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 of Dodge Family Book Cover

The Book Cover, authored by John Thompson Dodge Ph.D.

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 Book Cover Tree

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

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! For this blog post, I focus on colleges the Dodge family graduated from; and occupations employed by the Dodge family throughout the generations.

Relatives of the Dodge family graduated from the following colleges:  Harvard, Williams, Yale, Middleburg, Dartmouth, Colby, Vermont, Wisconsin, Amherst, Bowdoin, Brown, Columbia, Anion, Andover and Emory. Graduates included a few Dodge women!

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School Picture

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School

Relatives of the Dodge family held occupations of:  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 period, wouldn’t you agree?!

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 looked up 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).

In the past for my job, 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 to analyze the job, I could interview with a person who actually does the heavy work to get first hand information!

Heart

I love assessing  worker skills, researching workplace environments, analyzing jobs, and interviewing workers!

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!)

A Clothier

A clothier was popular, yes dapper indeed!

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 and write their story!

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 skills related to 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 I don’t as a self employed individual).

Bonus blog: Why Do You Do Your Work? You May Be In Love!

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.  My specialty is consulting on cases involving work. Thank you for reading!

Vocational Resources Plus LLC        515-778-0634    amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com 

___________________

 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 Beam

Dad 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.

Highway Balance

Richard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

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.

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 it was him on the other end!] 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 writing this, 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 Water

I 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 515-778-0634 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.

Conflicting Medical Opinions? Handle With Care!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Upon referral of a vocational case, I review a variety of  medical data (for example: treating physician reports, Functional Capacity Evaluations, Independent Medical Evaluations) and/or psychological data (for example: psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations) found within the file.

During a workers’ compensation litigated claim, or on any claim that involves work and disability, it’s important for me to understand the individual’s medical situation based on the data contained in these records.

Related image

Good thing I’ve had medical records training and enjoy the review!

If a file contains more than one FCE and/or IME, I can expect the reports to have conflicting opinions. For example, one physical therapist will recommend the claimant has the physical capacity for light work, while the other physical therapist says medium work. Often the therapists also have conflicting information about the individual’s maximal (or lack of) effort put forth during the evaluation.I Did My Best

The claimant needs to honestly and sincerely say “I Did My Best!”

Assisting the individual (who can be referred to as the injured worker, the claimant, the patient, the testee, the evaluee, and potentially the client)  in returning to work following an injury is a central role in my specialty of placement. This involves finding the best occupational match within the individual’s own labor market. A person’s “doctor imposed restrictions based on an FCE” should not direct the provision of placement services. A person’s knowledge, skills, interests and abilities should!

Image result for opinionWith conflicting opinions from professionals, what data should I rely upon to perform a beneficial service?

To resolve discrepancies I first ask myself, why is an FCE being used for this specific claim? The utility of this type of scientifically based evaluation, the training sources, performance methods, test protocols and standards to measure them are numerous.

Conflicting options are influenced by components of context and can be derived from subjective views. 

Professionals may have opposing views for their own reasons but I must be able to articulate their reports into vocationally-relevant terminology and tell a story about meaningful and gainful work. And it can be challenging to do this if I don’t understand the conclusion of the FCE report to begin with!

WORK

I love reading medical data rich in detail about a person’s world of functioning!  And I love writing reports rich with detail about a person’s world of work! 

A functional capacity evaluation is actually a term with various definitions, purposes and constructs. The purpose is to  evaluate an individual’s capacity to perform work activities related to his or her participation in employment. It seems that in essence, by having a functional capacity evaluation a person is likely to be put in an unfortunate position of deciding whether he or she is willing to return to work. 

If willing, there’s a way. If not, there’s no way.

From what I know, there are approximately 10 different types of commonly used functional capacity evaluations. Here in Iowa, I am most familiar with FCEs with names like the Isernhagen Work System, the Blankenship, Matheson, WorkWell and X-RTS. The reliability or validity of any system is somewhat irrelevant to me because the testing is already entered into “evidence”. What is relevant to me is whether or not I comprehend the results and recommendations contained within the evaluation. Sometimes I can, sometimes I cannot. I always use a “Does This Make Sense to Me? test!

Image result for conflictingIt’s up to the dualing physical therapists to make their best points during litigation, I’m not in that ring!

I feel fortunate of connections with several physical therapists allowing insight into their clinical practice. I attend continuing education programs, and recall one that helped me understand various approaches to FCE’s specifically the X-RTS Lever Arm.

Thinking Cap

The X-RTS Lever Arm passes my make sense test!

So within the context of my vocational consulting work while cautiously putting any judgment aside (which seems hard when I know I know certain things), I analyze and compare each FCE while considering the testing results.

