Get Level During the Divorce Process…With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

Are you an attorney who works with divorcing couples? Have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client?  Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity offers valuable information regarding marital assets. 

My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers vocational consulting services, in particular an earning capacity evaluation, which will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways. 

Let’s Get Level

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help! As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career picI report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation will provide recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment. Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when we’re talking about talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Postit marriageI can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 10 years!

There were inaccuracies and factual errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher) that made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!) The opposing expert did not make sense! You simply don’t start out (with an outdated bachelor degree, no license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience) at $50k!! Not reality!

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.Earnings $

Knowing your earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of your divorce.

Please contact me to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings.

Do it before a different report says otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753. If I don’t answer, please leave a message!

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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 to Retain an Expert? I’m Here to Help!

As a forensic rehabilitation consultant, I could be available as your next retained expert! I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client! Unique consulting services help identify insights into your litigated case while first-hand testimony helps others to understand it.  In fact, listing me as an expert may spark some much needed movement in the litigation process.  rp_Professional-Expert-Witness1.jpg

And, the sooner the better! When you involve an expert like me on certain cases early in the process, you’ll be in a good position knowing you have a professional on hand for the duration of your case.

My companies Vocational Resources Plus LLC and Life Care Planning Resources Plus LLC lovingly co-exist. I’ll celebrate the beginning of 19 years in private practice on September 15, 2017 (and they say it’s my birthday too, yeah)! Although I’ve been in the field of vocational rehabilitation from the start….that’d be 1999, forensic rehabilitation and life care planning are both new specialties!

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In celebratory style, I’m reaching out to attorneys who are passionate about helping clients.

Here on this website you’ll find various links to my writings about serving in various capacities within my field, such as my focus on life care planning (with a vocational rehabilitation component), vocational consulting, placement, and serving as an expert witness.  I like to blog about why my work is important and to help people identify how to use my services. Further, it’s fun to write and I like to showcase my credibility, methodology and expertise. (Read my disclaimer!)

LightbulbWant to help your clients even more? Consider tapping into my creative resources!

My analysis and opinion of how I can help your case will be straightforward, honest and grounded in rehabilitation. As such, this may or may not support your case. I can usually determine whether or not I can help your case within the first few hours of research, and will limit such fees based on our agreement.

Please keep in mind that permission to use my name, or in any way indicate that I am an expert witness or consultant for your side of a case, either informally or formally with other parties, is not granted until a retainer is secured. Contact me for information on retaining me!

FootballIf I have to pass on a case, I’ll do what I can to offer recommendations.

So, give me a call at at 515-282-7753 and let’s have a conversation. I promise to value your time!

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

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

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

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

Genealogy Book Cover Tree

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

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

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

Vilas married Laura Dannel on February 21, 1871. Vilas and Laura had children born in Kemper, Illinois: Mary born in 1871, infant son born and died in 1872, George Dannell (my mother’s grandfather) born July 21, 1876, Ann Charlott born 1978, Fred Leroy (my mom’s Uncle Fred) born 1881 and Harriet (my mom’s Aunt Hattie) born 1886.

Genealogy of Dodge Family Book CoverThe Book Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School Picture

Austin Hall, Harvard Law School

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

Do for A Living

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

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

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

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

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

A Clothier

A Clothier Was Popular…Dapper Indeed!

I am completely fascinated by what people do for a living! If I can help you with your litigated cases, please let me know. Thank you for reading.

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!)

Bonus: Do You Love Your Work? Why?

Contact me, Amy (Prochnow) Botkin for vocational guidance or evidence on any occupation or career!  BTW, I don’t believe there were many forensic rehabilitation counselors back in the day…..which always brings to my mind the mystery of the working world.

Vocational Resources Plus LLC        515-282-7753 VocResources@gmail.com

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

 

How My Past has Brought Me to The Present – as a Rehab Counselor! Part 4

My story leading up to my career as a rehabilitation counselor who focuses on job placement continues!

Many of my first jobs in the big city of Des Moines, Iowa were secured through temporary staffing agencies.  I find the benefit of staffing agencies invaluable! From a personal perspective, working for a staffing agency really helped me to develop my career. Here’s a link to an article of the benefits of staffing agencies from a business point of view.

The View Wasn’t Quite Like This When I Started as  Kelly Girl!

Specifically, at this time in my life in 1984-85, I started employment through Kelly Services.  I worked at many businesses, mostly in downtown Des Moines, but also at businesses in other areas of the city for about a year. I worked around a variety of people, and in diverse environments. It was great!

