I Sued the Railroad Nearly 40 Years Ago. Think I Won? Need an Expert?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’ve written about my 1979 car/train collision, which is part of my memory bank that becomes revisited from time to time  especially when June 15th of each year rolls around! Here’s a bit more about the story:  While hospitalized following surgery on my head and on my right arm, I was administered an IV bag that did not have my name on it. 

Image result for plastic bracelet hospitalMy maiden name is Prochnow NOT the name written on the bag. My mom caught the error after inspecting what was all hooked up to me (I was still unconscious) and reported it to a staff nurse.  The name on one of the IV bags was that of the male driver of the car I was in that slammed into a parked train; also an inpatient in a room down the hall. Thank goodness the IV bag contained only Lasix! How could a nurse hook me up without checking my name? Yes, we had plastic id bracelets back then! No harm done. Thank you mom!

Awhile back, I was driving in my car alone, and coming upon railroad tracks noticed the crossbar was malfunctioning. It was going up/and down over and over.  At this crossing (near EFCO on Broadway), the lights were not flashing and I did not see any train approaching from either direction.  The bars were out of whack! Trust me, I did not see a train approaching this dayHowever, a foolish driver drove around the gates and over the multiple crossings.

I did however see the 800 number to call the Union Pacific Railroad, because it was quite apparent the gates were malfunctioning every 60 seconds or so. To fulfill my civic duty, I dialed (after crossing the tracks and pulling over near the swans’ nest) and a man actually answered!

Image result for swans nest cartoon

I informed the railroad worker of the situation, he thanked me and I went on my merry way.  I do not care for railroad tracks when there’s a train approaching but you can’t see it yet…gives me the chills! But I did my part to help others.

I actually felt odd, even telling my mother of the situation and the call. Maybe it was some sort of healthy release to my own personal  situation and lawsuit. Read on please!   

The irony of me reporting a problem with a railroad crossing is that one reason for the lawsuit my family and I filed following the 1979 car/train collision against Rock Island Railroad was the fact that the cross bucks at the crossing near the high school at the site and time of the accident I incurred was missing.  Yes, the cross buck, the two signs that cross at the top, was gone, missing, not there. I have no idea why. Perhaps some kid had stolen it?

During the trial held at the Hardin County Courthouse in Eldora, besides that fact of no cross bucks, and the fact that this railroad maintenance error was swept under the rug, somehow, we (my entire family) knew a member of the jury.

The juror was the sister of a long time neighbor we had several ties with while growing up. In fact we used to go on family vacations to South Dakota with that juror’s sister.  I was best friends for many years with the woman juror’s sister’s daughter, as was my sister with a second daughter (make sense?). 

Anyway, my family and I did not win anything in the lawsuit. Not a cent We definitely should have been awarded something.  I believe the main reason we didn’t win was the fact that the railroad was going under.

Have I ever shown you my scars? You may be impressed!  I’m sure my parents paid a bit of money for the care I needed and could’ve used money to compensate.  I was only 15 years old and my serious injuries did seriously impact my life going forward. I felt so odd and was stared at when I returned to school that Fall. I ultimately ended up dropping out of high school in November 1979. I sure wish my story had been revealed, and wonder what may have happened if so had we won the lawsuit.

An injury comes with costs, no matter the situation, and a story that explains the situation from a personal point of view is fundamentally necessary for you and your client.  If you need a personal story about your client, for the jury and the judge to read, let me help. 

I’m qualified in many ways to help you help your client. Yes, although a high school dropout, I moved forward in life in many fruitful ways! There’s a link on my website to my resume, feel free to download it. And please contact me to share information about your litigated case! You’ll find I care a lot, especially if justice is lacking or a person’s story needs to be understood in a different light.

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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.

Thanks for Thinking of Me! Why Wait to Place Me Into Action? Need A Vocational Consultant on Your Case?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I enjoy consulting with attorneys. It involves learning about your questions; then using my expertise to provide an answer or two!  The fact is consulting work involves extraordinary amounts of mental processing.  Let me tell you, my brain gets a lot of action and yes, I work out physically, too! 

I don’t know about your specific style of learning or pattern of thinking is (give me time!), but for me, when I accept a case assignment, I don’t want to feel rushed about researching and finding solid answers to good questions.  No, I meant to write great questions, those formed to help you with answering your client’s difficult problems, surrounding certain situations, while considering all necessary detail.

In my eyes, “problems” are opportunities in disguise. Something “thinks” it needs  a solution. The thinking could be well thought through or it could be downright faulty, and that’s why education becomes a consulting strategy.  A good way to look at a problem is to compare it against an opposing problem and ask, which “opportunity” presents first? Will there be an order that makes sense? Is it really a problem or just defined as one?