I note whether the FCE report is readable and user friendly. I assess if I understand terminology and methods used, how long testing was administered, what actually was administered, the claimant’s behavior during the test, and how the evaluator came to his or her conclusions about the results. Does the conclusion make sense?

Are there concrete and realistic recommendations regarding strengths and weaknesses in relation to performing physical demand levels of various work situations? In other words, are there recommendations regarding real jobs found within the person’s labor market? Do the recommendations make sense?

I definitely look for the goals and expectations for the evaluation, and whether maximum and consistent effort was made by the evaluee. Comments on the suitability of the testee’s future employment options along with the evaluator’s observations are valuable and should be included.

It’s important to note what body part/extremity the therapist focuses on in relation to what body part/extremity was injured. For example in one report, the therapist discussed lower extremity activities, when in fact it was an upper extremity injury. If the report cites examples or uses too many percentages, it’s important to understand how the therapist justifies examples. I’m familiar with a therapist who changes the percentages of the same examples from report to report. That doesn’t make sense to me.

No sense

I try really hard to make sense of most things and situations!  

If I am able to square an FCE in my mind after careful and prolonged study, is it possible the evaluee could do the same? That  would be  fortunate, especially if the therapist offers good recommendations that make sense!

How does the evaluee, when not truly the therapists’  patient when referred for an FCE by their own work comp attorney; with an additional FCE visit to a different physical therapist by the defense attorney  (that makes 2 different reports prepared by 2 different therapists) perceive discrepancies in the results? Sadly, in my eyes the FCE often gets “interpreted” through an attorney. The repeated pattern of thinking of one’s functional capacity as “poor” does not help anyone return to work.

If there is an IME (Independent Medical Exam), it may seem more geared towards one of the FCEs. Regardless, I try to comprehend all reports, noting the one I understand the most. I’m not so sure that an IME is really a “fresh set of eyes” in the workers’ compensation cases I’ve worked on. This topic is another blog in itself.

Putting both, or multiple opinions in a vocational report and making use of other documentation to support my ultimate and final opinion is a great idea, however I have to be cautious to not put myself in a role that isn’t mine (which is making a medical opinion which I can’t do).

If I am able to provide a doctor (ideally the most recent treating occupational health or rehabilitation doctor) detailed information directly related to a specific occupation or line of work and any resources that could help the doctor understand how such work is performed in a smart, safe and effective manner, many benefits arise.

Related image

Clean your lenses!

There’s a clearer understanding of the vocational rehabilitation process and with agreement from all involved, there’s a higher likelihood one could see a successful common outcome (return to work). This certainly helps solidify my vocational opinion and make reasonable recommendations. Yet, this type of opportunity is not frequently available (it is for me to though through processing a life care plan!). Please know I always search for a way to best express my vocational opinion.

In my reports, I document what medical records I’ve reviewed and then use the actual words from the individual during an interview (or deposition review) describing how s/he details their physical impairment.  Often I hear verbatim what one doctor wrote in their restrictions. The evaluee will respond to my open questioning about any physical limitations (sometimes after the evaluee refers to his/her doctor’s letter) and read or have it memorized saying: “no lifting over 20 pounds, avoid twisting, bending, stooping, sit and stand as needed.”  No sense

What do those words really mean in real life? The individual doesn’t seem to know either. Ask an employer if they have a job that involves no lifting over 20 pounds, no twisting, no bending, no stooping, no this, no that…and that’s not talking their language!

The evaluee who responds to me in this fashion (using verbatim restrictive words) needs future vocational counseling. Vocational counseling (which may or may not be provided depending on the nature of the litigation) helps to gain a clearer understanding of how the person’s medical situation has changed their daily living (especially in the context of their own world of work). This understanding leads to the ability to articulate the individual’s capacity for success to others (family, friends, job interviewers, etc.).

Please keep in mind, the term “restriction” is not conducive to a successful job search. The ability to explain who you are and what you can do from a functional perspective to help a business make or save money is what is conducive to a successful job search. Restrictions should never be the focus of job placement. Skills are!

Rehabilitation counseling is especially important if the individual is searching for a job, requiring job seeking skills training on how to or (how not to) disclose disability or any functional limitation. The personal attributes gained from training helps the placement process move forward with common goals avoiding getting stuck within a few words that don’t apply to working reality.

WORKWhile staying true to my convictions and firm beliefs that a person can work if the person wants to work and has the capacity to work, I need to understand the dichotomy between science and clinical practice is more imagined than real.

