Employability, Hireability and Placeability ~ Got Ability? Need Proof?

To continue on with my post on getting level during divorce, I’m offering working definitions of 3 of my favorite ability descriptors which are Employability, Hireability and Placeability.

Although my vocational assessment and evaluation assignments span a variety of jurisdictions and are designed to meet referral needs, the concepts of Employability, Hireability and Placeability remain constructively intact.

~ Employability ~ Can try to prove

employabilitySimply put, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. It refers to the capacity to function in a job and to be able to move between jobs the person could actually do considering personal circumstances. There may be an overlay of disability, physical or mental limitations, or specific work-life needs that come into play when determining a person’s employability.

Employability depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities and how these assets are used within the context which work is performed or is sought. To evaluate employability, it helps to break the concept into manageable pieces. I take a look at the skills, attitudes and behaviors the person has developed through their work background and a variety of other life experiences.

To know if those skills, attitudes and behaviors are in demand, I then research and survey the person’s labor market to identify jobs that match the person’s background and capacities.

It works best for me to highlight the person’s skills and capacities in the best possible light! Skills are transferable regardless of disability, especially with creative adaptation and accommodation.

In addition, if there are avenues to match the person more closely with jobs (eg: short term training), further vocational research is performed with the results offered in a helpful way.

~ Hireability ~ Cannot prove

Hireability

The term hireability is a way of describing the likelihood an individual might get hired for a job they are physically and psychologically capable of performing.

The most prevalent method of hiring is the interview, therefore, it is always helpful to view how a person presents their skills. The individual’s presentation is critiqued, job searching skills are assessed and other issues are addressed relative to the potential to attain employment in various environments.

Further, hireability is about a person’s soft skills, including their style of communication, level of self-confidence, initiative, tact, and motivation. All these elements are important to a business who has hiring needs!

Throughout my placement experiences, I find businesses look to hire individuals who are responsible, trainable, friendly and able to work on teams. Reliable transportation, good references, a neat appearance, and a pleasant personality are commonly preferred.

Throughout my placement experiences, I also understand often is not necessary to assess an individual for hireability, and to rely on the person’s natural ability to succeed without the need to administer a “test”.

~ Placeability ~ Can try to prove

Placeability is the likelihood that a person will actually access, secure and maintain work within his or her labor market, usually in a specific job or occupation. Placeability is affected by labor market conditions (outside of an individual’s control) and is partly about how in-demand the individual’s transferable skills are and how well she or he can present those skills.

The dynamics of placeability include the availability of jobs in a certain geographic area; employer attitudes and policies, the evaluee’s age and culture; and specific occupational hiring requirements. I’ve had many years of work experience placing people and there are numerous variables!

If the person has barriers to employment, for example a functional limitation that would benefit from accommodation, resources are discussed to avoid unnecessary conflicts in the person’s working world. Please realize all functional limitations are restrictions but NOT all restrictions are functional limitations!

Here’s another rather important variable: 

~ Willingness to Work ~ Can definitely prove!

I have testified to this several times. If you are a job seeker and need proof that you are validly looking for reliable work, let me know if I can help. 

Thank youThe bottom line for any business usually involves making and/or saving money! Are you doing that? If you are employed, yes you are! I thank you! And I’m sure your business thanks you too.

Need a vocational evaluation consultation? Call me 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

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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.

“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently stuck in Rabbit’s front door.

Rabbit is not happy and help is needed! Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am not an expert in dynamite, I am in forensic rehabilitation consulting!

Gopher

Popping out, he exclaims “Somebody call for an expert?!” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. Christopher Robin recommends he patiently wait until he gets thin….and it works!, however, he still needs a good jolt to move through the door. The team is successful and Pooh ends up in a happy place…filled with honey! 

Honey! Yummy! Related image

You know this Pooh story and I hope you appreciate it! I too use my expertise to help out in complex cases. I also hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise that you can appreciate! 

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, my background and training in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares. I love my career, and deeply care for my work.   

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University (back on April 15, 2013), I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate (which I did on August 15, 2014 ). The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing another educational program allowed me to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-282-7753. Thank you for reading!

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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.

