Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Friends We Make

I love the fact that this profession has brought me the gift of very good friends.  People whom I would not have met but for the fact that I love reporting and going to conventions to get re-energized about it.

This weekend my husband and I drove up to visit one such friend - well, actually two; a husband and wife team.  The reporter I met first; his wife, a former court reporter and now educator and scopist/proofer, a couple of conventions after.

These people are kindred spirits.  A little off.  Foodies.  Movie-speakers.  Thinkers.  And professionals passionate about their careers.  It's a joy to spend two days with like-minded people, just talking.  We never turned on the television or the radio.  It was non-stop conversation (and eating).

The beauty is that these two are just two of the many good friends I've made in my 20 years in the profession.  I'm thankful for every one of my friends - the ones who live around the corner, down the road, or several states away.  Court reporting has been very, very good to me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When the deadline teaches you something

So I am not usually one who likes to request extensions of time to produce transcripts.  We have 60 days for civil trials, 65 for criminal, in which to produce our pages.  I had to break down this week and request one.

At first, I felt I wasn't living up to my own high standards and expectations.  I mean, really, why SHOULDN'T I be able to meet my deadline?  60 days is a long time to get out 2500 pages or so.  But when I stepped back and took stock of my situation, I realized that it was not something I could do and maintain the high quality of work product that I strive to produce with every transcript.

I won't deny that it's been a crazy month/six weeks.  I've spent a lot of time on the road.  One of my editors went back to the "real" workforce and my other editor had some family issues to deal with.  It just was NOT going to happen by May 5.  Nope, no way.  So I asked for an extension.  Already, I feel the weight/pressure lessening.  My editor has been able to get back into her groove, I've had a couple of days locally (in other words, not commuting too far out of county for court!), and the attorneys were simply FINE with my request for an extension.

So what was I worried about?  In the end, my care and concern for the record are what shines through here.  I could have, probably, working many late nights, produced all the pages and delivered them in a timely fashion.  But would they have really been up to my high standards?  I'd like to think so, but I can't say for certain that in my mental and physical state of quasi-exhaustion that I would have been as attentive as I always strive to be.

While I recognize that this is a tool I have at my disposal, these extensions, I do need to be sure that I don't abuse it and continue to manage my time as best as I can.  But in the end, I believe I did honor to the profession and to the record by giving myself a little bit of breathing room.

My transcript is now due on June 6.  Trust me, I will have it done by then - what a birthday present that will be.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Life is like a box of chocolates ...

I think about this quote from Forrest Gump as it applies to my career in court reporting quite a bit, and especially as it applies to my position as a roving reporter for our state.  This week had a very interesting box of chocolates on offer to me.

The first two days of my week were spent in Caswell County in a toxic tort case that counsel requested daily copy transcript in.  Fortunately, it was a bench trial and not very long.  And, fortunately, I didn't have two FULL days; rather, just about a day and a half.  I completed the daily copy transcripts same day (evenings, though late). 

Wednesday found me in Durham taking down some constitutional argument.  We all know that I'm one of those odd court reporters who loves to take down argument.  I find it mentally stimulating.  Some people love trials; me, I love motions.  Wednesday was no different.  I was not just reporting, but I was paying attention.  This sounds funny, I'm sure; but as most court reporters know, sometimes when we are reporting, we're hearing, but not always actively listening.  I was actively listening to the very interesting case.

Thursday I found myself in Johnston County (Smithfield) in a special proceeding about a land partition and timber.  And Friday, I was back in Johnston County again, in a criminal administrative session.

That was a well-rounded week, I think.  I found myself called upon to perform at the top of my game in terms of production, being mentally challenged by the legal argument, learning about timber and timber prices, and then hearing motions to suppress and pleas. 

My box of chocolates was wonderfully diverse.  I hope to continue to be gifted with the variety that is court reporting for a long time to come.