The clerical skills I used (and greatly enhanced on the job) to help these companies included ~ 95 words per minute typing speed, (can’t quite reach that speed anymore!), reception responsibilities such as greeting clientele, answering phones, taking messages, filing, and other general secretarial office procedures. Again, it was great!

To name a few of my assignments from memory (come on little computer in thy brain):  American Can, The Embassy Club, Chamberlin Kirke-Van Orsdel, Sears Credit Card, Younkers Department Store (in the Marketing Department). Besides the tragedy, this is another reason why I shed a tear over the Younkers fire in March 2014…

Image result for many jobs I loved my temporary clerical jobs!

While working for Kelly Services as a temp during the day, I also worked part-time at the Target Café on the weekends (when the Target was on Fleur Drive).  I catered to all the hungry shopper’s food needs.  I made pizzas, pretzels, popcorn, nachos, sandwiches, chicken tenders, fries, and the rest of the snack bar options.  It was a nice job to have. And I never left hungry! At that time, I also lived right across Fleur in an apartment with my sister Janice, so I just walked to and from work!

Additionally during this time period in my life, in the evening I worked on the top floor of the Federal Building for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  (I remember watching the construction of The Plaza across 3rd Street…which was completed in November of 1985) After receiving on-the-job training, I called farmers and asked specific questions about crops and livestock, while entering codes and farmer responses into the computer. It was an interesting job to have! Data entry was valuable, as was good communication skills.

I’ll never forget one farmer, who upon listening to my introduction replied “I’m sleeping.”  I appreciated his ability to sleep and talk….and respected his underlying wishes (and politely wished him good night – it was like 8:00pm, and hung up…farmers=hard-workers.)  Because of my direct experience with telemarketing in a call center environment, I have insight into the nature of work as a telemarketer and its business value.  In other words, it’s a viable occupation and the person on the other end simply has job to do.  Please respect that.

Work as a telemarketer requires excellent communication skills

In 1986, I applied and was hired at Mercy Medical Center as a correspondence clerk.  The medical records clerk job description is very important to healthcare. Click here for a job description for medical records clerk.  Commonly a medical records clerk needs an associate level college degree.

I was hired at Mercy because of my nursing background, my knowledge of medical terminology and the courses I completed in anatomy and physiology, as well as my clerical abilities.  At this job, I worked days (the medical records department was a 24/7 operation). Each day, the phones were incessant with callers wanting medical records and the incoming mail filled with correspondence from patients, doctors and other medical facilities requesting records.  Oh, and the back log – stacked to the ceiling in my supervisor’s office…

My work as a correspondence clerk was a lot!  After opening the mail, I logged everything in.  Then, I had to locate the medical record file.  The storage area containing medical records was vast as was the sheer size of some of the files.  There was a lot of paperwork, nursing notes, testing results, surgical records…on and on and on.  At times the record was on microfiche, which required visiting the basement to locate boxes near the (aahhhh) morgue.

After locating and retrieving the file (which involved accuracy and a check and balance process), the contents of the file were reviewed, the information that was requested was clipped and copied.

Image result for copy machine cartoon To this day a bit of animosity to large copy machines remains within. 

Then the requested information was prepared, a cover letter attached, and mailed, faxed, or delivered via internal mail procedures.  Again, a lot of documentation of what was done and to who, oh and how much was charged.

One day, I learned about the availability of civil service tests to work for the government.  So, I took a test or two or three, did well, and applied with the State of Iowa.  I was hired as a Clerk Typist III-IV for the State of Iowa at the Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDSB) in the Department of Education.

At that time DDSB was located in the Jessie Parker Building, 510 East 12th Street, Des Moines.  I have lots of good memories, met many friends  (I love you Chele Ridout!), and learned a lot about work and disability.

As I blog through time and space both forward and backward, I have no idea how many parts this story will go!  I hope you enjoy it.  Please provide me with feedback or comments.  I love to learn about what people do with their skills and abilities!

More to come, please stay tuned for Part 5.

Initial publication date: December 12, 2011

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

Why I Got Into Rehab Counseling….I Love Placement and Life, Too! – Part 3

HERE IS MY STORY, continued oN – Part 3

To understand my passion for job placement (and caring for others!), I’ve blogged about my former jobs and learning experiences.  This helps me (but I do feel kinda old going waaaayy back in time) look at a variety of occupations from a unique advantage.  Thank you for reading….and continue on!

