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

Rights of the Expert Witness

expert

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

As far as rights, I found this great listing online (website is referred to below), and yes I added the graphics!

I agree with the following essential considerations for taking on the role of expert witness:

  1. I have the right to be paid for my work.  Dream of Getting Paid
  2. I have the right to be prepped in advance of my testimony.
  3. I have the right to ask questions about the case.
  4. I have the right to work for either side, without fear of retribution.
  5. I have the right to change my opinion from previous testimony, as long as my opinion is evolving (based on new information, science and/or experience) rather than revolving (based on which side I’m working for).

Butterfly

6.  I have the right to say “I don’t know”, if in fact, I don’t know. Just because I’m the expert doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I am clearly okay to say “I’m sorry, that’s outside my scope of practice”.

7.  I have the right to solicit objective feedback about my testimony from  the attorney who has called (and of course, they have the right to  decline to give it).

8. I have the right to set limits with counsel about the scope of my testimony.

Stop9.  I have the right to disagree with another expert’s practices or  conclusions, even when I perceive that expert to be: a.) more educated;  b.) more famous; or c.) more experienced.

10.  I have the right to disregard the initial instinct to view opposing counsel’s expert as the enemy, but instead recognize everyone’s role in the process and share pizza and a bottle of wine with that expert after trial is over.

Pizza

 Truly, It’s All Good Work!

I am glad my career is moving forward! I accept responsibility when providing forensic vocational services to be clear, truthful and comprehensive in my evaluation and report products, and in my role as an expert witness.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for nuts and bolts cartoonRebut No Matter What!

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.

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

Here’s a sentence commonly found in reports from the same person that I’ve been asked to rebut. [Keep in mind this line comes after results of testing that 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 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? 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!

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

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

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

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

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

 ___________________

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

Want to Buy Some TIME From Me…an Educator and a Counselor?

You’re a good attorney, and you care about the people you represent. You’re also busy and spend a lot of time on time. In fact, you even buy TIME. And, I’m writing to help you make a more comfortable purchase from me!

MoneyTime

I fully realize attorneys buy TIME

Time – Because you bill by the hour (and so do I), I promise to help you be more productive and, thus, more successful by providing value laden services.

Pinky SwearI promise to always respect your time.

 

Information – Because I totally understand why you HATE looking stupid (and so do I), I will provide accurate information that you want or need.

Pinky SwearI promise to always ensure you have a good reason for working with me.

 

Money – Because saving money and making money are the goals for almost every law firm (and for every consulting firm too), I will effectively use all the resources available to help with your case.

Pinky SwearI promise to be accurate and fair with my billing.

 

Education – Because lawyers always need continuing education (and so do I) to maintain your license, I am available to present to any group that would benefit from learning about work and disability. In addition, as I’m an educator and a counselor, I can help you and your clients in many ways.

Pinky SwearI promise to bring new light to your litigation strategies.

 

Time on HandsHow much TIME would you like to have on your hands…especially when working on a complex case that has to do with work and disability? So there it is!  But wait, there’s more

I, Amy, promise to Always Be True at My Core, Apple Butterflybecause that’s all I have ever had and have ever needed! And I’m willing to share.

Enjoy a piece of quality fruit (preferably on an empty stomach!) and then give me, Amy E. Botkin, a call to discuss your case. 515-282-7753

___________________

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

How to Handle Conflicting Medical Opinions? With a Forensic Approach, of Course!

Upon referral of a vocational case, I review a variety of  medical data (i.e., treating physician reports, FCE’s, IME’s) and/or psychological data (i.e., psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations) found within the file. During a workers’ compensation litigated claim (for that matter, all claims that involve work and disability), it is important to understand the individual’s medical situation based on the data contained in these records.

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

If a file has more than one Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), I can expect the reports to have conflicting opinions. Commonly one physical therapist will recommend the claimant has the physical capacity for light work, while the other 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 say honestly and sincerely  “I Did My Best!”