 

Rights of the Expert Witness ~ I’ll Take a Veggie Slice, Please

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

I continually assess and evaluate (there I go again!) my rights, values, professionalism, and of course ethics (which I really enjoy!?!) and am hopeful to write more on these topics and my career in the field of forensic rehabilitation counseling.

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics! I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for). 
  6. I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.
  7. I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).
  8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony. 
  9. I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced. 
  10. I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, It’s All Good Work!

I am glad my career continually evolves! I accept responsibility when providing forensic vocational services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness. Thank you for reading!

Please contact me Amy Botkin for more information ~ 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

I’ll take a veggie slice and a glass of Chardonnay please. You?

Source for Rights: http://www.forensichealth.com/2011/07/13/10-things-the-fho-expert-witness-bill-of-rights/

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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.

Medical Practice and Procedures…It Happens, Things Go Wrong. Need Help with a MedMal case?

Time for a health update blog…a personal one I didn’t really want to write  with a mix of questions and a story about medical practice and procedures. The point here, my attorney reader, is I want you to think about me, as a forensic rehabilitation consultant, and how I can help you help your client!

Randy’s heart took a detour late last summer, 2017 when the ticker was running really fast.  Randy doesn’t participate in races (that I’m aware of….I’m the competitive one!), but his heart sure was! He does however donate blood on a regular basis. In fact, he was donating early on a Saturday morning (he’s donated 14 gallons according to the sticker on our front door!) when the nurse at the blood center told Randy she thought his pulse was “strange.” His precious blood was still drawn (double reds)!  

Randy is a popular Type A- donor.  

Questioning here ??? Should the nurse have continued with the blood draw knowing the pulse was “strange?” Well, she did! Luckily, no harm done. When Randy got home (rode his bike…at what speed I don’t know! to/from blood donation which is common for him!), I took his pulse and in fact, it truly was “not right”.

A couple days later, he had a doctor appointment (I scheduled it out of wifely concern); and sure enough, we got tachycardia…going 144 bpm. This means a cardiologist is needed. BTW, thank you to the nurse at the blood center for catching this.

Following an array of testing, diagnostic procedures, and preparations, he received an ablation early November 2017. Thank God it worked! Randy’s back down to a regular beating heart and a normal pulse (his BP was never a concern.) His cardiologist did an excellent job and Randy was back riding his bike in a short period of time. He wasn’t happy to be told not to! In fact, I think he disobeyed doctor’s orders one day.

We expect our doctor to always be right. We expect our nurse to always be right. We expect all our health care providers to always be right. We in fact, expect our bodies’ to become “right” whenever we receive treatment in the medical field.

Image result for rightBut things can go wrong and a patient can become injured during the course of treatment. That’s why we have attorneys to help, right!?! And yes, we expect our attorney to always be right (ha, ha, another blog topic!)

“Dr. NeverWrong”, the cardiologist who performed the ablation on my husband’s heart has this nickname! Nurse Charlie, one of Randy’excellent RN while hospitalized told me! Charlie told me he has worked with this cardiologist who has quite a fan base (being only one of few docs in town that I’m aware of who perform ablations).  Because the doctor was humble, gracious, and ever so respectful, I’m sure he would not want to be called  Dr. NeverWrong! Can you guess who I’m referring to? What? Attorneys don’t guess!  

Recently, I was involved in a medical situation which could be worthy of a claim. How do you help your clients decide whether to file a claim? If there’s been harm done? Here’s the abbreviated personal story.

When preparing for a mammogram last October 2017 (actually sitting quietly in a 1/2 gown which was heated!) and waiting for the machine set up, I informed the technician of an unusual skin issue I was experiencing thinking it could be poison ivy or something. I’ve had my share of poison ivy issues, even a four day hospitalization for a severe case in the past (contacted through an outdoor camp fire…..watch out!…it was horrible.) The technician dismissed my concern and we went ahead with the mammogram (I truly love big machines, especially cranes), yet this large machine is not one of my favorites. And even more so following what I experienced.

