Monday, April 26, 2010

Always Strive to Grow

So I had a job interview on Friday - for a managerial position which at first blush looks like a really good fit. Only time will tell, however, if it happens.

One of the key things that was brought home to me in the interview was the importance of life-long learning and continuing to strive to challenge yourself and better your skills. This position doesn't require much reporting, but it was stressed to the interviewer that simply because it wasn't a 40-hour in-court job didn't mean that I would give up my desire to get my realtime certification. I also shared that I would be willing to take a certificate program to get better familiarized with an aspect of this position (HR) that I have only hands-on experience with.

Being passionate about our profession and being willing to continue to push ourselves is what makes us stand out a little bit more. I love my career and want to continually want to push the limits. I sure hope that that passion came across. And even if I don't get the position, I will still keep taking my CRR/RVR certification examinations until I pass and I will work on the Trial Presentation certificate... and maybe that HR class too.

NEVER rest on your laurels. There is no limit to what we can learn except our lack of willingness to do so.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


As mentioned in the last blog entry, time management is an essential skill for any successful court reporter. The question becomes, how do we juggle ALL of the high-priority cases that land in our laps?

For example... I'm currently in a private-pay only situation - which means technically no appellate deadlines. That's good. But I'm also trying to meet self-imposed ones; I want to provide good service to the captive audience that are the parties to any cases an official reporter takes down.

To my mind, the best way to handle any situation is to write it down. When you can visualize where you are, you can project out to where you need to be.

I have a white board. It lists the cases, when taken, when ordered, how many pages - and who's handling it. I have a scopist and two proofreaders, so I can tell where they are at certain stages. It's very helpful.

Be realistic in your time estimates. I like to be "Scotty" from StarTrek. I estimate long - most of the cases I have now I estimated five weeks on (I was in trial for two - see my last post) and I just didn't see myself getting them done faster - and then if I come in early, I've "worked a miracle" just like Scotty did.

And now there's some good news. One of the files is in final edit stage already. Another of the files (the long one) is already off to the proofer on volume one, my scopist has the last day, and I'm working on the middle. Things are progressing nicely. Of course, today I got a call for another transcript.

Where are those white board pens??

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Time Management

It's a skill that's so important, and so many of us just don't have. In court reporting, a profession defined by deadlines, we really need to have a better handle on our time - and a keen understanding of our personal abilities.

Speaking from the standpoint of a working official reporter now, if you're in court all day, the last thing you want to do is come home and transcribe. ANYTHING. I would strongly suggest you find someone to scope for you. Doesn't matter how bad you think you wrote; your concentration at the end of a long day is shot, which means your editing skills will more than likely suffer. If you hand it off to a scopist, they can take the time to listen to your audio (all the way through, if you like) and give you a pretty clean document to proofread. They can check your case cites for you. Look up funny words. Run spell check. Think of all the things that you could do in the time that they're working for you!

The best thing that a scopist can do for you, though, is keep you on task. Meeting those deadlines is of paramount importance. Our legal system depends on us to do our part to keep the train running along smoothly. Too many extensions, by too many people, slow the wheels of justice and in the end make us look bad.

We must, both for our sanity and for our profession, learn to delegate some of our transcription duties so that we can actually have free time to relax and so that we can better manage the other aspects of our lives.