Court reporting can be a pretty solitary profession and one of the most important tools to develop is a professional network. We all need people to lend a helping hand when we're under stress; it can be listening to you vent, assisting with computer problems, helping out when your machine has gone wonky and you have an assignment - right now! - or just someone to talk to who understands what you do.
Let's face it. Not many people really understand what we do. Our families don't, no matter how hard they try; our spouses don't (and that can be so frustrating); our friends don't. Only other court reporters really get it. That's why it's so important to join local, state, and national associations of fellow professional court reporters.
Not only can being a member of such a group defeat the isolation, it can help you in finding work or just simply letting you know about what's going on in other parts of the country.
In this economy, membership dues may seem like a frivolous expense. Please, consider it instead and investment in yourself and your professional career, and perhaps even your mental health. We've chosen a career path that not many can follow; it's in all of our best interests to support and nurture each other along the way.
See you at your next professional meeting!