Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story. I’d Love to Write it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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 he previously made for her to practice on for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio during a home renovation project! 

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, we eat a balanced meal….we try to keep a balanced state of mind. In my life, finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard comments like: 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 was receiving in home physical therapy through the VA and moved continuously during each day. But a stroke and a fall down his basement steps lead to no return to life on earth.  Before he was airlifted to the hospital in Mason City, my mom called and we drove in the middle of the night to be with him in the hospital room. And to help him die. 

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 temporary banquet server for a hotel. As I was walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (lemonade, tea and 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 any!

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, especially those that involve work and disability, let me know. I will be prepared to help you bring a balanced case to court. I will write a report that tells your client’s real story, with a concentration on their vocational background and potential future. If you need a life care plan for your client, again, I can help write about why the plan is needed and the likely costs for the person’s care.

The Chinese Symbol for Balance.

Please know my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing all to help you help your client.

 

I’m actually really good at balancing and am pretty happy with my physical and mental states of mind. Call me at 515-282-7753 to tell me about your case.  A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking for to tell your client’s real story.

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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.

A Bouquet of Gerbera to Share, Along with My Vocational Assessment Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Here’s a beautiful Bouquet of Gerbera as a gift to celebrate my endurance and to share with you, my Attorney Reader!

I’ve experienced website issues in the past, and if you’re like me (a self-taught web designer/blogger/site maintenance person who is totally responsible for owning a website), it is quite disheartening to have your site be down. It’s not that I didn’t try very hard to fix it, because I’ve had “issues” before that I was able to resolve, but not as complex as this one!

But with help, I was able to be back online! where today I remain essentially “worry free” with LexiConn my host service provider located in Colchester, Connecticut which was referred to me by a smart IT woman named Edie  out of Ankeny, Iowa. If you’d like a referral, let me know! Of course, an Internet “connection issue” can arise at any given moment and will need a fixin’. And in that case, I’m on my own.

So, Amy, with these flowers, I remind myself of where I’ve been and that I’m specially equipped to continue on with my choice to write to my readers! Yes, again, You my Attorney Reader!   Take some of your valuable time and look around my website. Enjoy!

What’s interesting to me is the fact that when I first started my vocational consulting practice in September of 1999, I was working part-time at a flower shop (Doherty’s on 2nd Avenue) as the “flower processor”.

The best part of what I did for this job (besides clean up the backroom, storage spaces upstairs, the walk in cooler, and other areas that needed it), was to process incoming freight. This involved (♥I loved it!♥), opening the boxes of flowers after I signed off for the delivery; and preparing the beauties for use by the floral designers. 

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My very favorite flower to process is the gerbera daisy! Why You Ask? It’s all in the ease of cutting the stem!

On-the-job, I was taught how to unwrap the flowers, place them in the correctly prepared liquid solution, and cut the flower stems perfectly before placement in correctly prepared containers for storage in the cooler, as required for best results! I used a really big stem chopper like this: Related image

Watch the fingies, Amy!  No, I never got injured! And yes, I really enjoyed this part-time job (ahem, it’s not on my resume however)! I was working with live beauty! The work allowed me to continue on my life journey (the position was only short lived because my business started getting busy and I could no longer take calls in the bathroom without feeling guilty) s a flower arranger.

You see, growing up in the 70’s, I  excelled in flower arranging, even entering fair contests and winning ribbons!  I loved Garden Club, thank you Marie Hubbard my neighbor mom who was the club leader and one great teacher!  To this day I continue to enjoy arranging flowers!

Related imageWhere’d my show ribbons end up?!

Back to this blog…for awhile interesting sounding warning signs were visible at the top of my site (not at all a good thing, right?!?). There was no danger to my readers, or to myself for that matter! And it wasn’t the end of my world (but I did fret a lot).  

So after plenty of anxiety (boooh) and stress (double booooh) that was thankfully overcome; along with a big heaping of faith in myself, I dove in, performed in-depth research, made local connections, trusted my instincts, spent plenty of time and money…; and learned about my options which lead me to make a change for the better!  

In a nutshell, the decision was made to switch hosting providers (sounds easy, but really is not!) It’s a process, just like every business or personal related transaction/step/decision which is important in one’s life and simply has to be made.