Anyway, to not go into detail  uggh ; [   I ended up with a severe spreading skin condition that lasted too long. I was absolutely miserable. Going to the ER once on a Sunday and urgent care twice during the weeks that followed was no fund. And I went because I couldn’t stand the physical and emotional toil…and my doctor’s office wasn’t open at the time of my needs!  Not until I went back to my personal MD to finally get the correct diagnosis; and a prescription did I feel a little better.  

But the prescription did NOT help and the condition worsened. I literally had to just wait this one out…..and deal over time with the largest organ in our system: the skin. I was so distraught I even sought mental health care. I’m okay now, thank you! Whew!

I didn’t file a claim, should’ve/could’ve I? The time, energy, money and definitely my mental health was compromised and consumed in a fashion that I certainly didn’t chose. The only time I have filed a legal claim was when my parents did against the railroad for their negligence leading to my car/train collision and subsequent injuries, hospitalization and rehabilitation (there’s much to this personal story.)

I think the key into what makes or doesn’t make a person seek a lawyer when they think they’ve been wronged has to do with respect (or lack of) by a medical provider. Of course, everyone makes mistakes. But negligence, followed by covering up issues and not telling the truth is where the wrongs and not the rights come in to play.  That’s not where I come in just yet, that’s where you, the attorney is on the field. I enter the game by sorting out what the plaintiff needs and the costs of those needs.

If you need a life care plan for a client who has filed a medical malpractice claim, please contact me.  Following a needs assessment and subsequent life care plan, my recommendations are grounded in rehabilitation. I’m not saying I’m always right myself.  But I will tell you I care and I will do what I can do to help you help your client.Image result for right

Please don’t contact me if you will act more like the red devil lawyer on the left…..as I’m not interested in helping. If you are however a good attorney like the white angel on the right who truly cares about your clients, contact me!  

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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.

 

 

Employment Discrimination and Help With a Litigation Fix!

As a vocational expert, I can help sort out the consequences of employment discrimination cases in many ways and from “both sides of the fence”.  To me, this phrase means I will be fully instrumental to help serve your client without falling off and hurting the case because I have a full grasp of what I’m on to. To accomplish this goal, I balance your case with your client’s story and use all my instincts and brain power…kinda like a cat!

Black Cat on FenceCats’ tails are instrumental in balance!

Cats’ tails serve as a counterbalance when cats walk on narrow spaces, such as fences. However, one of my felines from long ago, (Max 1987 – 2002) was a Manx, henceforth no tail but he was well able to manage cat life with his strong body shape in every way! I asked my vet, and yes, even cats with amputated tails have proven to re-learn how to balance.

Employment discrimination cases need plenty of proof and evidence. Loss of salary, loss of benefits, and lengthy unemployment can be quantified pretty easily. Other issues are more difficult to assert. For example, if there is a claim the loss of job adversely impacts income and questions surface regarding economic realities, I can help with educating the individual on how to engage in a meaningful and productive job search, or I can assess the extent, quality, and reasonableness of a current job search. It is important to keep employer attitudes towards hiring an individual terminated from previous employment in mind.

Further, I can help to determine the impact on earnings potential and perform a vocational assessment and evaluation that provides data such as ~

  • the number, types, and wage level of jobs available prior to the discriminatory action
  • vocational options following the discrimination or termination
  • local job availability and wages and benefits associated with those jobs

I can also help uncover whether or not a good cause for termination of employment existed. That’s why documenting real time employer comments become helpful to sort out the nuances of the case. I’ll take a deep look at a behavior or situation that any reasonable person agrees would warrant discharge. I can help determine the ramifications of ~

  • Work performance and productivity
  • Attendance
  • Violation of work policies and rules
  • Dishonesty
  • Endangerment of health and safety*
  • Illegal conduct
  • Insubordination
  • Personality/attitude problems
  • Poor interaction with subordinates

*If disability is involved in the case, under the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title I of the ADA), I can assess for reasonableness and identify reasonable accommodations. Keep in mind I believe that for every disability there is some form of assistive technology to allow continued employment.

If necessary, I can provide expert testimony to help prove the loss of job was or was not reasonable. Do you have a case where I might help? Give me a call and let’s talk about your case. I hope you’ll find our conversation interesting! And if you like cats, let me know why. And if you don’t like ‘em, I really want to know why!

