over the years! Hey you reader, wouldn’t it be nice to have some rose beauties of your own, or to hand deliver to a great friend? Make a valuable  impression! One last link regarding my forensic services, fyi.

Contact me 515-778-0634 or amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to discuss your case and how I help attorneys help clients. Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate the time and the attention!

___________________

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

 

 

Dam! Need Help on a Case? I’ll Search Until I Find It!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Some days do you feel weird because part of your daily routine has changed? It happens quite regularly with me. Yes both, feeling weird and not having a typical day!

Image result for images feeling weird

Time that follows after finishing work on an in-depth legal case can feel unusual. How about the time after you’ve completed a project or a presentation that you spent hours on, or when you complete a long-term educational goal…and the homework is done?! You know what I’m referring to. You feel different!  And kinda weird, which is okay. In fact it’s great!

After I’ve served as an expert, I can relax and think upon the experience and what I learned about myself and my role in the process. I consider  how I did good and how I could do better. My work opens up experiences where I continuously learn about work!

My work as an “expert” requires me to research and study the subject matter at hand. So, I make my own homework all the time and seem to like it! Am I or am I not an unusual person? I absolutely love to study and analyze information! And like my brother Steven enjoyed, I too like to come up with theories and see if I can prove or disprove them to myself. Some of Steve’s theories however, defied gravity, like his skateboard stunts, and his water skiing stunts, I still don’t know how he could fly!

Steve

The meaning is:  Crown, wreath

I looked up “Steven and dare devil” and found out that on August 18th 1985, a Rhode Island bartender named  Steven Trotter made the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel wrapped in inner tubes. Mr. Trotter was fined a total of $5,503. Then, he did it again.  On June 18th, 1995, Steven returned to the Falls and made it another success. This time he and a female partner (a caterer) made the big drop together. That is all fine and good for them, but what about the rescuers? Somebody had to help get them out of “hot” water. Oh my! I remember as a child visiting Niagara Falls (height of 167 feet!!)  many moons ago with the family. My brother Steven loved it! I would love to visit again.

But instead I only need to travel a short distance to the pedestrian bridge over the Des Moines River. I love to stop on the south side of the Women of Achievement Bridge and gaze down at the beautiful falls from the Center Street dam…the dam height is 15 feet! I love the dam in Iowa Falls too which has a height of 26 feet! Or course the Saylorville dam is fun to visit too, especially when it’s flowing full force and you get splashed! Dams are gorgeous yet dangerous! Dam! 

Bud

Here’s to you bro! 

I always have a sip or two on July 17th which is my brother’s birth date at a favorite local cemetery and let Randy drink the rest! (Budweiser is not my brand of beer).

Think about “daredevils” and what their personality and temperament are like. Okay, someone similar to my brother! Someone who takes risks, not silly or reckless dares, but a good slightly risky risk. Are you a person who accepts dares? how about risks? Think about your job and your role at work. Think about how I can help you with a legal case. Okay, go ahead and think about drinking a beer!

Law involves uncertainties and risks that cannot be quantified. Some cases may be “risky” because of their sheer complexity or because the subject matter cannot be reasonably measured. I recognize that when I’m called upon to help on a legal case everyone has a role in the process. From me you will receive a report that is clear, truthful and comprehensive. Here’s a little story about me:

I once searched for a solid week for a black pearl that fell out a ring from my finger. It happened one morning as I was leaving my apartment going to work (for the State). The heavy door grazed my hand as it was closing, caught my ring and the pearl fell out. It fell through the deck slats and landed somewhere in a huge mess of leaves, etc. below. I looked briefly yet had to get to work on time. Upon returning home I looked for the pearl. I looked every time I left the apartment to go to work or go where I needed to go. I was determined to find it!

Until there ya go! 7 days later, I found it!  I am one persistent person when it comes to finding something I absolutely know is there! And that includes something so small as a black pearl!

Image result for pearl black and white ring cartoonWhat an incredible ring!

If there is part of your job that is somewhat risky, convince your brain that you are not scared of said dare or risk, and how proud you will be of your accomplishment. Consider all outcomes, and don’t forget others who are or could become involved. Then gather the courage and just do it! Don’t stop until you are done. Feel the exhilaration! This is similar to serving as an expert witness!

Skydiver

 Be safe, especially if you have a dangerous job (or hobby)

What will I study next? How to sky dive?  I would love to! And I’ve thought about it…hummm, maybe in Brooklyn! Actually I want to get into art. Not that I’m good at drawing or painting. I just like to study and learn new techniques. Not that risky huh! Stay tuned!  Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com for help on a litigated case involving work and disability.  Thank you for reading!