In June of 1983, I enrolled at North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City, Iowa  and took practical nursing coursework.   Here is a list of the coursework along with the everyday tasks in a Licensed Practical Nurse Career.

NIACC, known at times as Tinker Toy College!

While at NIACC, I lived in the dorms. Yes, many interesting stories in my memory bank! I recently visited campus and my room looks exactly the same (read outdated)!  It was cool to walk around the campus and relive some memories : ) .  The dorms are on one side with a path across a lake (read waaaayy  COLD in the winter) leading on to the classroom buildings.  When not taking campus courses, we were doing practicums at the hospital or at a nursing facility.

The hospital training was at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa.  Keep in mind it’s a bit of a driving trek from the NIACC side of Mason to the hospital. I remember one extra cold morning (aren’t they all!).  I went out to the parking lot carefully, it’s dark, windy, icey and cold. Brrr. There’s my little blue car (a Plymouth Champ – fondly called Chump). The Chump was frozen solid in the dorm parking lot. Originally Chump was my mom‘s car, and I eventually acquired her and drove many a trip back and forth from Iowa Falls to Mason City, mostly on Highway 65.

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The Chump, she had a 5 speed stick shift and a sun/moon roof!

I had to go back into the dorms and locate help! Hey, don’t forgot how butt cold I would’ve been, and am right now just thinking about the cold. BTW, I have Raynaud’s syndrome, probably related to this day!?! No, there have been many many times growing up in Northern Iowa for a young lady to freeze her arss off!

I found help from a maintenance worker to unfreeze the locks, and ultimately I ended up going through the hatchback of the care (not the first time this would happen in my lifetime!)  I was wearing my light weight nursing uniform (coat too of course) and it wouldn’t been either a dress or top with linen pants). BTW: The average temperature in Mason City (population 28,000) is like 15°F in January! I’m pretty sure I had a fellow nursing student with me and we made it to the hospital for our clinical practicum on time which was 6:30 AM, or close to it! Our class had two males in it; and I’m curious what they’re up to so many years later.

Another update from Amy and hey, this is a great result from my decision to revise/repost some older writing material!  FYI: Mason City, Iowa, boasts the largest collection of Prairie School architecture outside Chicago.  A local non-profit organization, Wright on the Park, Inc. has information for me to share with you! I love architecture. Her’s an idea leading me to plan another trip to Mason in the future!

As an LPN student I wore a little white hat!

Another portion of the LPN clinical practicum was work at a nursing home (yes in Mason City….can’t recall the name of it at this point in time).  I recall caring for a man deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease.  When his wife came to visit, their interactions were …. well it’s hard to find the right words.

But it’s something I will not forget, as were many other experiences in the hospital and in the nursing home during my nurse training days.

Image result for nurse training cartoonI’ve always had a strong desire to care for all life!

Back to my nurse training days. During my clinicals, I learned the importance of being aware of other’s reactions and understanding why they react the way the do (Social Perceptiveness).

Nursing requires talking to others to effectively convey information (Speaking Skills), actively looking for ways to help people (Service Orientation), knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services including needs assessment techniques, quality service standards, alternative delivery systems, and customer satisfaction evaluation techniques (Customer and Personal Service Skills).

Nursing definitely requires the ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem (Problem Sensitivity) and using logic and analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches (Critical Thinking).

Image result for valueI value my nurse training immensely!

And of course, I also value my nursing career that followed! : )

Please note that Our country has a critical nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for health care grows.  This four page document titled Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact  was last updated: March 16, 2015 reveals many facts.

The value of positive clinical learning experiences is invaluable if we as a society want to attract, and retain good nursing students.  Click here for a article to reinforce the statement I just made. And we need to support our students and existing nurses. Here’s a link for information on the importance of nurse mentoring.

Image result for nurse cartoonI admire and respect nurses considerably.  

When hospitalized myself a few years ago in the summer at Iowa Lutheran Hospital from a severe reaction to poison ivy I paid a lot of attention to the staff. I was sent by ambulance from my doctor’s office to the ER, where I was treated and watched for a few hours, to be released home.  …Only to have to return hours later to the ER after calling out in the middle of the night [to my husband] that I really needed help!

I was full of poison from inhalation of smoke from burning logs / sticks in a firepit out at Cottonwood (Saylorville Lake). The sticks (I collected the sticks from my own back yard……..and made the fire) had the nasty nasty resin that I’m highly allergic to. I was an inpatient for about a week recovering from severe allergic contact dermatitis. And I made sure to give thanks and praise for such good nursing care.

