» Articles by our Physical Therapists : 16. RETURNING TO WORK IN BAKER CITY
Articles by our Physical Therapists

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If you or someone you know is currently unemployed (or under-employed), it can be a very challenging situation.  The current economic conditions are only one factor, and much of that is out of our control.  Doing what you can to be ready to return to work is within your control.

Being a worker is more than earning a paycheck.  For some, work is one of the most important social roles a person can fulfill.  It provides dignity, social interaction, and intellectual and physical challenges.  Prolongued unemployment can be devastating for the individual on many levels.

There are many books and other resources for updating and perfecting your resume.  Determination and perserverance are also important.  Beyond that, what else can you do?  Maintaining physical fitness is highly recommended.  If you are not working, its likely that you have time available to exercise.  Exercise will, among other things, increase your likelihood of keeping that job.  If you are lucky enough to find a job, you can't afford to lose it due to injury in the first weeks of starting that job. 

If you haven't been to the employment office, that is a good place to start.  But if you can't work because of a physical disability, then perhaps you should inquire about the services provided at the Department of Human Resources - Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.  Vocational Rehab Services assists individuals with disabilities in getting and keeping a job that matches their skills, interests, and abilities by partnering with the community and local businesses to develop employment opportunities.  As an occupational therapist at Baker Valley Physical Therapy, I have participated in this matching process by performing Vocational Capacity Assessments on scores of people.  This assessment process requires the client to perform various physical tasks, including walking, climbing, lifting, carrying, and pushing/pulling.

Returning to work may come down to being ready and able to accept the next job that comes your way.  Are you ready and able?

Written by Flint Stearns, OTR/L

Published December 2011

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