Assisting the individual (who used to be referred to as the injured worker, the patient, the claimant, 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.

Related image

With 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. 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.

WORK

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

A functional capacity evaluation is actually a term with various definitions, purposes and constructs. A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) evaluates 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 a position of deciding whether he or she is willing to return to work. This is unfortunate.

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?” 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. Recently I attended a continuing education program that helped me understand various approaches to FCE’s and I am rather fascinated with 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 analyze and compare FCEs! Whoa!

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. Does it make sense? I look for descriptors regarding the results of testing in relation to real jobs. Are there concrete and realistic recommendations regarding (strengths and weaknesses) in relation to performing physical demand levels of various work situations? 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!

Thinking Cap

Continuing on with analyzing and comparing FCEs! Whoa! 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.

I try really hard to make sense of most things and situations!  No sense

If I am able to square an FCE in my mind after careful and prolonged study, is it possible the claimant could do the same? That is fortunate!

How does the claimant (not actually a patient at this time in a workers’ compensation case when referred for an FCE by their own attorney; with an additional FCE visit to a different physical therapist by the defense attorney) 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 me to 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 recently 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 (making a medical opinion).

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 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 recommendations. Yet, this type of opportunity is not frequently available (certainly is though with 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 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!

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. 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. (Need a life care plan?) Together my knowledge with those of other experts, contributes to decisions about the economic losses, or damages, for which the person receives compensation.

Give me a call 515-282-7753 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.

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

Are you working on a litigated case involving work and disability? A Job Analysis can help in many ways!  A job analysis involves the process of gathering, evaluating, and recording objective data about a specific job. It evaluates 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.

JA

A Job Analysis is Helpful in Many Ways

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. Consulting with management and incumbents of the job along with digital video recording allows for a critical analysis of the parameters of performance pertaining to physical demands.

Once the job analysis describing the critical duties of the job, an evaluation of the work environment is completed, and a report written and presented, there will be a greater understanding of the essential functions of the job.

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. Call me, Amy E. Botkin, today for a free 15 minute consultation.

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

___________________

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

Don’t Be a Dumb Bunny, Use Your Soft Skills to Your Advantage

I pay close attention to transferable skills when assessing employability, especially those skills we have come to call “soft”. Soft skills refer to interpersonal abilities that enhance an individual’s interactions with others, career prospects and performance on the job.

Soft skills are comprised of personality attributes or habits (no not rabbits >-=], social graces, communication, language style, interpersonal skills, managing others, leadership ability, self-motivation, time management etc., and the rules change depending on the culture of where you work and the people you work with. It’s because soft skills characterize personal relationships with other people.

Image result for rules

Rules Change, Which is a Good Thing!

In contrast, “hard” skills (the ability to perform specific tasks or functions with technical components, like using math or software programs, typing, operating specific machines and tools, driving truck, compiling research, data entry, measuring, calculating and recording; editing and writing, etc.) that tap into left brain functioning where the rules for performance stay the same regardless of where you work

To me, what is most valuable about a soft skill is that it brings value to any job/career. Although soft skills maybe can be “mastered” new situations or people will also test them (and push you to learn more about yourself.)

Mollie
Mollie

Mollie is not a “dumb bunny”. Her intelligence surprises me. And her personality makes her so lovable (rabbits are good office mates, and she lets me know when she is in need of something……apple please!)

Soft Skills Puzzle

Scrambled Words Answer Pattern Clues
nilinbaegt ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ not made of physical substance
hetics ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ rules of behavior
lcpanutu ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ on time
jaequnsesoi ___ ___      ___ ___      ___ ___ ___ ___      ___ ___ ___ “I know not what.”
hdadlveeele ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ cool under pressure
aobitnim ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ a desire to be successful
vmietiepcot ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ able to compete
lixbeefl ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ adaptable

Did you solve them all? 

Soft skills are not as easily measurable as hard skills because they are less tangible. Perhaps the best way for me to measure or assess soft skills is to ask two or three people who have a good understanding of the evaluee’s work performance and personality to subjectively assess the person; then have the person do a self-assessment on the same set of skills; then evaluate how the information from the assessments coincide / match.