If healthcare professionals submit conflicting reports on the same individual, I need to be able to resolve inconsistencies to better understand and appreciate the opinions offered. It is not my role to determine which opinion is correct. It is my role to utilize available information, provide a beneficial service, and make a sound vocational opinion regarding the individual’s strengths and weakness in relation to work capacity and employability.

Matching People With Their World of WorkIt’s rewarding when I can clarify a person’s sense of their own world of work.

I strive to extend the value of FCEs in the litigation process. I am trained not only in understanding a client’s functional abilities at work, but at home and at leisure.  Together, my knowledge with those of other experts, contributes to decisions about the economic losses, or damages, for which the person receives compensation.

Thank you for reading this long post! I’m here to help attorneys like you help your client. Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  and let me get to work for you!

___________________

 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

Image result for meow

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 proves 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, Amy Botkin (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 * 515-778-0634  * amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

___________________

 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

I’d like to share a beautiful bouquet of gerbera daisy with you, my Attorney Reader:
With these flowers, I remind myself of how valuable you are to me as my client and how I am specially equipped to serve you as your consultant. Thank you for taking some of your valuable time to look around my website. 

On this site, I share information about my work background, including 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”.

My job in the shop involved duties to clean up the backroom, the upstairs storage spaces, the walk in cooler, and any other area that needed it, along with the best part of my job, which 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. 

Image result for gerbera

My very favorite flower to process is the gerbera daisy!  They are great for adding color to any room or garden, with flowers that often measure 7 inches across!

Image result for gerbera flower

Why You Ask?

Do you want to ask me, so Amy, why is the gerbera daisy your favorite? My answer is: Because of the ease of cutting the stem! But the cut has to be just right for the bloom to last as long as possible! It’s not just about cutting the stem, it’s about thinking about the care involved in cutting the stem!

On-the-job, I was taught how to unwrap the shipment of assorted flowers that arrived, prepare a liquid solution, cut the stems and place them in the solution, then store them in the best place in the large walk-in cooler. When an order from a designer came through, it was again my job to bring the specific flowers out from the cooler and cut the stems perfectly before re-placement back in the cooler, marking the order, and just in time, as required for best results!

I used a really big stem chopper a lot. It looked like this: 

Image result for stem cutterWatch the fingies, Amy!  No, I never got injured!

I really enjoyed this part-time job because I was working with live beauty, and I was continuing to follow my passion. You see, growing up in the 70’s, I  was a member of a garden club. I excelled in flower arranging, even entering fair contests and winning ribbons!  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?

My job as as a flower arranger was short lived because my consulting business started getting busy and I could no longer take calls in the bathroom without feeling guilty. 

It was at this time in my life (by the way, the week before Valentine’s Day is very hectic at a flower shop…chop chop chop!), that I decided the only job I wanted to focus on was my own job as a consultant, which lead me to make a change for the better!  

In a nutshell, the decision was made to only have one boss from now on! And that’d be me. 

My plan for 2020 is to to continue to utilize my website for the purposes it was intended when I started it in the Spring of 2011, which is to write and share my talents!

Could your plan for 2020 include contacting me to help you help your client who is involved in litigation involving work?  You see I can also help you with a self employed client, because I understand what it takes to run a small business. 

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 to use my creative resources.  You’ll find I truly care about my work.

To discuss your case and how I can help, give me a call 515-282-7753 or email amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   Thank you for reading and maybe you could take some time today to stop by your nearest flower shop and splurge!!

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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.

 

Happy New Year! Do You Know Where This Sculpture is?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A few years back, I took this photo while hanging out downtown on a Sunday morning after Mass. I’ve always been fascinated with this bronze sculpture that revolves like a globe! To find out more about it, I did a little research to share with you:

Sphere Within a Sphere

“Sphere Within a Sphere” by Amaldo Pomodoro, 1999

The sculpture “Sphere Within a Sphere” (Sfera con sfera) was placed in 1999, the same year my business, “Vocational Resources Plus, LLC” was born. The sculpture is intended as a metaphor for the coming of new and a promise.

If you didn’t watch New York City’s time ball drop on t.v. because you fell asleep or if you didn’t watch it at all because you had other interests in mind, enjoy this blog as my gift!

Do you know where the Sphere is located and yes, it’s in Des Moines, Iowa, but do you know where it specifically resides? Just fyi: another “Sphere Within a Sphere” by this same Italian artist can be found in the Vatican; and he has another sculpture like it in New York City, too.

But wait! Stay here in town with me, and let me know, did you get my question correct? The sculpture above is located at the American Enterprise Art Park 601 6th Avenue and Watson Powell Jr. Way in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Here’s my daughter in the East Village…DSM not NYC!