Related imageRelated imageI feel a tad smarter in this huge Internet world! Plus this learning experience offered me additional insight into who I am as a self-proficient small business operator.  And allowing me to help you even more with your client who may be just that: a self-employed small business person. My plan for my business is to continue to utilize my website for the purposes it was intended when  I started it up <link to my disclaimer!< in the Spring of 2011!

Could your plan include contacting me to help you help your client?!  If you need any sort of vocational assessment, I am definitely one of your choices and would like to be your preferred chosen choice!

Although not easy to prepare for because each one is unique, the assignments I accept are fulfilling and I appreciate the opportunity to help and use my creative resources. Give me a call 515-282-7753 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   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.

 

Central Value of Consulting with Me, What An Attorney Will Find!

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I provide forensic vocational rehabilitation consulting services and work with attorneys with passion; those who truly care about their clients.

You’ll find we make a nice pair when we focus on your client!

Please take your time to review information about my professional services. Life care planning and forensic rehabilitation counseling are unique to vocational rehabilitation. That’s why I chose to work in this field! It takes a lot of knowledge yet common sense to truly help others.

Work Hard Stay HumbleYou’ll also find I work hard for you and just as hard for your client!

If you, Attorney Person, need help with how to quantify AND qualify an individual’s earning capacity within a life care plan, I am the consultant you’re looking for. If you need a report explaining a person’s vocational background and earnings potential, I am the consultant you’re looking for. If you need an expert to serve on the stand in your case, I am the consultant you’re looking for. Want me to continue on about my work? 

I believe work is central to the existence of adult functioning. It provides funds needed to live and supplies status and security for an individual. You’ll find value in how I approach my own work in a qualitative way. You’ll see I’m grounded in neutrality, sincerity and resolve to never give up until the facts make sense.

Ask me some questions and learn what I, Amy E. Botkin, can do to help you help your clients.

Amy Pic 9-29-15

You’ll receive a humble reply!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-778-0634  

amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

 

Thank you for reading my post and checking out my website!  < Where my disclaimer is found!

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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.

Working on a Case Involving Work & Disability? I’m Here to Help You…Depose & More

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I can help you, my Attorney Reader, in a number of ways with a case you’re working on that involves work and disability, whether it be medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation or any other litigation.  Legal Case FilesActually, disability doesn’t have to be involved, yet when is tends to make a case more complex! 

One way I can help you is to design creative questions skillfully as part of the discovery process allowing a much deeper inquiry into the person’s “world of work”.

My goal is to inspire you even more to do what you love to do which is ask questions, right!? And to be the best attorney you can be, double right!!

Depo

I’m sure questions you ask a deponent include those to: determine the nature of previous jobs; amount of money making; for whom s/he was working; why employment was terminated; and what qualifications and experience s/he had for the type of work s/he was doing [when injured].

You also question what work the individual has done, if any since the disabling condition, describing job duties; and determining previous employers and earnings.  Questions posed to encourage a deponent to detail what it is s/he can and cannot do are important, too.

These are all good questions from you yes, and critical of course (although kinda boring in my humble opinion!). Would it help you to have at your fingertips specifically designed questions (based on evidence to date) at deposition that will produce a much deeper inquiry into the person’s vocational background? I get excited when I think of sooo many other questions you could ask that really get into the meat of the matter!

meatAnd I don’t eat meat!

I’ve heard 90% of malpractice cases are settled before trial, and the deposition often is the turning point in those cases. I’d like to help you prepare questions that will lead to responses offering plenty of material for you to work on your case. My aim is to help you skin that cat in many ways and be ready for the most likely responses from your witness.

Object

My hope is that my help with your deposing techniques is valuable pre-trial as well as if the transcript is used for court. Plus, please keep in mind, I can definitely help you in more ways to better understand the individual’s disabling condition. A life care plan is perfect for that! Expert witness and testimony services are available as well.

I am here to help you help your client!

Call me ~ Amy Botkin at  515-778-0634 or send me an email message at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and I’ll get back to you. Thank you for reading! Good luck with your legal work. Do you want to really know that you love your job as an attorney?  Here’s a link to an assessment titled why-do-you-do-your-work-you-may-be-in-love that can help you find out!

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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.

Alaska and Her Rehabilitation Plan…Patience Beyond that of a “Normal” Cat Owner!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Okay, another cat blog! Yes, I’m a cat lover and I love all pets and care for all living creatures! I’m not a cat fanatic, it’s just that felines have always been a part of my life since I was a teenager, and I love it! I love cats! I love to write too. I love my work. I love my family. I love my life! I love a lot actually! Amy means beloved, so it’s reciprocated in many ways : ) Read on please! I’d love it!