You can use Mind tool http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/get-started.htm  to help.

It is also to your advantage to understand which skill set your career relies on to be successful. For example, there are jobs / careers that need:

  • Specific technical/hard skills and little soft skills (where you don’t necessarily have to work well with others). Examples include: physicist, chemist, scientist, production machine operator, assembly line worker, cook, carpenter, electrician, computer programmer, etc…
  • Both hard and soft skills (where you need to use the rules of your learned skills and also depend on cooperating, selling or collaborating with others.) Examples include: accountant, lawyer, teacher, counselor, coach, truck driver, dispatcher, cashier, administrative assistant, etc…
  • Mostly soft skills and little hard skills (where your work is more dependent on “reading” others). Examples include: sales ~ the person needs to know more than the average consumer, but really needs to know how to communicate, persuade and close a deal. Other examples include security officer, food server, host, merchandiser, etc…

I’ll add to the etc… listing of workers as I think of them! : )

Rabbits are Soft and Smart

Be a smart rabbit, use your soft skills to your advantage!

(Source: A national survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from February 10 to March 4, 2014 that included a representative sample of 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.)

In general, soft skills are more important in most business careers than hard skills. Click here for a blog containing a soft skills matrixEmployers like outgoing, friendly, and cooperative employees.  To many employers, this is more important than any other qualification.  In addition, because most employers look for a person who can “break the ice” at the workplace and bring valuable dynamics to their business without causing conflict, soft skills are key to being successful at work.

Image result for smart rabbit

Rabbits have fine-tuned senses that make these small mammals some of nature’s most excellent survivors!

Keep in mind, if you don’t feel you have the soft skills you’d like, they are somewhat teachable. Here’s an idea that will help you to do so http://academy.justjobs.com/improve-your-people-skills-and-emotional-intelligence/

Let me know how I can help. My vocational counseling services are available!

__________________

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

Soft Skills Matrix, Take A Look!

I’ve blogged about Soft Skills  in my writing about Don’t Be a Dumb Bunny; and just wanted to add this soft skills matrix to help.

 

Soft Skill Other words that mean the same Examples when soft skill is used
Manners Politeness, consideration, courtesy Saying thank you, holding doors open for others, asking permission to do things etc.
Ownership of tasks Responsibility, duty, dependability Making sure tasks are done properly, turning up on time for meetings, working in partnership with others and doing your role so they can do theirs etc.
Attendance Turning up, coming in,

Appearing

Arriving on time for meetings and for work. Making sure you keep people informed regarding your attendance or availability.
Motivation Incentive, inspiration, drive, impulse Taking on new challenges, working hard to achieve goals, thinking of new ways to do things.
Professionalism Competent, skillful, dedicated Working to a high standard, being consistent in attitude (not allowing emotions or personalities to influence you)
Work Output Activity, productivity, production Meeting deadlines and standards for work. Producing products to target.
 Conduct in Workplace  Behavior, attitude, maturity Respecting others, not playing games when you should be working etc.
 Timekeeping On time, not late Arriving for work or meetings on time, leaving at the right time.
Verbal Communication Talking, consulting, meeting, discussing  Using the right tone of voice and words when speaking with colleagues, etc.
Organization / Planning Preparation, scheduling, arranging Having all required resources to hand, thinking jobs through, arriving on time, meeting deadlines etc.
Team-Work/Respect Esteem, valuing others, helping others, consideration Working well together on a task, making best use of your skills and the skills of others. Acknowledge the status of others and act accordingly.
 Helping Others Supporting, offering, training Giving up some of your time to support those who are struggling or need help to meet a deadline,
Conscientiousness Careful, meticulous, thorough, hard working Paying attention to detail, accurate work, making sure you do what you are paid to do.
Ability to Ask for Help Admitting own limitations, confidence, courage Asking colleagues to show you how to do something or to help you complete a task on time etc.
Adaptability / Flexibility Compliance, accepting change Taking on new challenges, accepting changes to rules and conditions, staying late to finish urgent tasks etc.