___________________

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

My Brother Lived in Florida and Worked in Canada! Need to Highlight Your Client’s Vocational History?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Back when I wrote the I Changed My Mind post, I started to blog about my brother Steven John Patrick Henry Murphy Fred George John Prochnow.  Okay, aka Steven, Steve or even SJP. My brother Steve loved the 4th of July.  He sure loved the holiday activities and the fireworks!

Water skiing was one of his favorite activities!

Steven was a member of the Iowa Falls Ski Club for many summers.  I was too for a time!  The team practiced and showed off in front of people driving along the river bend, or walking across swinging bridge, or boating, or hanging out at Foster Park.  Along the Iowa River you never know who you’ll see!

The big ski show is on the 4th during the annual River Bend Rally Celebration.  For the show one year, Steve dressed up as a clown (over swim trunks), hit the ramp, and sailed through a ring of fire!  The crowd roared!

Steven was into extreme sports. A daredevil to the bone.

Iowa Falls is nestled on the borders of the beautiful Iowa River in north central Iowa. The river, the cliffs, and the parks along the river have given Iowa Falls the well-deserved nickname, “The Scenic City.”

I’ll be heading to “The Scenic City” soon.  A few years back, old high school friends partied together for our class reunion.  Isn’t it interesting how some people just never change? Isn’t it interesting to learn about your high school friends careers? Isn’t it sad to learn when one dies?

The 4th of July was Steve’s favorite holiday

On July 17 of this year, 2019, Steven would’ve turned 57.  I wonder how he would’ve changed? I believe he’d still be happily married to Shereen, and a father to several children and a variety of pets.  He’d still be riding his motorcycle and enjoying the sun. He’d still be working at Disney World.  He’d still be the wild and crazy daredevil loving man.  But that’s not reality as he died in a motorcycle accident late at night on October 24, 1998.

July’s birthstone is the ruby, which calls to mind thoughts of love and passion.

I miss him tremendously.  He started his career at Disney World outside wearing a tee shirt and shorts in Epcot’s World Showcase. His land was Canada.  I love this relaxing and scenic area of Disney World, centered around a reflective lagoon. There are eleven countries represented in unique cultural fashion, and the food!

Steven would brag and say “I live in Florida and work in Canada.”

He later landed an executive job where he wore dress pants and a tie to the office every day.   I am so proud of how he progressed at Disney World.  His last position was in career training and development.  I remember my last telephone conversation with him where he was telling me about his work and his job was to help employees of Disney progress!

Here I am at Disney World when in December of 1997, I flew down to Fort Lauderdale for a work-related training when I started my employment with Interim Personnel the year before he died. It was always great to go to Disney for free because  he (and his wife) both worked there! I’m wearing my brother’s Mickey Mouse coat and his Mickey Mouse Santa hat (which I still have) and posing with my good friend Eeoyre

Maybe more on SJP in a future post. Love you bro! Hello my attorney reader! I can help you with a case that will benefit by highlighting your client’s vocational history!  Thanks for reading and thinking of me. Why wait to place me into action? Contact me and let me share my writing talents and my consulting expertise with you!

___________________

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

 

 

 

Blending Art and Science…to Help Litigated Cases!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I’m intrigued about the “difference” between art and science. It’s easy to say art is subjective while science is objective. Fundamentally art expresses knowledge, while science is the system of acquiring knowledge. Yet in many ways art and science are actually connected and related to each other.

Amy & Randy July 17, 2011

Kinda like a couple with waaay cheap sunglasses! 

Randy and I have more differences than similarities. Or do we? Let’s look at a few basic facts:

We often prod each other of our differences. I prefer pepper, while he does salt. Me ketchup, he mustard. He likes corn, me peas. I love apples, he prefers oranges. He likes vanilla ice cream, me chocolate. Hot peppers *me! versus no way to hot peppers *he! I really could go on and on about our taste differences! By the way, I’m a vegetarian! Not Randy!

KetchupMustard

But what about our important similarities (that have nothing to do with food)!

Our similarities matter the most. Like how we: Approach life. Share our faith. Explore our world together. Use our resources. Create options. Solve problems. Work hard. Lovingly care for our 3 young adult children. Spoil the pets.  There we meet; well we try hard to meet! 

Keep in mind Randy is much more serious than I. The better descriptor is probably straight-laced (kinda), not one to bend (that many) rules, and he likes to go by the book (mostly).  He prefers to follow instructions, a map, or a detailed plan (he designs power points before we go on a road trip)! And me, well I make my mind up where to go when the time is right for me! But I don’t get lost!

