Dr. Seuss’ last book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go, a book intended to serve as a guide to help children face life with a positive attitude, is most definitely an inspiration for court reporters as well. The protagonist in the book travels far and wide and faces many different experiences — both exciting and depressing. The little guy in the yellow jumpsuit faces each new life experience with aplomb. How many of us haven’t ourselves encountered successes and roadblocks on our journey of life and our work of court reporting? The answer is that we all have definitely been challenged greatly at one point or another during our reporting career.
As a child growing up in rural North Dakota, my siblings and I led a sheltered life really. Our community was largely made up of farmers where all family members, young and old, took an active role in the business of farming on a daily basis. My dad was a difficult taskmaster, and my siblings and I worked hard during our teenage and college years with him. My mom and dad taught us about having a strong work ethic, for sure. Another important instruction from my mom and dad was to listen carefully to adults, process their words, and then learn from them. Listening fit my personality perfectly, since I was an extremely introverted person during my teenage and young adult years. Their words resonated with me deeply and reinforced my resolve to become a court reporter a/k/a the “silent person in the courtroom.” Little did I realize during my court reporting training and college years that I would face many challenges during my professional career. Court reporters are, clearly, more than just the “silent person,” as I have stated in a previous blog post.
You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So … get on your way!
I have been blessed to have been married for nearly 30 years to the love of my life. Wow — what a journey we’ve had! Dean’s career opportunities have landed me and my family in six states. Many friendships — social and work — were formed and exist to this day.
It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air. And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
The single most major challenge I faced during my career to date is the fact that I have moved to six different states and had to start anew each time. Did I mention I am an introverted person? Yes, a difficult process indeed. With each successive move, of course, I gained insight concerning how to seamlessly transition to my new environment. Other challenges that court reporters may face include a spouse losing a job due to corporate downsizing, illness, empty nest syndrome, divorce, starting a family, and work life/family balance considerations.
While it may seem easy to sit back and continue doing the same things you’ve always done in the same manner, day in and day out, you should persevere and take an active role in your career and professional development. The following are a few ideas to keep in mind for court reporters — whether you’ve moved to a new geography, if you want to take that next step in your professional career, or to conquer your personal challenges:
- Be an early adopter of technology to help be more productive in daily work
- Get involved in your state and national associations
- Volunteer for association committees and/or board work (After my board service ended with TCRA, I continue to be involved with the Convention Committee and absolutely love it!)
- Form bonds and personal/work relationships with local court reporters
- Become an associate member of the local bar association
- Mentor a student
- Sign up and take the next advanced certification
- Continue learning and earning CEUs beyond the minimum requirement needed to retain your certifications
- Attend state and national conventions to learn and network with leaders in our profession and advance your skills and professional development
- Be active on social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
I can honestly say that the best advice I received from my good friend, Jane Doby, was to keep pursuing my advanced NCRA certifications, as those three little letters would be the hallmark sign of a professional and dedicated court reporter and would ensure that my resume would speak for itself in future interviews with court reporting firms. Her wise counsel served me well, and I have passed those advanced certifications!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
Career and professional development should be the top priority for an individual at any stage of their career. After 30-plus years in the reporting profession, I continue to upgrade my knowledge base by reading daily on all kinds of topics. To remain competitive in today’s marketplace, one must update their technological and writing skill to be successful as well.
Kaplan University and LinkedIn recently conducted a Career Journey survey, and the results revealed “that individuals across age groups see critical value in systematic career planning, and that most are already actively engaged in online reputation management and networking.” The survey consisted of over 1,000 respondents from different backgrounds on the LinkedIn network. The findings, in part, revealed the majority of respondents agreed with the following:
- they need to obtain new skills to advance their careers
- continuing their education will play an important role in their career advancement
- they need a more systematic process for planning and tracking their career journey.
- set aside time on a regular basis to enhance their online presence and reputation—key components in the creation and protection of a personal and professional brand.
- they would like a better method for finding opportunities to be mentored or to serve as mentors for others.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
Just like Dr. Seuss’ message in his last book, one must remember that life can be extremely tough at times and a balancing act, but we will be just fine if we keep on the road we’ve chosen and face up to each challenge as it presents itself. What are your personal challenges? Strive to attain the following goals and be amazed at what you can do, too!
- Be prepared and never stop learning!
- With a little bit of work and willpower, you can do anything!
- Do not sit around waiting for things to happen to you — take action and Make a Difference!
- Nothing is gained if you risk nothing!
Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.