Source: Teaching and Assessing Soft Skills K. Kechagias (ed.), MASS Measuring & Assessing Soft Skills 2011, Lifelong Learning Programme  Table 1 page 82-83 Included in MASS Materials  http://www.mass-project.org/attachments/396_MASS%20wp4%20final%20report%20part-1.pdf    Edited in part 12/4/2014

Ever Had a Real Lemon? Customer Service Has to be Peachy!

Ever had a real lemon of a car? Ever had horrible customer service regarding it? Let me tell you, recently (original blog date May 18, 2015) two guys representing Teen Challenge and their vehicle donation program hauled away my daughter Arin’s first car….a used green VW Jetta.

Jetta
Jetta

Ooohh, that car >:(

Arin had saved her money from working for a long time at her first job at Okoboji Grill as a host and at age 16 bought it with cash. Pretty impressive that girl is, huh! She, with her dad, “found” the car at Farley’s on the East side which we DO NOT recommend….see below for a nasty review.

Yet for the time she drove her first car (what was yours? mine was a blue Maverick), AJ loved her car and driving! Many an adventure until…..the day the Jetta crapped out; she was returning from a day trip to Lake Red Rock. I had to search for her and her friend stranded on the side of a gravel road (imagine what was going through my motherly head)!

Luckily I came across a group of firefighters close to a town who were gathering ‘fill the boot’ donations and upon my plea for help, one kind firefighter  took charge. (Note: I love and appreciate firefighters ~ recently, Des Moines’ Fire Chief sent my husband Randy a card congratulating him on his educator award…very cool!)

I followed the firefighter’s pick up truck, and he found the young stranded motorists…. then the tow truck and the COSTS that ensued. We got the car fixed temporarily in Pleasantville; then more fixing in Des Moines. Arin drove it for another year, and the cost to “fix it” (read: new engine) cost just as much as she originally paid for it (like $6k).

Image result for car engine cartoon

Do the math and gag with me.

Here’s what Randy wrote about it (the auto purchase) nine months ago (~9/14) in a Google business review of Farley’s Wholesale Tires & Autos ~

“Would never do business with this company again.  Bought a used 1999 VW Jetta only to find out that someone had put Radiator Stop Leak in the car.  It did the job on the radiator but it also caused the thermostat housing  and all the other hoses to be so clogged causing the car to overheat and this killed the engine after 1,500 miles.  When I went to Pat Farley to see what he was willing to do he told me that it was a used car and that he would not and was not willing to do anything.  I had to put a new engine in the car, replace numerous hoses and coolant joints and flush the engine 5 times to clean it out and get it back on the road.  Have had numerous problems with the car.  Please beware of this individual and his company they are crooks who do not care about their customers, they are just trying to make a buck.” ~ Randy Botkin

Lemon

Lemon, as in a bad car, or something affected by an unfixable original manufacturing defect.

Anyway, a few weeks ago Arin purchased a new car from name of dealership, a Black Ford Fusion, and being used, hopefully it will not be a lemon like the Jetta. Thank you Teen Challenge for accepting our donation and for helping the youth you serve.

Bye Bye Jetta
Bye Bye Jetta

Jetta LightsBTW, do you have a Jetta 1990-2005 that needs new lights? (Update: sold em on Craig’s List!)

Randy had replaced these headlights (new headlights really make a difference in visibility!), and removed them before the car was towed away. For sale on Craig’s list too!

The point of this blog is about serving your customers well. I will do all I can to take care of my customers and provide quality services! You can expect me to be professional and caring. I am fully knowledgeable of my role and understand my business objectives completely. This combined with my passion for my work and my company’s offerings make it easy to deliver the best service possible. Plus I’ll treat you like a peach!

Peach, as in a particularly admirable or pleasing person or thing.

Please let me know how my consulting services could help on a litigated case involving disability and work. I’d love to help!

