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

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

A Job Analysis Would Help You Win a Prize!

Have you been to the Williamson Pumpkin Paradise? We visited on a beautiful October Sunday afternoon and I was in awe at the creative produce! After wandering around in the fields and looking at plenty a pumpkin looking for a home, we selected one. As I’m writing this, I realized that I really am not knowledgeable about “how to pick the perfect pumpkin”! So, what I’d do, I did the research!  Indeed, pumpkin is a fruit!

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Pumpkin seeds…nutritious and tasty!

I really like the sidebar from the publisher of a pumpkin site, it reads:

“I’ve always thought that we don’t choose pumpkins. They choose us! There is an unwritten magical connection when when you find the perfect pumpkin.”

This is the pumpkin we selected, being one of my favorites, it made it home:

2015-10-26 17.10.27

Even though I am green, you can still carve me into a beautiful Jack O’Lantern!

What’d you think Randy paid for this pumpkin at a cost of .40 per pound?

Pumpkin Head Randy

What do you think it weighs? 10, 15, 25, 35, 40 pounds, what about 50?

Randy was probably not carrying this pumpkin as safely as he could (read: wheel barrows were available.)  I lifted it and carried it in my arms as well for a time while walking through the field, gauging how much I thought it weighed. I was a little too high . . . and I really couldn’t carry it for very long. The load was just not being carried correctly.

Recommendation: Do a job analysis Amy!

2015-10-27 15.25.25This baby was much easier to manually handle!

Guess the correct weight of the green one and you’ll win a prize (a free consultation or maybe something just as valuable!)

Answer to be made available on Halloween! ….. continue to read on about another Randy (yea, not my husband…the KC fan above with the pumpkin head) … who just called me……!

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

 

Lifting at Work……and the Power of an Ant! Need a Job Analysis?

In the past I’ve blogged about when my father managed a Culligan Soft Water branch. I remember watching the workers (like Gary and Big John!) move the 150# water softener tanks from the regeneration area onto the big trucks for the next step which is to drive to their customers’ locations.

Growing up, we (mostly my brother Steven & I) played games on the shop dollies!

I remember watching the workers unload the tanks and bags of salt off the truck, maneuver the tanks onto a dolly, then push or pull the load to the customer’s house. They then donned a heavy strap across their bodies, and carried the tanks down a flight of steps into a basement. I was enthralled with that process!

These work tasks took strength and intelligence in how to best carry and maneuver a large and heavy object. The worker would then take the tanks that needed to go to the shop for regeneration back up the steps. Then the bags of salt would follow, into the home, and be emptied in to the tanks. Then on to the next stop for the route drivers. And they would repeat the process throughout the day.

Nowadays the tanks and the bags of salt are about ½ the weight, which leads me to my topic for this blog – lifting….at work.

I study the topic of lifting at work   Image result for lifting at work

I’m not very big, nor very tall, and I really don’t know how much I can lift safely because all lifts involve time, place, setting and purpose! Yes, being a petite person ~ I’m 5’2″ with small wrists, I’ve learned many different ways to get want I want or need without heed to any physical challenge. I also exercise regularly and if I realize the object to lift is too heavy, I either get help or get smart!

I can improvise to get something off a high shelf (use a yard stick). I can figure out how to move something that weighs twice my weight (eg: a filled bookcase) with the use of furniture sliders). I can break any heavy item apart to make it lighter! Any person can lift objects and loads that are heavy…..using mostly brain power and not any brawn power!

Brain over Brawn!

I’ve been trained how to perform a job analysis prior to preparing a job description. I have reviewed and critiqued many a job description. Here are my educated thoughts about a job description that lists the physical demands [of a job] requiring a worker to lift up to 50 pounds (or any other weight).

When I am helping a job seeker who has a lifting limitation, say of 25 pounds, there are considerations to assess prior to including a job(s) that may call for lifting more than, say 25 pounds.

Did you know ants can lift 20 times their own body weight?