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Be sure you do the same when you encounter a nurse!

Again, back to my nurse training days. I remember my initial CPR training with the full size dummy’s (Annie)! And I’ve received training ever since (oops Amy, update 12/16/2015: I need to recertify in First Aid, CPR and AED and I know my instructor training certificate has expired.)

Some training for you:  : ) Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure which is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest. The source for your training is through wikipedia : )

Anyway, I have been trained through the American Heart Association and through the American Red Cross.  In later days I would become more involved in both these agencies through the progression of my career. Ahh, time to link you to my resume….it’s in the download section of my website.

I’ve been wanting to design an interactive resume, as it will help me pronounce what’s most important in my background for a specific case where I may be called upon to serve as a vocational expert!

CPR is hands-only (no breaths) nowadays.

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On with my story… At some point, hard to pin that exact time in history at this moment, I traveled to and stayed in Irving, Texas for a month and a half or so, to help a friend with her growing family (play with babies and have fun). Right Tammy & Tony (RIP) Silvey!  I had one job interview, but never worked anywhere during my visit and returned to Iowa. Then I moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1984 and stayed with my sister Janice who had an apartment on the Southside near the airport! I eventually moved in after her roommate moved out!

More to write about next week! Stay tuned for Part 4

Original publication date: December 5, 2011

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

My Passion for Job Placement! Here is My Story – Part 2

To understand my passion for job placement, let me tell you a little about some of the jobs and experiences I’ve had growing up.  I mentioned in an earlier post the fact that childhood interests can help you find the right career.  This is so true!

To Thine Own Self Be True

My first job at age 13 was babysitting (okay, child care provider). Besides gaining transferable skills, Click here for transferable skills of a Childcare Provider, clearly “babysitting” sets the stage for good parental skills (I have 3 children).

However, even before this time in my life, I “held a job” as a swimmer.

Starting at age 6 through about age 17, I was a member of the Iowa Falls Scenic City Swim Club.  The coach, Bruce, was one hard arss.  Swim club is where I learned the art of practice, perseverance, perfecting a stroke, team work, and how to really hold your breath!

I recall the feeling of free style swimming the full length of the olympic-sized swimming pool (164 feet) without turning my head even once to take a breath.  I pretended I was a fish!My favorite trophy! (Body shape certainly wasn’t like mine!)

With babysitting, mowing neighbors’ lawns and swimming, along with cleaning my dad’s office space and the shop’s bathroom (ugg) at Culligan Soft Water, my summers were busy.

When I got a little older, I started walking beans (I was not very good) and detasseling corn (I was horrible.) Could be a height challenge (and my “accommodations” included a walker who was just a lot better than me with that horrible hoe and worse knife; and a tall guy who liked to help me by pulling the stalks way down to my level.) Because these were not reasonable accommodations and I knew that back then!, I voluntarily left….or I wasn’t called back to work a field, a mixture of both probably.

Randy, my beloved hubbie, on the other hand was retained by a farmer who “fired” the other boys because they ditched the hot fields in lieu of a cool dip in the nearby pond. Yes, he has a history of walking entire bean fields by himself……ahhh…..could you do that?

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Corn Stalks in Iowa Are Way Tall!

My first official job – with a real bonafide paycheck – was at Rocky’s Pizza as a food server (waitress is what we called it in the 70s, duh!) Rocco “Rocky” LaValle, (he was our guest speaker at our 30th class reunion dinner in July 2011) hired many young people in town to work for him for many years….there is much history.  As a food server skills in need are aplenty.  Click here for more information.

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Rocky’s Pizza Box Sign

I found both the above and below images online (click here for my disclaimer!!).  I’m not sure of the year, but Rocky’s moved into to a beautiful new location on Washington where you could really see the pizza making action in the front window!

I worked at the original location in about  1978 at about $1.85 hour,  plus tips of course! There’s a Facebook page about The History of Iowa Falls that gives great historical information about Rocky’s . What’s cool is how many past workers, including myself, post our memories!

Original Rocky’s Pizza

Along with the pizza joint, I also worked as a food server at an “upscale” fine dining restaurant – The Chateau.  It was actually a brick mansion on Rockyslvania “converted” into a restaurant. This food server work required a tweak on approaching customers and serving food, and I enjoyed it greatly.  Oh, I also wore a black and white uniform and got to serve beer and wine!  At the Chateau, I learned the art of salad making, and eating left-over crab legs (I know, I know, right off a used plate – ugg again!).  I have a picture somewhere of me in my uniform, ready to go to work. Mary Dunlay, remember working together as food server extraordinaires?! Remember the upstairs where we had to serve for special dinner parties, that wasn’t too convenient…let alone accessible!