Cat Plate
Cat Plate

Little did we know that 3 months after Max my manx was murdered in early 2002 by something in the street, (I don’t love creatures who kill pets and on the other hand I don’t like it at all when my pets kill creatures), a tiny meow would emit from our neighbor’s garden. Oh my, this long haired kitten was awesome! Felix! Welcome! (Okay, this blog is not about Felix today!)

Max, (nope this blog not about you either, meooowww) a dearly beloved yet wild cat, found me ~1987 when I was renting the basement of a brick home in Windsor Heights (it had a pool in the back yard.) Speaking of cat claws!…A word of advice from a long timer cat owner, (counselors shouldn’t give advice, but in this case, listen to me!): Don’t think it’d be fun to give a cat a ride on an air mattress in a pool. Trust me. Sure looked like I had open heart surgery!

kitten-3Now, here’s a blog devoted to Alaska. She’s the cat who strutted on down the street one Spring evening in 2012 (following my son Jacob and his friend Josh) directly into the house and to a bowl full of cat food. Score!

I recall saying “Wow I’ve always wanted a white cat!” She’s all white with beautiful eyes (I love the green one; no, I love the blue one!). Oh dear, upon her arrive she was a very thin stray! And oh dear, oh my, oh dear, I would have no idea what trouble she would end up causing over the next year or two (…..) you really don’t want to know…..it involved lots of $$$$ over time (furnishings….another word of advice regarding leather furniture and cat claws). More costs $$$ credited to this white cat was the vet bills due to her actions toward the existing female feline (my love of all cat loves SamiJo.)

The cat looked like a kitten, however the excellent vet (Dr. Michael Forret) said she was about 7 months old when she decided to ditch being a stray and chose a home. She was hungry and dirty! Even her ears where filthy. Jacob named her and she has a middle name too, but I don’t think I should let you on to that just yet!

Alaska Our Putty TattyI rehabilitated Alaska TF into one big healthy white cat!

Part of Alaska’s rehabilitation included a lot of touching. She didn’t like being touched much, probably because she had not experienced much touch. She still to this day has to be touched only upon her terms….but I like to make her think she loves being petted which she really does but tries to hide it (cats).

kitten-in-toteAJ & AK bonding!

ArinJune figured out a way to carry her around in a tote bag (and to this day I often find her lounging in one of these she found!) to feel safe. With ongoing rehab,  regular vet care, good food and water, and lots and lots of love and attention, she thrives! Treats are nice too!

AK is much calmer of late into her more mature cat years. She loves the freedom to do what felines do (….sleep…and read above [hunt]…). She continues to be “a wild one” however and she herself does her share of “killing and delivering….” But, how can I stop a cat from that? Her hunting is actually of value to where we live because of an unkept property or two in the hood. But the dismembered gifts by the back door, come on! Enough. I have purchased her a new collar with a loud bell that will hopefully help plus she only goes outside about once or twice a day.

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Alaska helping me on a case!

Good communication and problem-solving skills are required in order to counsel others. I truly in my role as a rehab counselor, want to be empathetic and I want to reveal my desire to help people fulfill their goals. Counselors need good listening skills, compassion, and patience while working with individuals who have suffered serious injury and disability.

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She found this case interesting and pauses to reflect!

I know I have patience beyond that of a normal cat owner! Thank you my felines for teaching me how to listen and show my true self.

If I can help you help your client with a life care plan that includes vocational rehabilitation, please let me know!

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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.

Being Nosey, Opinions and I Make My Point Clear! Job Placement is Hard Work!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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

I’m not like Gladys Kravitz all the time!

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

BTW, I remember where I was,  nearly 1/2 way round where I started, not including the everstop at my brother’s plaque on the bridge!

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

I don’t think I will ever find a person who is adversarial to water – and specifically why water is important to a person. 

However, in my role as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, I routinely find a person (an attorney or two) who is adversarial to my opinion regarding whether or not a person can return to work (over their stance that the same person is permanently and totally disabled.)

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

One point I’d like to make clear! And this isn’t an opinion, it’s just the truth! It is easier to state that a person cannot work than to identify what a person can do for work.