___________________

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

Be Sure Your Golf Game and Your Speech Uses Tee Ups Effectively!

Been on the links yet? If not, hopefully very soon! I enjoy golfing and teeing off is my favorite part (not that the ball goes much more than 100 yards or so).

I like when the ball flies high and straight! It makes it much easier to smack the ball into the air if you adjust the tee in the ground just right, not too high or low. [Read: Maximize your efficiency either long distance or not as long depending on the goal.]

Colorful TeesPlace the tee in the ground at the right height!

However, teeing up may not be such a good thing, especially when not on the golf course. Off the course, a tee up is a phrase to transition to introduce your verbal message. It’s often used to soften what’s coming, obscure meaning and, at times, “signal that bad news or … dishonesty” is on the horizon.

Have you noticed that often, those who are known to lie or bend the truth the most are the ones who say “to be perfectly honest” the most? At least that has been true in my personal experience If a person has to announce their honesty before they speak, maybe they aren’t always truthful.

Sure, I’ve used tee-ups and I am very conscientious of it. I catch myself and reiterate in my mind how I feel when I used them. A tee-up can be impolite and can also draw less attention to what you really need to say.  When I hear others use a tee-up phrase it makes me think about how they’re communicating and what may be motivating their behavior or thought.

I Hate To Tell YouI Hate To Tell You, But.

When a tee-up is used to preface a neutral statement, it can potentially appear to make the speaker sound formal, conscientious, or sophisticated. When used before a negative statement, a tee-up can be condescending.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but all in all” they signal a weakness in communication. Whether you mean it or not, tee-ups make a listener shut down. The best way to circumvent that is for the speaker to stop using tee-ups whenever possible.

Other examples of a tee-up phrase are, “To tell you the truth”, “To be perfectly honest”, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but” ,“Believe it or not” ,  and “I hear what you’re saying.”  How about this one, “Don’t take this the wrong way!” What are we really saying when we use this phrases? Not much.

My personal favorite is “without a shadow of a doubt” (I’m not really sure if that’s a tee up but I said it the other day to Randy when we were in some sort of philosophical discussion.)  Get the picture?

Proceed With Caution

Proceed with caution when you hear a tee-up!

There are various reasons for communicating this way. These “tee-ups” are a good way to lie, because it softens the blow a bit by distancing you on an emotional level. The bottom line is when a person uses a tee-up it almost always has to do with emotions. Tee-ups are yellow lights. If you are about to utter one, slow down. Proceed with caution. Think about what you are about to say or write. And put your communication in the right context from the beginning    You may find this related Wall Street Journal article of interest, It’s titled Why Verbal Tee-Ups Like ‘To Be Honest’ Often Signal Insincerity and can be found: online.wsj.com/news/articles/

“But then again”, a tee-up may make it easier to say something difficult or buy a few extra seconds to collect your next thought. “Yet all in all”, they can become communication habits that waste time. The person who you are talking to can get stuck on the tee-up and not listen nearly as well as you had well-intended. If you really have something serious to talk about, it will help to use your body language and tone of voice efficiently.

“Okay, don’t freak out, but” if you are feeling a need to use tee-ups a lot, perhaps you’re saying too many unpleasant things to or about other people. Sometimes, the shiny feather (fletching) on an arrow can distract you from the barb; often, it just makes it hurt more. More likely than not, your message will miss the ultimate target.

Precept Golf BallI use this kind of ball! Precept: Noun: a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought.

If you whiff on the first shot, you can tee-up again, but you have to count the stroke and you’ll need to work harder on your game! Ill think of my precept golf balls next time I use a tee-up (or whiff) and will then try to regulate my behavior or thought. The greatest precept is continual awareness. Do you want to do the same? Or would you rather just go golfing with me?

P.S. Congrats Mark Calcavecchia, winner of our 2015 Principal Charity Classic!

Let me know what I can do to help you in a litigated matter involving work and disability. As far as golf, I really can’t help you there much other than to simply motivate you to have fun and don’t worry about whiffing….we all do it! Don’t get all emotional about it!