DudeCats have other unique advantages besides their beloved/not so loved personalities.

If falling (which doesn’t happen much based on my own personal cat ownership research) a cat’s head twists to inform the brain exactly how to restore alignment in a millisecond and a perfect landing is guaranteed!

16 Claws

 

If a cat falls from a porous surface, sixteen hooked claws do their work in an instant!

Do I have you more interested in cats or my work as a vocational expert!?!

Felix Feeling Loving 5-30-2010

Felix (2002 – 2015)

I very much miss my Felix. As mostly a cool outdoor cafe’ kitty, you were quite a lover! Felix shared his feline life with me through many a fix (both his and mine).

Keep me (and Felix with his secret bag of tricks) in mind to help in dangerous situations. I definitely can help your case through a litigation fix!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@gmail.com

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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.

Get Level During the Divorce Process…With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

Are you an attorney who works with divorcing couples? Have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client  Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity offers valuable information regarding marital assets. 

My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers vocational consulting services, and specifically, an earning capacity evaluation will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways. 

Let’s Get Level

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help! As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career picI report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation provides recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment. Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when we’re talking about talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Postit marriageI can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 10 years!

There were inaccuracies and factual errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher) that made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!) The opposing expert did not make sense! You simply don’t start out (with an outdated bachelor degree, no license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience) at $50k!! Not reality!

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.Earnings $

Knowing your earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of your divorce.

Please contact me at to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings! Do it before a different report says otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753. If I don’t answer, please leave a message! Or email me at vocresources@gmail.com    Thank you and I look forward to helping you help your client!

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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.

Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story

(Original post May 2016)

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills. When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio!

Balance BeamDad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work….you get the idea. Finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard the comment that it’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He moved continuously during each day, but a stroke and a fall down steps lead to no return to life on earth. Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

Highway BalanceRichard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone….“Hi Amy, this is your dad.” [Like I didn’t know!] Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul.

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core. You may lose direction, or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a banquet server for a hotel…walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (tea/water)….well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled WaterI learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal…..just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, I am more than ready to help you bring a balanced case to court.

This is the Chinese symbol for Balance! When I look at it, it makes sense! Because my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing, I will help you help your client. Call me at 515-282-7753 to educate me on your case. A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking to tell your client’s real story.

P.S. At times I am asked to simply evaluate a specific aspect of a case. Or my opinion on what someone else has already reported. Even how I feel about various aspects of a person’s capacity to succeed….. Don’t hesitate to call me : )

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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.

Seen The Reasonable Person Lately? I Keep Looking Every Day!

This is my response to a discussion question while attending GWU awhile back:  

The term “reasonable man”…actually “reasonable person” is a legal expression used in both criminal and tort law. It refers to a theoretical person in society who shows average judgment, skill or care in his or her conduct. The reasonable person standard is the basis for comparison when deciding issues of liability in civil or criminal cases involving negligence. 

In the same circumstances, how would an average person have behaved?

In my personal opinion, who is average? When I think about who may be “average” in our society, it’s difficult to see through the many beautiful layers of culture but I suppose there truly are average people among us. I would think people do not want to be seen as “average”.  

Jane Doe and Joe Blow are boring. They have no emotions! No feelings! Nothing but going with the flow of their life and not messing up or doing stupid things. It’s hard for me to define the average person because I have probably never met one.

I think it’d be very hard to find one boring/I mean average person, let alone 12 which makes me curious of the jury formation process. I didn’t make it through, although I’ve only been summoned once and I would love to be on a jury. Speaking of, have you seen the play production 12 Angry Jurors? When Nick (my oldest son) was at North High a few years back, he was involved in the play and I’ve also seen it at the Stoner Theater with Richard Thomas as the lead. It’s a great production and makes you think about doubt!

Yet, our legal system compares actions of people and makes a decision based on the factors involved whether or not a reasonable person would or would not do the same thing. Using this standard can lead to strange outcomes. I found a Brigham Young Law Review titled Better Off with the Reasonable Man Dead. It’s kinda funny! It can be found at http://www.law2.byu.edu/lawreview4/archives/1992/2/aus.pdf

In part it reads: The Reasonable Man first appeared in the law (Did he evolve? Was he created?) in the 1837 case of Vaughan V Menlove. The defendant’s haystack caught fire due to poor ventilation. The defendant had been warned on numerous occasions that this would happen if he left the haystack. The defendant argued he had used his best judgment and did not foresee a risk of fire. The court held his best judgment was not enough. He was to be judged by the standard of a reasonable man.