The following considerations are taken into account when assessing whether or not a person can safely lift at work (or anywhere for that matter!):

  • Size and strength of the worker
  • Load – what actually needs to be lifted? and why?
  • The weight of object handled
  • The muscle force applied by the worker to do physical lifting
  • Posture – the postures adopted to lift the object
  • Environment – the workplace, the conditions, for example, slippery floors, walking up steps, restricted space to work in, lighting and the ability to get a good grip on the object.
  • Time – the amount of time that is spent doing the lifting – or the number of repetitions of an action each day.
  • Research and identify what accommodations are in place or could be in place to allow the job to be performed efficiently and safely
  • Workplace layout – the amount of moving of the objects required
  • Equipment – what is available, or could be used, to help move the load?

It’s very important to always take time to specifically address what needs to be moved, where it is to be moved, and why……and then be smart about the lifting process. Think about how any heavy or ackward lifting can be accomplished in a smarter manner.

Think about the load!

Let me know what I can do to help you with returning to work!

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

The Husker, Wag’s, Perkins, Garcia’s and More….on Work Ethic

Okay, in the 1980s Randy worked at a restaurant called The Husker; and later Wag’s when it was located in Merle Hay Mall. Anybody remember these places? He pretty much did whatever needed to be done to help operate the restaurants.

Wag's Restaurants Business CardHere’s a business card I found!

Okay, time went by and because Randy refuses to be my guest blogger, I have to skip his life up to the point I met him! When I met my man in the summer of 1988, he was managing the Perkins Restaurant in Newton, Iowa. He tells me that on the day (night) we met, he was coming off a 24-hour shift because one of the other managers called in sick. 

Yummy!

Randy decided to drive to downtown Des Moines to participate in the bar scene. Low and behold that’s where I was……having started out at SeniOmSed in Nollen Plaza on this beautiful Friday summer afternoon. Now you have to remember those days I hope!

Randy and I met as we were crossing the street…about midnight. We walked together to where our cars were parked next to each other in the downtown library parking lot. I drove a red Plymouth Turismo and Randy a red T Bird!

The building now is home to the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates and is even more beautiful!  The rest is history …. When we married in 1990 Randy was working at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant as a food server.

I miss Garcia’s!

Randy was also finishing up his bachelor’s degree training in teaching at Grand View College. Four months after our wedding, he graduated. And about 16 months prior to that he helped me deliver our first son.

I recall, and who could ever forget, being up all night delivering Nick. He was born at 7:04 AM (weighing in at 9 pounds 4 ounces) on April 12, 1989. Randy and I were absolutely beat (okay me rightly probably a bit more.) But, Randy was doing his practicum student teaching. So off he went to fulfill that obligation.

Come up to today….Randy has been employed by the Des Moines Public Schools as a teacher since that time.  (I will be writing more about that.) You can ask anyone who knows him what his work ethic is like.  He is held in high regard by others. And I will tell you my thoughts:

I admire Randy’s work ethic.  

Randy is willing to go the extra mile, stay the course, be persistent to achieve quality, finding resources when stuck, own problems that arise, and work hard…at whatever task or situation at hand. He is genuine and a gentleman (ohh, gush!!)

REBRandy 1983!

Randy cares about his work and has a good attitude about going to work and helping his co-workers. He has built a solid reputation that carries him far professionally. That said, to me, having a good attitude goes hand in hand with having a good work ethic.

And yes, Randy came back to the hospital room in the afternoon. Before having to take off to go to work at Garcia’s Restaurant for the evening shift. Then back to the hospital again. The staff had kept our congratulatory meal and bottle of wine in the fridge. Baby Nick was whisked off to hang with the nurses while we ate. About 10:30 PM Randy left and Nick and I crashed…!

So again, thank you Randy’s parents for instilling it….and to Randy for having such a strong work ethic! Having a good work ethic can take you a long way in your career….More to come on Randy’s career.

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

 

Can You Make Money? Save Money? Solve Problems? Yes! Then You’re Hired!

I’ve stayed out of town twice recently and can tell in a second if the water I’m showering in or drinking is hard. Hard water feels different (icky) and tastes different (ucky). When the quality of your water is soft, the soap you use in your bathtub, shower, sink, washing machine, dishwasher, and on your skin is incredibly efficient.  Your body, dishes, clothes become much cleaner than if hard water were used. And the taste is so much more crisp, clear and clean and drinkable!

In my mind, soft water is essential

In the past, I’ve blogged about my dad and his career at Culligan Soft Water. Yes, I grew up around soft water, so that may be why I love it so much. And yes, I realize there are benefits of hard water as well (watering houseplants!). That’s beyond the scope of this blog!   However, within the scope of this writing is the fact that….