For every problem under the sun, there is a solution or there is none. If there be one, think til you find it. If there be none, then never mind it!” ~ LeGrand Richards

My problem solving approach develops as the research is gathered relevant to the situation. How a situation is defined is just as important in the problem equation, considering virtually every situation can be defined in more than one way. Because of this fact, tremendous opportunity to educate becomes available, and negatives turn into positives resulting in the implication of how one feels and acts toward the situation!

I find that pulling too quickly for an answer or a fact won’t turn up the best results.  Pulling carefully yet relentlessly on the stem/root system will produce reliable, intact, organic results to share with others.  Through testimony, I can educate others on how to understand the specific facts I gathered and why they are important to this case, facilitating the information and helping them to “figure out” their own solution.

Thanks  for thinking of me (as Eeoyre says)!  Please contact me to get me involved early in the proceedings. Do so before you plant any seed, and I’ll help with preparing and weeding the ground, the hard part of the action! Even if you only need a file review, I can offer recommendations. And, we’d be better off to a good start!

I believe it’s always healthy to think of the humor in most situations. Truly, our emotions will benefit. Contact me at 515-282-7753 to discuss your case needs, and learn about my consulting style and policies. Again, thanks for thinking of me and 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.

What Did Your Grandfather’s Father Do for a Living? Need Evidence on An Occupation?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

My mother Ann Dodge Prochnow, researched a book titled “Genealogy of the Dodge Family of Essex County, Massachusetts 1629-1894” authored by John Thompson Dodge Ph.D. Dr. Dodge was born in 1850 in Vermont. Dr. Dodge was a railway civil engineer. And he’s directly related to my mom!

My mom read the book (Ann’s brother Gerry Dodge accessed it for her online). It clearly took a lot of work, but my mom, with great speed, skill and accuracy of course!, typed several pages summarizing her research; and gave me a copy as a Christmas gift! I read it with fascination! While reading my mom’s paper, I heard myself saying hum, wow; and really?…and laughing a time or two!

Genealogy Book Cover Tree

It can be exciting to learn about a family’s genealogy!

Here’s my synopsis of my mom’s synopsis:

The Dodge’s are all direct descendants from Richard Dodge who was born in 1602.  My mom’s great-grandfather is Vilas Luther Dodge, born October 28, 1847 in Vermont. Vilas worked as a farmer and stock raiser in Jersey County, Illinois. He was County Supervisor and School board member, and also Director of Jersey County Agriculture and Mechanical Association. He was 5’9’ and 200 pounds! (sounds shaped kindly like someone I know….)

Vilas married Laura Dannel on February 21, 1871. Vilas and Laura had children born in Kemper, Illinois: Mary born in 1871, infant son born and died in 1872, George Dannell (my mother’s grandfather) born July 21, 1876, Ann Charlott born 1878, Fred Leroy (my mom’s Uncle Fred) born 1881 and Harriet (my mom’s Aunt Hattie) born 1886.

Genealogy of Dodge Family Book CoverThe Book Cover

George Dannell Dodge married my mom’s grandma Helen Porter in Jerseyville, Illinois in 1907 and moved to Chicago. There they had William, John Vilas (my grandpa), Helen and Laura. Later they moved to Evanston, Illinois. All their children attended Northwestern University. George died in Jerseyville in 1960s and Helen in her 90s in New York.

My grandpa Jack married Jean. They had Ann (my #1 Mom), John, Gerald and Kathleen.  By the way, Mom and Gerald (my Uncle Gerry who lives in San Francisco) are planning to get to the Plate side of Jean’s family in the future.

Throughout these years in history, the men of the Dodge name held many jobs with professions spanning many fields (read on below please…).

My grandpa John (“Jack”) Vilas Dodge was an incredible man and had an amazing career that took him all over the world! He worked in writing, as a publishing executive. I am very proud to be one of his grand-daughters! Mom tells me that her dad’s father had an insurance agency and his father’s father did too! (I need to talk more with mom or Gerry Dodge and get more detail!)

For my blog, I focus on colleges the Dodge family graduated from; and occupations employed by the Dodge family throughout the generations:

College graduates were from Harvard, Williams, Yale, Middleburg, Dartmouth, Colby, Vermont, Wisconsin, Amherst, Bowdoin, Brown, Columbia, Anion, Andover and Emory. Graduates included a few women!