The Reasonable Man has had many first names: Prudent, Ordinary, Typical, Ideal, Average, Right Minded…. He has qualities of a good citizen, an ordinary chap. On the other hand, others say he is inadequate, makes mistakes, is selfish and afraid. He does typical things (takes out the garbage, opens doors for others, etc.) he doesn’t do atypical things (like parking his car on the freeway to scrape a small blob of bird poop off his windshield.)

Image result for bird poop on windshield

A BIG blob!

The Reasonable Man is shy. He doesn’t want to talk about himself, but his best friends (judges and law professors) are happy to talk about him. And talk about him a lot!

The reasonable person adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw. 

I’m going to look for a Reasonable Person or two in my town (or in the courtroom) and see what transpires and why it may be that s/he is average…..a common; or on the flip side I’ll also look for the Unreasonable Person who is above average, maybe a bit wild and adventurous. No doubt in my mind this will be fun!

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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.

Cross Examine & Win Em Over!

An attorney who excels at cross examining an expert witness is thoroughly knowledgeable of the case. Think of the volume of information the attorney needs to absorb. All data that comes into the case has to be analyzed.

Using intuition and instinct to discover weak points in the witness’ presentation, the attorney formulates and asks clear questions to elicit precise information in a fair and calm manner. This requires patience and and self-control, especially if you’re working on the spot!

I’ve been a vocational expert witness during workers’ compensation court proceedings about 12 times over the last 16 years. I have served in courtrooms (mostly conference rooms with a deputy commissioner presiding) with up to eight people present.  For a copy of my most recent litigation history, please inquire.

It’s important to be familiar with rough courtroom conditions, especially when on the stand.

I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, my vocation, and even my personality by the opposing attorney. I learned a lot from prior mistakes but even more from recent successes.

I was the primary job placement specialist in my first court appearance many moons ago. The opposing attorney stabbed my body language…in an erroneous and made up way. I denied it and because there was nothing to see because human bodies speak for themselves, he undermined his credibility not mine. And I remember that.

A recent court case involved typical cross examination, starting out with repeating basic questions to get different responses from me…then the pressure. I used first-hand knowledge and communication skills to respond to his questions, remaining true to my convictions while expressing strong belief in my work.

Hopefully I revealed to everyone in the room that being confident, calm and polite is a respectful way to answer difficult questions (even personal attacks). The judge on this case was newly appointed. I don’t know the decision nor have I reviewed the transcripts. These help to some degree.

My goal as an expert witness is to win over the people in the courtroom.

To prepare for cross, I think of all the factors that may arise on a case and memorize 5 to 7 main issues or circumstances, paying attention to what is most likely the heart of the matter, commonly being extent of occupational disability. I realize the cross examiner will try very hard to prove his or her theory of the case, while devaluing mine.

The opposing attorney wants to discredit me, and will piece away at any potential weakness in what I said or reported.

I rely on my expertise, research on disability and rehabilitation, objective evidence, direct placement experiences, the principles of ergonomics, and the provision of reasonable accommodation to help determine an individual’s work potential.

I understand how worker profile changes may impact access to the labor market and wage earning capacity. I can respond creatively by highlighting the constructive and favorable strengths of how my work brings successful results.

I educate everyone in the courtroom about the scope of my practice and how it works when the individual agrees with my approach. Most importantly, I focus on matching people within their own world of work.

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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.

Critiques & Rebuttals…Need One? Rebut No Matter What!

I was taught that vocational report writing is a very powerful form of communication and can influence the degree of success for the individual for whom it was written. I’ve written, critiqued and rebutted many reports.  I’m Here to Help! 

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I love to communicate
through the written word! How many people do you know who really love to write reports? I do!!

