Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Get serious about what's important

Remember the old line, "Do something you love and the money will follow?" It is very important.

In this profession, and right now I'm speaking to my Official friends, we need to remember that the transcript income is gravy. Truly. If you cannot survive on your reporting salary, then you need not be in this job. Transcript income is NOT guaranteed. And if you treat it like it's your own personal slush fund, then you're going to be in trouble. If you're in this "job" for the money, you're in it for the wrong reason.

For instance... let's just say that in our state, in criminal cases we get 65 days to produce transcripts in criminal matters. This is the truth. Now, obviously longer trials will of necessity warrant an extension, perhaps. But here is the thing: If you are getting extensions, the parties in interest are having to wait to proceed in their due process. That is not fair. Especially if you could hire someone - a scopist, a typist, a proofreader - to assist you in meeting deadlines.

Granted, our state rates aren't the best in the country, but they are for work "outside" the confines of the court. "Extra" pay, if you will. Surely, even if you only take in HALF of what you'll be billing, and can meet the deadline, that is a GOOD thing.

The thing we do not want to have happen is have our transcript income taken away from us. If court reporters continue to miss deadlines and push beyond what is expected of them, we could all face the possibility of someone else producing our transcripts. That would be even worse for our pocketbooks than hiring our own help, wouldn't it?

Let's get serious.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Care... Please!

So I was assigned to another county. At lunch, I joined the "home" reporters up in their lunchroom. We had a nice chat, but I was left a little curious. Here's why:

I mentioned that I had been to convention in August (well, TWO conventions - both NCRA in DC and NVRA in Nashville) and how I had had such a good time. I learned a lot and got psyched up again. They - none of them, and there were three reporters in the room - do NOT go to convention, unless they need points. And if we as officials were not required to keep our certifications current, I'd bet you dollars to donuts that these folks wouldn't go EVER.

I don't get it. I mean, this is a hard job. Nobody gets it, really, except OTHER reporters. Surely we have a chance to learn what's going on in other parts of the country if we attend. Maybe we need a few days off? Maybe we need to get a new computer (oh, wait, that's right, these reporters are not current in their support contracts and don't keep up to date with technology).

My question is: how do we light a fire under reporters who are like these folks? Will it REALLY take someone threatening their job before they care? We have to figure out a way to make meetings and education and all the other benefits of membership RELEVANT.

For you new reporters, do NOT fall into the trap - stay EXCITED and ACTIVE. And, if the time ever comes when your job is on the line, YOU will be the ones staying because you know how to counteract the threat, you've kept current on your education and technology, and you know how to work with our judicial colleages.

Any ideas on how to get people INTERESTED???

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It figures...

You know, the fun thing about this profession is it's always a challenge, something "new and different" and sometimes just plain ironic.

All last week, my spouse was out of town. I was in town. Next week, my spouse is home. I, however, am assigned out of town for the entire week. Now, Greensboro isn't too far, but 90 minutes each way makes for a long day. But I want to come home. (did I mention having transcripts in volume? who knew?) And now I have to come home because of all the work I have to get done.

Then there's the thought that I was going to work on my voice model. I finally got my new laptop computer to use with Dragon Naturally Speaking, I have my new "whisper mic" mask, and I wanted to start practicing my voicing. You think a week of court might be jumping straight into the fire? Maybe so. DRAT! I so want to get started, but I think five days of six-plus hours might be too much.

I guess we'll just play it by ear. Who knows, I might end up with a civil trial and I will have the time to work on it. If I end up in criminal court, perhaps not. I'm going to have to have all my toys in the car, just in case.

What I'm saying is, I'll have to be prepared for anything. Which, in this career, is a good thing. We're always called upon at the last moment, and we have to be ready to put our best foot forward and be the stellar professionals we are. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Being busy... lazy... busy... procrastinating.

Well, so it's been over two months.
A lot's happened since end of June. July was a busy reporting month, with lots of travel.
August was convention month! Two conventions, NCRA in DC and NVRA in Nashville. Lots of excitement in both places.

I was awarded the Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters designation (wow! that was humbling, what an honor) in DC and was also a speaker in support of Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, who was elected by the membership to be President Elect and who will become NCRA president in 2010 in Chicago (her adopted hometown).

NVRA saw me learning more and more - and becoming excited, more and more - about the Speech Recognition capabilities of Dragon Naturally Speaking and Eclipse VOX product. I've bought a new computer with a fast processor and big HD and a lot of RAM. My goal is to take the RVR certification in the near future (taking a break from the CRR... you can only beat your head on the wall so long before you take the hint and have to really buckle down, you know?)

Anyway. It's fall again, thankfully. Cooler weather, sleeping with the windows open. Getting out and walking in the woods.

And hopefully posting more on the blog.
Sorry for being silent so long!