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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.

It Was 36 Years Ago…and I Made It Through

On June 15, 1979 I was in a car accident…..and I made it through. Just a remember to myself how important rehabilitation following an injury really is. And a shout out to you my readers to realize rehabilitation is so important for so many people for so many reasons. Thank all rehabilitation counselors!

Read more about it (my accident) here How did I Get into Rehab Counseling? Here’s a Little Story  posted November 21, 2011.

What makes my story even more special to me is that I “ran” into the woman who saved my life last Saturday (June 6, 2015) at the Iowa Falls Boat Club for a memorial service. I was sitting across from her at a banquet table with my sister and two other people. After chatting with the two, I asked the woman directly across the table what her name was. (Silly me.) She knew who I was and after it dawned on me (because my sister told me) I just stopped, thanked God, thanked her, and asked her if I could give her a hug! Which I did.

2015-06-06 14.34.18Thank You Teri

Upon considering all that happened that day, I was 15 and she would’ve only been about 17 or 18. Yet she literally saved my life! She came upon the scene that night and stayed with me until the ambulance arrived, even riding in the ambulance until we arrived at the hospital in town. She didn’t leave me until I was transported to another hospital out of town. From what I hear the medical staff and others involved thought she was a nurse!

Green Gran TorinoI used to despise Gran Torinos…especially green ones, until Randy pointed out the bulk of the front end of the vehicle was another huge part in saving my life.

Oh, and when I was at the Boat Club (learned more of the history of the place), and went on a boat ride on the Scenic City Empress, I took some good shots.

Here’s one of Arthur, our neighbor in Iowa Falls skiing many moons ago.

Arthur Skiing
Arthur Skiing

 

And here’s one of a chair made out of old skis. Pretty cool, huh! 2015-06-06 17.37.14

 

 

The waterfall, (shh, it’s man made)! Janice is the blonde with her hand over her face.

2015-06-06 Waterfall Iowa River

The point of my blog is that life really brings surprises, talent and beauty. Live it to it’s fullest and you won’t be disappointed. Each and every day is a new beginning. I know what it’s like to almost lose your life.

Use What You Got! If you click here you’ll read a 2011 article about me from the Des Moines Register (and see another picture of the Iowa River.)

Okay, in closing, I’ve got to add a bit more. Yesterday, Randy and I and Bella were out and about, and on the way home were traveling in my car on Broadway. We turned around when we saw the crossing gates lowering and the red signal lights start to flash. But just a couple seconds or so after, they stopped, so we turned around again to prepare to cross the railroad tracks. But the crossing gates and red lights began again. Seeing no train, huh? But we stopped and waited for the gates to raise (some fool of a driver drove around us and around the gates over the multiple crossings.) It was quite apparent the gates were malfunctioning. Ever 60 seconds or so. So I did my civic duty and noticing the UP’s sign, called the 800 number and reported the issue to a nice railroad worker out of Omaha. I don’t know, but I’m thinking this has some irony to it…maybe a closure of sorts for me. I do not care for railroad tracks when there’s a training approaching…..gives me the chills. But I did my part to help.

So, in closing of this blog, I stray from my loving attitude and will end this post as such:

Rock Island Flip Off

You can find this train car in Hampton, Iowa and flip it off if you’d like…for me!

(BTW, my lawsuit against Rock Island Railroad was a failure……perhaps we chose the wrong attorney, perhaps the timing was bad as the railroad went bankrupt, perhaps we should’ve settled, or perhaps the jury simply wasn’t given or didn’t understand all the information….there were no cross bucks….the train had parked for the night until the conductor or whoever realized the few box cars [no caboose back then either] were covering the tracks….that’s why the train moved, dragging that green car with me implanted on one of the bolts of the box car…..)

Let me know how I can help with your cases. (I actually worked on many workers’ compensation railroad cases in the earlier years of my career.) I will do all I can to help you represent your client.

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