Let me ask: Have you ever read (or tried to decipher) a vocational report that doesn’t make sense?  Is the report ambiguous and difficult to read? Does the person it was written for understand it? Is it possible the report can be defended? Or should the report be ripped apart, piece by piece to get to its’ nuts and bolts? Want help? Need a critique or a rebuttal?

Rebut No Matter What! 

Bull

This was my husband’s Grandpa Cliff Yearington’s Bull. Cliff knew a lot about Bulls & Bulls*** too. 

Loosen, take apart and re-assemble that poorly prepared report…Will it fall apart or simple wobble on? A poorly prepared report stresses difficulties but doesn’t offer much information about solutions. It talks about weaknesses rather than strengths; deficits and negatives rather than pluses and positives. It seeks to make threats rather than suggest changes. It uses multiple words, unclear statistics, and a slick method to confuse rather than clarify.KeepitSimple

Simply, it’s not helpful to write an entire vocational report about how bad off the person is, especially without mentioning plans to help make a positive impact on the individual’s life.

I love to comb through reports and make all attempts to uncover what the contents say to the reader.  Just because it’s a report doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to make sense! A report still needs to flow, tell a story, describe details and make valid and reasonable conclusions.

Here’s a sentence commonly found in reports from the same vocational person that I’ve been asked to rebut. [Keep in mind this long line comes after results of testing are provided within the report, but they are not explained at all!]

It is important to note that the purpose of all vocational testing done and reported here is to compare an individual’s current performance with their past performance as documented by their education, training, experience, and the standard worker trait factors associated with that history.

Say what? What does this run-on sentence mean?  The writer is using testing to compare performance? Did the evaluee’s past performance have anything to do with the testing administered? Did this person take the same tests throughout their work history? And then the paragraph continues…

 It is NOT correct to confuse an individual’s current test performance with performance in work prior to injury, as current performance is likely affected by the sequelae of disability.

Okay, now who is confused? The test taker? The person administering the test? I’ll tell you who….the reader!Related image The reader is easily confused by a poorly prepared report! Don’t be a confused reader! It’ll get you nowhere!

My initial question regarding this vocational report scenario, maybe helping to avoid confusion from the get go, is WHY were EACH of the specific testing instruments administered at all to this specific person? What is the rationalization for administration? The vocational person who wrote the report does not come close to answering these questions. To be ethically sound, administer testing only with a direct and relative reason to do so. 

I’ve written a professional report about my opinion on ethics and use of testing in vocational evaluations. Please contact me for a copy of the report. If you are my contact on LinkedIn, you’ll find it there readily available for now.

The underlying use of testing results to try to prove a person is permanently and totally disabled raises many ethical questions. Would you want that for yourself?

A test, really, a series of tests that I was forced to take, I didn’t understand, and simply put I didn’t want to take…those results determine my fate? Absolutely ridiculous! Results of testing are meant to assist a person for true and valid reasons…..not to paint a picture of “post injury residual vocational potential”

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Would you like to take ~ 10 tests in a single sitting? No!

Without testing, evaluation is merely speculative

Really now? I’ve helped to place literally hundreds of people without administering testing! And many other placement people do too!

Yes, I use certain standardized tests and self-assessments to help people when it is appropriate for reasons directly related to their placement goals, but that isn’t all I use during a vocational evaluation! I gather knowledge and assess many other areas involving work, interests, skills, aptitudes and lifestyle to help. I do not rely on only the use of test results!

Back to report writing (which I love to do!)  Writing is a very specialized skill; and I continuously study, practice and improve upon my own skills. As a professional writer, I never stop training! I think I gained natural talent from my Grandpa Jack, a journalist!

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When I’m writing, I get very absorbed! My office cat will testify to that!

Again, do you need a critique or a rebuttal? Have you recently read (or tried to decipher) a report that doesn’t make sense?  I’m Your Person to Help!

If your opinion on a case doesn’t mesh at all with the report on your desk, please contact me to help sort out the discrepancies. Keep in mind, I know opinions are just that, opinions.  And reports are meant to answer questions, not raise more!

I also want you to keep in mind that if you believe in the truth, there’s a way to show it. Contact me for expert testimony and witness services, too! Oh, and I definitely can rebut a life care plan as well! Thank you for reading this post!

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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.