On the flip side of “fine dining” establishment and fast food (I worked at Hardees too), I also have food serving experience working at a small truck stop in the country called The Junction north of Iowa Falls on the way to Hampton.  I remember some of my favorite customers, like the old farmer named Chris, of course in his overalls. He always tipped me! Along with serving, I did some food preparation and of course a lot of clean up and replenishment of food products and dining items. And I was responsible to operate the industrial dishwasher!

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The dishwasher was fun to run! (Most recently I am back into operating an industrial dishwasher, at our church when I volunteer for funeral meals!)

Alice the Cook was Queen! And she taught me a lot! There is a bench dedicated to her along the Iowa River in Foster Park, Iowa Falls, Iowa).

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I really loved making the incredibly yummy malts.  The leftovers!

I loved working at The Junction truck stop!  It was also really cool that my brother, Steven, worked next door at the truck stop’s fuel filling facility.  My brother Steven – I love you…RIP.  He was one hard worker…!

 

Image result for flagger cartoon    Image result for follow me truck

Stop! Now Follow Me!

I also worked as a  heavy road construction flagger, the person who moves the stop sign to control traffic.  I remember some interesting motorists who long ago passed through….! And I also drove the follow-me truck, But that got un-nerving to me as each time I made a back and forth pass through the zone, the [male] construction workers would stop and stare at me…how silly of them. ? Would’ve that been sexual harassment on the job? Nahh, these were just the big old road crew boys…! I just thought it was annoying, and just wanted to do my driving job!

Image result for ear of corn cartoon       Image result for forklift operator cartoon

Machine Operator and Forklift Operator! I loved it!

Additionally over the course of my early work history, I worked light industrial at the Alden Corn Processing plant in both the corn processing facility…standing at a de-shucking machine and shoving ears of corn through; and in the packing facility….working at the labeling conveyor as well as shrink wrapping pallets, and watching out for the fast moving forklifts. I was trained and did drive a forklift!

I held other good jobs at the Red Rooster Grill as a waitress, at Kmart as a cashier and at Hardees as a fast food service worker. All links provide further information on transferable skills!

In the summer of 1981 I took a nurse aide training course.  Following the training and upon receiving the certificate to be a Certified Nurse Aide, I was hired at Ellsworth Community Hospital.    I gained experience working on each shift over the course of my employment.  Each shift has its unique characteristics.  Talk about gaining incredibly valuable nursing skills.

On to nursing school……..stayed tuned….as I explore my past…..and realize it turned into a passion for job placement.

Stayed tuned for Part 3

Original publication date: November 28, 2011

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

Chose Your Own Path Through Emotional Intelligence!

Happy Turkey-less Day to those who won’t be gobbling a gobbler (original post date November 24, 2015)!  I continue as a pescatarian! My two younger adult children continue their vegetarian lifestyle…(not my son Nick for he’s an incredible meat eater!) and although the no meat eating rubbed off on me many moons ago, I still enjoy eating fish.

Thank you Jake and Arin for showing me a lifestyle I probably wouldn’t have gone for had it not been for you two. But then again, I may have become really fantastic at grilling steaks (no, that’s Randy’s area.)

I love the taste of turkey and found a delicious vegetarian roast that tastes just the same! 

For this post, I want to write about a way to chose your own path……and I’ll start with a link to a post when my daughter Arin started a new job at Walgreen’s.

Over the two years she worked at Walgreen’s (she resigned earlier in 2014 to move on in different ways with her lifestyle), Arin had many customer experiences (including her days working as a hostess at Okoboji Grill). She’s shared many interesting retail shopper stories from her Walgreen’s days.

Some shoppers are kind with good intentions…get in the store, find what you need, pay and get out of the store…all while being grateful and appreciative. Then there are other shoppers who seem to float around in a bubble without realizing their bubble is more of a brick! Some shoppers are demanding, have no regard for other shoppers or the retail clerk, and are even down right rude. Yuk!