Randy is a teacher with a bachelor degree in Art ~ a BA and he has a ME  ~ Master in Education. I am a counselor with a bachelor degree in Science ~ BS, and my MS is again in Science. But wait!! When it comes to teaching or counseling what really is the difference between art and science when expressing knowledge in real life?

I would say the main difference between art and science is that art is more focused on the perception of the world through the eyes of a particular individual. Art involves an emotional response, and can be based on personal experience, opinions, preferences, and individual perceptions. Look at a painting and we all see something different!

Art elicits an emotional response while science doesn’t (at least for most people I know)!

Image result for painting

Science, on the other hand, is regimented and systemic with rules, procedures, and policies to follow. When people perform scientific investigations, the purpose or goal is to find an answer to something in a very planned out and specific way using the scientific method. Easier said than done, and requires planning with purpose and planning with options.

Image result for beauty in the eye“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

Look at a cell under a microscope and you are supposed to see the exact same thing (assuming you know what you’re looking at) as the next microscope user. BTW, I never could really “see” what my microbiology partner at ISU saw, but I did get excited (an emotion!!) when he said I was close!

I found other ways to look at the topic of blending art and science:

Image result for curveballBaseball pitchers use the science of physics when throwing a curve ball, but actually throwing a good curve is an art form.

Or perhaps medicine is an easier example.  Image result for medicineMedical practice is both an art and a science.  The two can not be separated without destabilizing the system. Do you want physical treatment without discussing what your psychological needs are?

A couple lives on the art of marriage AND the science of marriage. And a rehabber relies on the art and science of rehabilitation! There is a balance, although it certainly can tip often.

The balance is found in creating the work of art marriage / or the work of art rehabilitation is supposed to be, digging your heels in and applying the science of either of these (marriage/rehabilitation) when times get rough. I’m not a marriage counselor, I’m a rehabilitation counselor

So applying a sense of balance to my own work activities using art and science  to help you help your case sure makes sense to me!  My reports will not parse other’s reports, use wild statistics, or make blanket statements based on literature with no direct relationship to the individual’s  health condition and/or future work.

In my reports, I will make sense of what I believe to be the best options for your case and focus on connecting the results of my research to support my helpful recommendations and conclusion. This is blending art and science in a meaningful way. This is helping you help your client. This is why I do my work.

I appreciate the sound of blending art and science!  

I can help you with your case involving work and disability, the employment aspects of a divorcing couple, or a case involving the need for life care planning

Additionally, let me know how I could help you with a case with conflicting opinions! There’s always a way to blend the best and come to the truth.

Give me a call at 515-282-7753 for a free initial consultation. 

___________________

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

Patience, Persistence & Perseverance Dominate! Time for Spring!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There’s not much growing in our back yard at this time, but crocus which tells me it’s about time! Spring begins a new time in life, with excitement for what will arise out of the soil!  In fact, time is the essence of all life and an honored resource.Crocus
Crocus

Crocus, a perennial favorite!Crocus

I believe patience, persistence and perseverance are incredible qualities found in a person and in a beautiful flowering plant! All things produce when the time is right. Nothing can, could, will or should ever change this. It makes the most sense to follow Mother Nature’s lead and work with her rather than battle against her!

Back to my backyard where not much grows because of 2 main reasons, #1: our dog Bella the Aussie who loves the backyard and has many a good day carrying on in her canine best; and #2: the very large sugar maple tree with a huge trunk  covered in shaggy bark that supports many branches that tower into the sky!

Referred to as the Monster Tree!

Someday that part of the backyard will present itself in a better light! A professional limb trim helps, as does maintenance work and cleaning up in any home and yard (and business!) during seasonal changes throughout the year.   

I try not to grumble about picking up scattered mounds of dog poop and the thousands of sticks, branches and pieces of bark. Thank you oh monster tree for your beauty, shade and for housing the squirrels, birds and other wild things! Another harbinger I love to note is my first Robin sighting of the year! 

It’s impossible for me to embrace progress without patience, persistence and perseverance. I’m encouraged to find purpose in almost everything I do and strive to keep on keeping on until it all makes senseImage result for crocus

Image result for crocus

Image result for crocus

I’m able to find comfort in what I’m doing now and can find that the powers-that-be will grace me with accomplishment in the future. What matters to me most is finding happiness and success in everyday life with even the most simple things! My mind is made up that way!

successI hope you have a safe and enjoyable Spring Break! If you’re going on a road trip, feel free to take this map along!

