How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Part 7

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In January 1991, my transfer went through and I moved westward to the State Historical Building 600 East Locust Des Moines Iowa.  It was a beautiful new facility (officially opened by the Department of Cultural Affairs on Dec. 11, 1987) and I wanted to work there!

I worked for the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) in the office spaces directly through the main doors and on the right.  It was a brand new building!

I performed secretarial duties for several professionals in charge of various functions for the historical society.  I typed records and documents for state curators, archivists, historic sites coordinators and preservationists.  I helped with the volunteers, scheduled tours (for schools and civic groups) and events in the atrium (eg: recognition dinners).  I served as a prn tour guide for the Delicate Balance, Human Values and Iowa’s Natural Resources exhibit (upon receiving training by Mavis, our very smart and blind tour guide).  I loved it!

While working at the State Historical Building, I had the privilege of participating in the creative aspects of the museum, viewing many of the artifacts stored in the basement, and browsing through the historical library.  Another interesting aspect of working in the building was the facility had prisoners on community work release programs.  I got to work with a couple of them.  [Note:  In my career, I have worked with people with criminal histories; and therefore have studied the relevance of this related to working…I may blog about it in the future…]

One of the most exciting times working in the museum was helping to prepare the placards for the designers who were working on new exhibits.  I also enjoyed looking up military records and typing up affidavits and other public records.  These job activities brought me to the front lines of Iowa history.  Click here for a History of Iowa From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

After another healthy time period, I made a decision to return to college.  Again, just moving forward…..and little did I know, this was only the beginning!  I was still working at night transcribing records for a dermatologist in West Des Moines (oh, and raising a child in a lovely trailer on the Southside of town with my husband Randy!)  Randy was employed as a Des Moines Public School system long-term substitute teacher in a 3.6 self contained CLEAR (creative learning experience and real life situations) program geared towards behavioral disordered teenagers.

And working on his bachelor degree in education at Grand View University!

MORE TO COME!  Part (I’m losing count) 8 up next!

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How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Part 6

Reading Time: 4 minutes

After a healthy period of time working for the Disability Determination Services Bureau (and getting really good at chair dancing – admit it, if you’ve worked in an office, you’ve done it) I decided to go for a change.

I put in for a transfer to the Department of Education and moved from the Jessie Parker Building which is on the North side of the Capitol, to the Grimes Building, 400 East 14th Street – located East of the Capitol in 1987.

Do you remember the wonderful fountain on the west side of the building (now it’s the Freedom Flame, World War II Memorial)?  I miss it.

A look of the Capitol viewed from the south side!

I worked for a number of professionals at the Bureau of Planning, Research & Evaluation as a Secretary I  a link to job description .  The professionals included the Bureau Chief, (Lee…enjoying retirement I’m sure!), two really smart consultant guys (Joe – always very well dressed & Dave – he loved peanut butter sandwiches), and other highly intelligent and efficient consultants (Kathy & Gwen & Michele); and the Department of Education’s Legislative Liaison (Gail!).

Can you envision how this may be for me?  This secretarial work was filled with variety and I enjoyed it immensely.  Specifically, working with Legislative Liaison allowed me to help draft bills, and walk the underground tunnel system (fun and scary at the same time!)  to deliver messages to the Capitol (both the House and Senate chambers, the secret hanging out area, the café, as well as the rotunda) and help out in person.   Take a look at this You Tube video for a few laughs about the underground tunnel system.

QWERTY Keyboarding!

Other work I performed helped me to gain new knowledge and really enhance my skills and abilities, including of course, the omnipresent skill of typing – which I love!  I worked with numbers, figures, statistics and data.  The necessary attention to detail, editing, proofreading and accuracy involved in this secretarial position, along with being sure to file perfectly, spell correctly, type speedily, back up all documents, communicate with people from all over the state and work on a team ….allowed me to learn a lot.

I remember getting our first Apple McIntosh in the office.  Talk about getting creative with proposals!

The people I worked with were wonderful (Sheila and Kim V, Ruth the librarian, Mike the mail clerk, Gordon the custodian, plus many more), and of course my friend Chele followed me over there…..and she continues working for this Bureau (you rock girl!)

Also, during this time in my life while working days for the DE, I worked a part time job at night.  I read a blind for a moonlighting transcription opportunity in West Des Moines and sent a resume along with a cover letter.  A few days later, Dr. Barrett F. Schwartz contacted me and we interviewed.  I accepted a position to transcribe this dermatologist’s medical records.

I transcribed for Dr. Schwartz for five years

Oh, ALSO, during this time in my life, I had a baby boy (Nickolas made a grand entrance weighing in at 9lbs 4 ozs on April 12, 1989), and got married (to Randall on August 4, 1990).  Yes in that order!

In December of 1990, Randy graduated with a bachelor of arts in Education from Grand View College  (now a University).  He has a secondary teaching degree, with minors in government and social studies.   He was continuing to work nights and weekends at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant (remember Garcia’s when it was south of Merle Hay Mall on Douglas?  Hey Janice (my sister in sunny Florida) are you reading this? … You practically lived there!).

I like this statement: Education is the quest for the unknown and the processing of the known 

After more time went by, my mind encouraged me to move forward.  So I put in for a transfer  …… Stay tuned for Part 7.  Again, as I’m moving forward and backward at the same time (ahhhhh), I’m not sure how many parts there will be….!

Please comment on your education!  Where’d you go?  What’s your major?

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How My Past has Brought Me to The Present! Part 5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Continuing on from my post titled How My Past has Brought Me to The Present – as a Rehab Counselor! Part 4

I started working for the State of Iowa as a Clerk Typist III-IV at the Disability Determination Services Bureau (DDSB) in 1987. Disability Determination Services are state agencies funded by the United States Federal Government.  Their purpose is to make disability findings for the Social Security Administration.  Applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) file applications for disability benefits at local Social Security field offices.  (Taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia…this was the most simple explanation I’ve located so far).

DDSB is located at 535 SW 7th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309-4535, 515-725-0700  To apply for disability, you can call to make an appointment or apply online.  “Disability” is defined in different contexts using different methods for specific programs. This Social Security Administration website may help you – What We Mean By Disability.

At DDSB, I performed clerical/secretarial work for disability examiners (Hi Paul Kreger!)  Examiners evaluate initial and reconsideration claims for disability benefits under the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs, determines eligibility according to Social Security regulations, policies and procedures.

I had a green IBM Selectric

My job involved typing up (yep with use of good old typewriters) and mailing out a variety of forms, memos and  documents, correspondence and decisions to people who have applied for disability.  I also transcribed reports from dictation (and some handwritten notes) using transcription machines.

Transcriptionist

I worked around several ladies (no males in our pool) and we transcribed every day! 

Head set on, foot operating the transcription pedal, furiously typing away.  Such cacophony!  We always had to makes duplicates, and even triplicate forms….which means if you made a typo, the first page, upon hitting the correction key may get “fixed” but the carbon copies – oh my it took the fabulous smelling, wonderful whiteout!

Towards the lend of my days at DDSB we got – drum roll please, word processors.  The mainframe of our computer took two entire office spaces!  

I learned a lot about the ins/outs of applying for disability.  It takes patience and perseverance (completeness and accuracy to your application as well) if your disability is not “cut and dry”…. and can be frustrating considering it can take a LONG time to know the status of your claim.

Don’t give up the process of applying for disability if you sincerely realize you cannot work anywhere. I have experience helping others successfully with their permanent and total disability claims.

Stay tuned for Part 6!

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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.