I am fascinated by people and their work!

I invite you to read a nice short story about Emmett Culligan’s day once long ago when he was not at work.  Sounds like something I would find myself doing (striking up a conversation with a worker…and then getting fascinated about his work….and losing track of what I was doing to begin with!). The maintenance worker came up with a brilliant idea that accomplished the three goals employers look for when hiring:

A person who can help to make money

In this situation, the worker clearly was a valuable team member to keep the hospital filled with patients.

A person who can help to save money 

The worker’s idea saved on supplies, in this example, the use of soap to wash hospital linens.

A person who can help solve problems

 The worker’s idea prevented scaling in the boilers by removing the hardness from the water.

This holds true to this this day. Employers look to hire a person who can help them either make money, save money, and/or solve problems. And Mr. Culligan ended up doing just that….hiring many people who helped him in each of these areas…..leading to a successful business.  One one day in the 1950’s that included my dad! Here’s a funny blog about how to use the office water cooler (according to cats.)

Want to tell a potential employer how you can do these things? More to come on interviewing skills in another post! Stay tuned and I love to share stories about success at work! Leave me a comment with one of yours!

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

 

Chicagoland….My Birthday….and the Riot Fest! What a weekend!

We returned from Chicago early this morning, say like 2AM… and I suppose Randy is a bit tired from driving, basically, since Friday morning when we left our hotel at 6AM for other activities! But I’m sure he’s enjoying teaching today!

We went to Downtown Chicago on Friday and checked out the sites.

I always love to hang out on the beach!

The main reason for our trip was to take Arin and Xavier to the Riot Fest. Riot Fest is a 2 day outdoor music fest in Humboldt Park. Sound fun to you?

 The official drop off/pick spot for the kids

On Saturday, (my birthday!) after picnicking and dropping the kids off in the park, we hung out in a forest preserve, listened to the Cubs on the car’s radio and watched the jets fly into O’Hare.

Then we went to church, hung out again, drank beer, and ate in the hotel room, and drove back to get the kids.  Exciting huh?! And on Sunday after dropping the kids off again at  Humboldt Park, we went to a Chicago Cubs game….and they won!!! Then we picked up the kids and drove home, leaving about 8PM.

 My type of fun!

 My parents are from the Chicago area as I’ve talked about in past blogs. I was born in Libertyville, Illinois. During our trip we witnessed some truly nice people, and yes some rude driving. But that’s all expected. Randy does not like Chicago, but I do.

I think about all the people who work in Chicagoland every day. They get around in many different ways, bike, bus, train, bicycles, scooters, their own vehicles. There are commuters galore!  And I think of all the different jobs, and the different ways of doing so many different jobs.  We’re talking diversity galore, too!

The Bean!

 According to the US Census Bureau, July, 2011, the population of Chicago is 2,707,120. The largest employers are the U.S. Government, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, Cook County, Advocate Health Care – that’s a lot of workers!

The Chicago teachers remain on strike. And with Randy being a Des Moines Public School teacher, he was quite interested in what is going on. The kids would love not being in school!  But all days will need to be made up.

In an upcoming blog I’m going to write about my husband and his work ethic. You’d be impressed!

Thank you for reading! Go Cubbies! (Randy wore a Cincinnati Reds shirt to the game…)  Can you believe it?   HOLY COW! 

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

 


* Vocational Resources Plus, LLC  *   lcpresourcesplus.com *

VocResourcesPlus@msn.com

 

My Dad and His Work. Happy Fathers Day!

When I was growing up my dad, Dick Prochnow, continued his career with Culligan Soft Water that began in 1959 in Northbrook, Illinois.  Here’s the link to my original post on How did I get into Rehab Counseling?

Dad started as a material handler in the plant, doing prepackaging as well as painting work, and supervising a half-dozen workers.  He received a promotion and in 1968, started his work as the branch manager of Culligan in Iowa Falls.

1953 Ad for Culligan Soft Water

My dad was in charge of daily operations at Culligan, when it was located on Main and Railroad, overlooking the Iowa River.  I remember watching dad work in the office one minute and the next he was out working in the plant.