Enjoy our beautiful city’s artwork! Here’s a link where you can learn more about our city’s public art Des Moines Public Art Foundation

Cheers to your legal work and to our New Year!Champagne GlassesI can only handle one glass of bubbly, if that!

I’m not sure where I found this, but it rings true ~ Visual art is the expression of an emotion in a particular language—words, sculpture, paintings, photographs, ceramics—so that we come to understood the emotion better.

Enjoy art and embrace how your emotions can shape your new year!  Btw, did you know of the plans for steel art work on the 6th Avenue bridge over the Des Moines River on our city’s North side? Looks very cool to me!

Enjoy, embrace, and reminisce about this past year. And after that, I hope you make time to think about me and how I can help you help your client on a case involving work and disability!   

I look forward to hearing from you this year!

Give give me a call at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com to start our discussion about your case.

___________________

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

 

Hello Attorney, I’m Here to Help Your Client With Shoulder Injury!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

At the beginning of the year 2017, my left rotator cuff was injured during a combination of physical activity, but I’m not sure how it happened.  Being the type of person who always wants to, no, needs to have answers!, I just had to go with the fact that I hurt!

It took a long time for my shoulder to heal and during that time, my physical and mental capacity were diminished. So in that way, I can empathize with what a person with a shoulder injury experiences. 

The first six months are critical to any injured body part that wants to heal. Proper care, nutrition, stretching, exercise and relaxation are essential components of rehabilitation.  A “don’t give up attitude” is too. I can relate to the limited movement, the pain, and the frustration from my rotator cuff injury!

Nice Biceps!

What’s good is that my shoulder (arms and entire core for that matter!) are much stronger than before because, well simply put, I care about my shoulders and exercise with purpose so they can work hard for me! 

I was offline for maintenance, but I came back stronger than ever!

Remind your clients of the fact that they’re your only shoulders, and if there’s injury, encourage them to do everything possible allowing the healing process to do the work.  If you want a vocational rehabilitation consultant on your side, contact me! If you have a lawsuit that needs to draw attention to the costs of the injury, contact me!

Practicing yoga, or focused stretching and faithfully paying attention to what your body is saying is incredibly valuable during any healing process. If an injury becomes chronic and a decision to perform surgery is made, physical rehabilitation is paramount. 

Rehabilitation also includes body and mind. Speaking of mind, I am grateful to hear of the change in the Iowa workers’ compensation law to provide workers who have a serious shoulder injury and can no longer return to their existing job with vocational rehabilitation benefits.

After July 1, 2017, if in the workers’ compensation system for a shoulder injury, the individual may receive career vocational training at a local community college…and we have good ones here in Iowa!  The employer or the employer’s insurer is required to pay financial support for participation in the program up to $15,000 for tuition, fees, and required supplies. I have plenty of experience helping Veterans return to school and commence with a new career when I had a contract with the VA to provide vocational rehabilitation services.

Also in January 2017,  I worked with a vocational rehabilitation client, Gerald. He had a serious rotator cuff injury with multiple shoulder surgeries and wasn’t expected to be able to return to his job as a roofer. I met with him and performed a vocational evaluation. He expressed interest in work as a heavy machine operator, so upon research and contact with local resources, I prepared an in-depth report to support our findings to help him move into a new career. Please let me know if you have a need on a case involving a shoulder injury as this information is fresh!

Gerald the Cat…Studious, Quick, Very Orange & Very Cool!

In 2018, I was assigned two interesting shoulder injury cases (one involved a dentist, the other a truck trailer unloader/consolidator) and I learned a lot about  surgical options, costs of care and vocational outcomes. I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned if it’d benefit your client!

Please let me know if you have a need for a vocational expert like me to help you help your client.  Just FYI: a few years back, my sister Julie experienced a bad elbow injury when she tripped and fell at work, which required elbow replacement surgery. I learned about elbow procedures and rehabilitation while helping her!

Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon! BTW, I enjoy using cool cats to support my work!  Contact me at 515-778-0634 to discuss your case, or email me at   amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and let me know the best time to contact you!

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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.

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the years, I’ve received many a rose and enjoy taking pictures of my favorites.  My plan was to find 20 single rose pictures to celebrate the beginning of 20 years in business, which officially is September of 2019, but it became too much work to go through so many photos!

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

Stop and Smell the Roses!

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

Tiny Orange Rose
Orange Rose
Beautiful Rose yes

 

 

Ohhhhh!    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

I’ve named this beauty Ghost Rose!

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

 

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.

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?  Heck, 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 (especially if it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you!).

Contact me at 515-778-0634 to discuss your case and how I can help!

 ___________________

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