We all are continuously affected by the energy of other people in both positive and negative ways. My daughter learned quickly that the less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people, the more peaceful your life will become and the more productive you’ll be on the job! AJ’s goal at work: Help customers find, buy, and get out of the store with minimal distraction…along with an idea or two of how to get the customer to spend more money (especially with products within her own department because of incentives!) This knowledge, my dear daughter, takes a certain level of emotional intelligence. Good for you!

Emotional intelligence is a huge factor in my work as an expert witness.

A very helpful and proactive way to limit how much we are affected in many settings and situations by where others are is a simple technique called being in your bubble.

Using your bubble when you need to, or realizing others are using their own bubble, takes a level of emotional intelligence, kindness and grace.

Bubble Me Up    Bubble

I can’t find the source for what follows, but I’m sure whoever it is would be happy to share! Being in your bubble goes as follows:

1.) Spend a few moments with your eyes closed, quieting your thoughts.

2.)  In your imagination create a big clear soap bubble all around you that is about a foot out from your body.

3.)  Notice yourself within this bubble, and acknowledge that any type of energy you don’t want to experience in your own body will be unable to get through the bubble, and will just bounce off.

4.)  Walk through your day within your bubble. Take a look at the bubble periodically just to affirm that it is there, and recreate it whenever you want to.

             Bubble Me Down Bubble

There’s great reasons to use this tool to manage the energy that bounces around us all of the time. It frees you up to create the experience(s) the way you choose, while leaving others free to their own expression. You won’t need to get into the struggle and discomfort of resisting what others are doing or thinking, because it happens outside of your bubble and doesn’t need to affect you.

I hope your work week is productive, and you enjoy experiencing the energy that surrounds your work and home environments. If I can help you with expert testimony, please don’t hesitate to call me.

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.

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 Skills of a Football Player…and a Fantasy!

[Original Post Date: Oct 8, 2012] Randy and I got back from Kansas City last night, after spending the weekend in Missouri. Once again, in comparison to the people we encountered in Chicago a few weeks ago, I found locals clad in red to be quite friendly!

We went to yesterday’s Chiefs game.  It was fun to go, but alas they did not win.  And yet, believe it or not, the incredible fans around us were well behaved!

Chiefs! We try to go once a year….a goal!

Have you ever considered the skills of a football player? I have!  And they’re quite similar to what most employers look for in a good employee.  Here’s a sample of five…

1.  Meeting the challenge

2.  Determination

3.  Communication skills

4.  Performing under pressure

5.  Goal setting

…read on for more transferable skills of a NFL player…. The skills are not much different from what employers desire!

I’ve always wanted to help out a professional, or a semi-professional athlete find work upon retirement, or following an injury. Someday!   I’ve also always wanted to (one of my many fantasies), kick one right through the uprights!

It’s Good!

As far as football injuries, I did a little research:  The Top 5 (with the research saying that most injuries occur during competition and not during practice):

1. Hamstring Strain

2. Sprained Ankle

3. Knee Cartilage Tear

4. Hernia

5. Anterior  Cruciate Ligament (ACL)*

*  [Update to this…..oh, NO Jamaal Charles, what are the Chiefs going to do without you???? On Sunday’s 10-11-15 game against the Bears …… who won 18-17 : ), he sustained this type of injury (right knee) and is out for the rest of the season. I love watching him play! for ] Charles missed all but two games of the 2011 season because of a torn ACL in his left knee.

We’ve all had, correction, I know I have had #2 more than once. Randy has had #4 more than once. We’ve all heard of a football player tearing #5. Thankfully, we don’t see back injury or brain injury on this list although I’m sure they happen.  Here’s a link to NFL players currently on the injury list….and on the mend … makes ya think.

Oh, and how much $ does the average professional football player make? About $1.1 million. Source: Randy Botkin ha ha! Now of course that means some make $10 million+++ and some make $100,000. Is it worth it? Makes ya think again. Especially if your career lasts oh about 3 years and your life can be shorted maybe what 20-30 years? Source: Randy Botkin again!

Here’s your pay for the day Mr. Manning

BTW, you may recall Peyton as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos missed the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury requiring him to have neck surgery twice. Rehabilitation counseling was incredibly important to him, I’m sure.

I often work with clients (ones who experienced an injury while at work) with some type of back injury and are no longer able to do the work they did previously.

Have you ever thought about what you do now for a living and if something were to change, what you could do in the future to make money?  Something I help people to think about all the time….makes you think once last time I hope.

More to come … and the final.    Chiefs: 6   Ravens: 9 Booo

 

Another update: 10/14/15: Chiefs better get better this season!

 ___________________

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

___________________

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

 

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