Dad was involved in planning, directing and coordinating the operations of this small business. He formulated policies, planned the use of materials and human resources and made purchasing decisions.  He hired, trained, and yes, fired people.  He made marketing, sales and delivery calls.  He did any work that the workers he hired did, and more. He responded to customer complaints, including those coming in the middle of the night or on weekends that required repairing softening units.

Hey Culligan Man!

Dad hired 7 guys who delivered the softeners and the salt to residential and commercial customers.  He had a full-time secretary and a part-time office worker.  For a time, my brothers (Mike and Steve) worked for him.  I cleaned the bathroom, and sucked on the sugar cubes (not at the same time UGG.)

Sucking on the Sugar Cubes – A Fond Memory

I remember the interesting smells, sights and sounds of water being regenerated. I remember the brine pit – scary.  Being waay down under the ground, it was dark.  The only way in or out was the built in ladder. It smelled strange.  I also remember walking in the plant area, on the grates over the water, around the long lines of water tanks.  The huge trucks were parked inside the plant.  And the big workers, how they could move numerous tanks and 50# bags of salt onto their trucks, and off they went to deliver.

Dad is very skilled!

 And talented!

Dad has many skills and can use a variety of hand tools and power equipment. He’s pretty good with money and figures too.  And he has a way with human relations.  He can smooze the higher ups and bring in the customers.  “I liked the people the best.”  He can go from wearing his blue uniform to a suit and look just as handsome.

Dad worked for Culligan in Iowa Falls until the day they canned him.  As he put it “they left me”.  This was 25 years into his career in Iowa Falls.  I don’t know the details, something with a change in ownership of the company and corporate relations that led to the firing. Jerks.

More to come……because change (along with hard work) is good.

My hat is off to my wonderful and talented and handsome dad!

Happy Father’s Day!

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

Job Analysis – It’s the Job Dummy not the Person!

A job analysis is a process that will identify and determine in detail the particular job functions and activities, interactions within the physical environment, work conditions, requirements for a particular job, expected or desired productivity, vocational qualities, and the relative importance of all these factors combined.

An important concept of a job analysis is that the analysis is conducted of the Job, not the Person.

A job analysis involves collecting data on a job or occupation and making judgments about its relevancy. While data may be collected from incumbents through interviews or questionnaires, the product of the analysis is a description or specifications of the job, again, not a description of the person.

Call me ~ Amy at 515-282-7753 for help with analyzing a job or two! You may be surprised of what you’ll find to help you make decisions on a litigated case involving work and disability.

One of my specialties is forensics…..starting from a goal and moving backwards!

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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.

 

Client or Customer? Both are Equally Valuable!

I consider the job seeker as my client, and the business entity (eg: an employer or a service provider) as the customer. I have  job placement services available for the client. Typically my clients are people who have already worked and are now on a path for new work opportunities.

Matching People With Their World of WorkMatching People With Their World of Work

My philosophy regarding placement is to individualize services to match the job seeker within his or her own world of work. Although we all comprise the working world, we each have our own niche that can be as far and wide or narrow and slim as our talent can go.

I focus in on which job search tools my placement client can use to benefit their own natural style of communication. Being able to describe yourself in a way that answers questions during an interview while showing your personality is valuable.

You have to understand your transferable skills and believe you can apply them in many different settings and situations (and make make $ to boot!). Believe in yourself first, and then build a market profile of yourself. And start the sale!

It’s a matter of expression to picture your skills as valuable, marketable and on sale to the best buyer!

On the other consulting side of my business, I have services available for the customer. One such service is job analysis.  A job analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular functional duties and requirements and the relative importance of them for a given job. An important concept of a job analysis is that the analysis is conducted of the job, not the person.

While job analysis data may be collected from incumbents through interviews or questionnaires, the product of the analysis is a description or specifications of the job, and again, not a description of the person.

A job analysis that includes accommodation options has helped when the client is already an employee (and has an illness or injury leading to questions about ability to do the job) and a decision needs to made whether the best option is to retain or release the employee from permanent employment.

Judgments are made using data collected regarding the job and / or a variety of jobs with similar components. And then I can provide expert testimony based on the data and my opinion of the person’s place within his or her own working world.

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I like customers and clients equally and promise to serve all people to the best of my ability.

Call me, Amy, at 515-282-7753 or email vocresources@gmail.com should you want me to help you with your clients.

 

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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.