Success is found after driving safely through Patience, Hard Work & Perseverance. Hopefully you didn’t veer off Dreamer’s road and got lost; or end up in Pain because I hear it’s a bumpy trip!

Contact me to discuss how together we can help your client uncover the road that leads to a successful litigation outcome.  Keep in mind even detours can lead to places you may not have ever traveled. Thank you for reading!

___________________

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

 

 

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Des Moines Public Schools had planned to use MLK day as a snow make up, but it was overturned by the school board based on good speaking and listening skills of many people.

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 January 21 learning and growing! He obviously had a passion for education, as did his wife Coretta, and knew how important learning is at every age. I totally agree!

I have more to learn about MLK and how his life continues to evolve throughout communities across our country. 

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

The evening before he was assassinated, MLK was prepared to lead a protest march to help support striking garbage workers.  He was just doing his job to help others do their job.

Thank you to the city garbage 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 all you’ve done, especially 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.” ~ a quote 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!!

___________________

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

 

Lifting at Work and the Power of an Ant! Need a Job Analysis?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the past I’ve blogged about when my father managed a Culligan Soft Water branch. I remember watching the workers (like Gary and Big John!) move the 150# water softener tanks from the regeneration area onto the big trucks for the next step which is to drive to their customers’ locations.

Growing up, we (my brother Steven & I and other friends) played human games on the shop dollies! Not something dad would’ve approved of!

I remember watching dad’s workers unload the tanks and bags of salt off the truck, maneuver the tanks onto a dolly, then push or pull the load to the customer’s house. They then donned a heavy strap across their bodies, and carried the tanks down a flight of steps into a basement. I was enthralled with that process!

These work tasks took strength and intelligence in how to best carry and maneuver a large and heavy object. The worker would then take the tanks that needed to be returned to the shop for regeneration back up the steps. Then the bags of salt would follow, down the steps and into the home, and be emptied in o the tanks. Then back in the truck after securing all items and the drive was on to the next stop for the route drivers. The process was repeated throughout the day.

Nowadays the tanks and the bags of salt are about ½ the weight, which leads me to my topic for this blog – lifting…at work. 

I study the topic of lifting at work!Image result for lifting at work

I’m not very big, nor very tall, and I really don’t know how much I can lift safely because all lifts involve time, place, setting and purpose! Yes, being a petite person ~ I’m 5’2″ with small wrists, I’ve learned many different ways to get want I want or need without heed to any physical challenge. I also exercise regularly and if I realize the object to lift is too heavy, I either get help or get smart!

I can improvise to get something off a high shelf (use a yard stick). I can figure out how to move something that weighs twice my weight (eg: a filled bookcase) with the use of furniture sliders. I can break any heavy item apart to make it lighter! Any person can lift objects and loads that are heavy using mostly brain power and not brawn power!

Brain over Brawn!

I’ve been trained how to perform a job analysis prior to preparing a job description; and have reviewed and critiqued many a job description. Here are my educated thoughts about a job description that lists the physical demands [of a job] requiring a worker to lift up to X amount of pounds.

When I am helping a job seeker who has a lifting limitation, say of 25 pounds, there are considerations to assess prior to including a job that may call for lifting more than, say 20 pounds.

Did you know ants can lift 20 times their own body weight?

The following considerations may be taken into account when assessing whether or not a person can safely lift at work or at home, or just about anywhere one’s body happens to be:

  • the size and strength of the worker
  • the load – what actually needs to be lifted and why? (to me, this is the most important question!)
  • the weight of the object or load to be handled
  • the muscle force applied by the worker to do physical lifting
  • the postures adopted to lift the object
  • the workplace environment and conditions, for example, slippery floors, walking up steps, restricted space to work in, lighting and the ability to get a good grip on the object
  • the amount of time spent doing the lifting, or the number of repetitions of an action each day
  • what accommodations are in place or could be in place to allow the job to be performed efficiently and safely?
  • the workplace layout – the amount of moving of the objects required
  • what equipment is available, or could be used, to help move the load?
  • is safe lifting training offered?

It’s very important to specifically address what needs to be moved, where it is to be moved, and why!; and then be smart about the lifting process. Think about how any heavy or awkward lifting can be accomplished in a smarter manner. The load and the lifter will benefit. 

Think about the load!

Let me know what I could do to help you with return to work issues.  I can help you help your client in many ways!

___________________

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

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…!

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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!

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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

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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.

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.

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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!

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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.