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School Picture

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School

Occupations included: Farmer, carpenter, teacher, physician, lawyer, tailor, tanner, minister, legislator, shoemaker, shipping business, cooper, factory owner, cabinetmaker, blacksmith, mason, currier, leather dealer, stone cutter, stock breeder, clothier, editor, military service, insurance agent, constable, cotton manufacturer, banker, merchant, bookkeeper, newspaper business, lumber business, land surveyor, steamboat captain, harness maker, musician, and civil engineer. Pretty incredible careers  during this time!

Do for A Living

Lawyer, Teacher, Physical Therapist, Registered Nurse, Doctor, Accountant, Social Worker, Paralegal, Psychologist, Dentist, Engineer, Police Officer…..Chef! All Incredible Careers! 

I had to look up one job (not found  in O*NET but guess what, it is in the DOT!). A cooper is someone in the trade of making utensils, casks, drums and barrels and other accessories, usually out of wood, but sometimes using other materials. In other words, the cooper used many tools to do his work, he had craftsman skills with a keen eye for detail and a focus on quality control! I could consult with Living History Farms for a job analysis!

Plus I wanted to know the difference between work as a currier (a specialist in the leather processing industry) and  that of a tanner (a person whose occupation is to tan hides, or convert them into leather by the use of tan) so I looked it up! I’ve toured a tanning facility with my eyes bugging out at the strength needed by the tanners to throw the hides! In this case, what I could do is interview with a person who actually does the heavy work to get first hand information!

Heart

I love assessing  worker skills! I love researching workplace environments! I love analyzing jobs! I love interviewing workers! I love my work!

As far as the numerous other occupations held by the Dodges, they range greatly. The Dodges used brain power, brawn power and the power to influence others (for example: attorney, banker, musician, steamboat captain, physician, engineer, insurance agent, legislator minister and …. clothier!) They used all types of machinery, hand tools, and up-to-date-for-that-time technology. The tools of any trade are tremendous! The talent from performing daily work and the credibility in a community becomes tantamount to a successful career. Boy would I have loved to interview any one of these talented individuals in their day!

A Clothier

A Clothier Was Popular, Yes Dapper Indeed!

I am completely fascinated by what people do for a living! Take some precious time and check into your parent’s parents’ work background. You well have well spent your time and you may be quite surprised! I was with the Dodge family that helped to form part of who I am! (Guess which part and win a prize!)

I believe work involves so much more than we think it does or see what happens when it’s performed! Think about your work and how it can evolve and change each day with your skill set! Are you tapping into your counseling? Science? Art? Empathy? Or are you ready for a vacation where your paid work takes a break? I’m not so sure your grandfather’s father received vacation pay (and nor do I as a self employed individual).

Bonus: Do You Love Your Work? Why?

Contact me, Amy (Prochnow) Botkin for vocational guidance or evidence on any occupation or career!  BTW, you wouldn’t find a forensic rehabilitation counselor back in the “olden days” which always brings to my mind the mystery of the working world.

If I can help you with your litigated cases, please let me know. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reading!

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.

 

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.

 ___________________

 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!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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 qualitative 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 earning potential and perform a beneficial vocational assessment and evaluation that provides data, and offers qualitative detail such as, for example ~

  • results of a labor market survey providing local job availability along with wages and benefits associated with those jobs
  • qualifications for a variety of  jobs in a person’s labor market
  • vocational training options following the discrimination or termination

I can also help uncover whether or not a good cause for termination of employment existed. That’s why documenting real time employer and/or employee comments prove 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 or would not warrant discharge. I can help determine the ramifications of ~

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

*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 qualifications, physical demands and work-related attributes; and identify reasonable accommodation(s). Keep in mind, I believe that for every disability there is some form of assistive technology to allow continued employment. Most times there is more than one way to do a job!

If necessary, I can provide expert testimony to help prove the loss of job was or was not accountable, understandable, or reasonable. Do you have a case where I might help? Give me a call and let’s talk! I hope you’ll find our conversation interesting (I can give you a couple recent case examples). And if you like cats, let me know why, really! 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, 18 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) over the years.  Keep me (and Felix with his secret bag of tricks) in mind to help in dubious or even in basic situations involving employment discrimination. I definitely can help your case through a litigation fix & thank you for reading my blog post!

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.

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. 

Related image

Related image

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.

 

Need A Good Report? Rebut No Matter What!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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 love to communicate through the written word and have written many, many, reports! Blog posts too!

So this blog is to be sure you, my Attorney Reader, know I’m here to help critique and/or rebut a report that may cross your desk.  Image result for report

How many people do you know who really love to write reports? I do! It’s not that the report writing process is easy, it’s a challenge!!