“No, can’t work.” That’s it.  “No” “Can’t Do” “No Work is Available”  What a negative attitude.  Is it really just too much work to find work for a person?  VS  “Yes, you can work” “Here’s why, how and what the person can do!” “Yes” “Can do” “I will help you!” This is a positive attitude! Yes, and truly the fact is that it’s a lot of work to find work for a person! That’s what I’m trained to do! And I love it!

A vocational rehabilitation counselor cannot give a person a job – the professional works to define, enhance and channel the placement client’s skills, abilities, and aptitudes into the working world. 

The client is empowered with resources and strategies to perform specific and goal-oriented job seeking activities.  I’ve found the outcome of return-to-work in a workers’ compensation case impacts the placement process just as much during litigation as it does following case settlement.  Keep that in mind when forming any opinion. 

It’s a tragedy when an attorney sabotages any job seeking efforts, whether implied or not. I do not appreciate when any one tries to negatively influence any one else, especially when it comes to work.

I keep my opinion clear, based on fact and grounded in rehabilitation. No one can steal my opinion away!

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Please see a paper I wrote in August 2013 titled (it’s posted on my LinkedIn page) or ask for a copy titled:

WHAT FACTORS INFLUENCE RETURN-TO-WORK DURING A LITIGATED WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM?

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

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 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.

Life Care Planning Helps Attorneys in Ways & in All Phases of Litigation! Really!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Litigation strategies include planning!  Have you considered a Life Care Plan? 

Life Care Planning helps attorneys in many ways and in all phases of litigation. The actual plan itself becomes a comprehensive document that provides for the future care and associated costs of a person facing a serious illness or injury.

In earlier phases of litigation, a life care plan helps evaluate the potential value of a case. During settlement negotiations, a life care plan helps identify monetary ranges. And of course during trial a life care planner can be critical to your litigation success!

Life Care Planning Services Help Attorneys in Many Ways, Here’s A Few:

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  • Project future cost of care ~ When someone has sustained a life altering injury, trying to determine the correct and fair amount for a settlement is a daunting task. It’s difficult to properly analyze all aspects of an injured party’s condition.
  • A professional life care planner (one qualified as I am!!) can help you assess the current needs of a patient and project future complications with a systematic approach to analyzing the injured party’s current and future conditions.
  • After analyzing all injury-related documents, interviewing the injured party and communicating with medical professionals, the life care planner will produce a plan that considers future costs in order to ensure a fair and reasonable quality of life. The plan will consider financial, physical, and psychological factors. In the end, you’ll have a thoroughly researched document that will prove bulletproof at settlement conferences and in the courtroom.

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  • Consider likely complications ~ When it comes to catastrophic injuries and long term illnesses, you have to expect the unexpected. Almost undoubtedly, complications will arise in association with the life-altering events somewhere down the road. With that in mind, an experienced life care planner will identify the most likely future complications, allowing all parties involved to understand and adequately provide for these unforeseen circumstances.Related image

  • Expert Testimony * ~ An experienced life care planner provides crystal-clear medical testimony for depositions and trial. Life care planners can accurately and simply describe the injured person’s lifetime of needs and justify the associated costs.  
  • *In Addendum, as a Vocational Expert, I am also qualified to testify on the injured person’s work life and earning capacity.
  • Able to be customized ~ Not all cases require a full-blown life care plan. However, that doesn’t mean a life care planner can’t help you. The injury or illness doesn’t necessarily have to be catastrophic in order to benefit from future care cost projections. Versatile life care planners offer abbreviated plans for these special situations that allow you to evaluate case value and strategize early on.

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  • Establishes a level playing field ~ Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on, you can benefit from hiring a professional for life care planning services. A life care plan helps all parties know what to expect and thus helps settlements be reached more quickly. A life care planner can aid in strategizing to ensure the best possible outcome. It’s not just a time-saver. It’s a tool that gives you the key insight of one with an understanding of medical needs and the associated costs.

If you represent someone who has suffered a serious injury or illness, or a defendant accused of being responsible for an injury, consider obtaining a life care plan. Doing so will allow you to understand the future care needs of the affected party, which will result in a speedy, fair settlement.

Source for above written article (with some creative writing and clip art by me) : http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/benefits-of-life-care-planning-in-all-phases-of-litigation-3466273.html  Oct 13, 2010 • By Nancy Fraser

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Contact Amy E. Botkin, a Certified Life Care Planner at 515-282-7753 to discuss how a life care plan can help you to help your client.          

*I have the expertise to include Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Recommendations, when needed, into a person’s plan, and am trained in expert testimony.

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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 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

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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.

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.