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? Do you 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? Need a critique or a rebuttal? I’m here to help!

Rebut No Matter What! 

Bull

This was my husband Randy’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”

Image result for testing cartoon

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! If you understand the persons skills and match them with jobs in the local labor market, there’s a match!

Yes, of course 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 is a very specialized skill; and I continuously study, practice and improve upon my own writing skills. As a professional writer, I never stop training! I think I gained natural talent from my Grandpa Jack, a journalist!

Image result for writing

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

Again, do you need a critique or a rebuttal? 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.

Samantha Josephine, Soo Soft and She Smelled Sooo Good!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Oh SamiJo, how I miss you.   I’ve cried a lot and believe writing this blog and posting pictures of you are healthy for me to grieve, even one year later.  Samantha Josephine Botkin ~ January 10, 2002 to January 10, 2018.

I have many memories of Sam. She’s the only store bought cat I’ve ever owned! We definitely got our money out of that Aqualand purchase, back when the kittens were for sale in the window.

 

16 years is a long time to spend with me, and we both sure went through a lot! Sam’s fur was soo soft and she smelled sooo good!  I loved pushing my face in her coat and taking big sniffs!

I was so proud of my goal: for Sam to be a “lap” cat. It took five years, but here’s my proof. I was such a proud cat owner this day,  December 20, 2007!  I was so proud of both of us! Sure wish I knew where that pink ISU hoodie went.

Here’s My Proof!

After that, she pretty much was always near me! Although she loved cuddling up with ArinJune too!

Here’s just a few more of the many pictures of Sam I’ve taken over the years. 

Yoga Love, this was a selfie! 

Isn’t she special! As I believe all cats (and cat owners) are! 

I love this shot with Sam lounging on the blue pillow (which I salvaged out of my mom’s dumpster when she cleaned her house out before moving to Florida after dad died in 2016), the colors being a perfect background!

Below is the last photo I took of her, the day I called  my vet and was referred to the Iowa Vet Referral Service on Merle Hay Road (highly recommended by me).

When I look closely into her eyes, I can see me. A week after she was euthanized, I picked up her ashes and on the trip home, I saw a rainbow in the sky!!! It was the Rainbow Bridge without a shadow of a doubt. If you’ve experienced this before, you know what I mean. Believe me, it’s breathtakingly true.

The box for her ashes is beautiful, its’ home in my bedroom is near where she slept.  Her clay paw prints have a special place as well, which I fill with essential oil, vanilla recently, for a nice aromatic reminder of the love of my life Samantha Josephine Botkin. Prrrrrrr.  I’ll never ever forget our time together on this earth! Till we meet again girlfriend. 

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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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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  515-282-7753 or shoot me an email message at vocresources@gmail.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.

Working on a Litigated Case Involving Work & Disability? A Job Analysis Can Help!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are you working on a litigated case involving work and disability? If so, I believe a job analysis can help you and your client, and in many ways!  A job analysis involves the process of gathering and recording objective data about a specific job.  

Image result for data

Capturing what the job is all about helps to evaluate what an employee does, why the work is done, how the work is done, results of the work, the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the work, and the context in which the work fits into the organizational structure.

And, as an analyzing kinda person, I’ll find direct connections to ways of the trade, and possibly record direct comments from incumbents or a worker who knows what’s going on!

JA

A Job Analysis is helpful in many ways. Plus they’re fun to perform!

A complete analysis involves visiting the job site to witness the job being performed and interviewing supervisors and employees  about the accuracy of existing job descriptions. (And that’s a story in itself!) It sure can be an interesting tour and communication experience! 

For me to find out what actually takes place on a pertinent day to day basis (without being there obviously because I have my own job to do), consulting with management and incumbents of the job along with digital video recording (right!), if helpful, allows for a critical analysis of the parameters of performance at a work place, including common physical demands of duties of a job. And trust me, a video can produce some humor too when’s it’s needed  at work! 

Image result for humor job

Once the job analysis describing the critical duties of the job, an evaluation of the work environment is completed, and a report written is prepared and presented, there, hopefully will be a greater understanding of the essential functions of the job. And to each person the job can be functionally different. Right yes, so it just depends on how one goes about doing it!

JA Matrix

This understanding allows me as a vocational expert to make recommendations for reasonable accommodations and to testify to the efforts of the employer to provide reasonable accommodations.

Need help with a litigated case involving disability and work?

I help with plaintiff/claimant and defense cases! I’m not one sided!  Call me, Amy E. Botkin, to discuss your client’s claim.

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