12/8/2014 by Kramm Court Reporting
Throughout the years, I have received emails from people all over the USA, people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, asking, “Should I become a court reporter? Will there be a job when I get out? Is there work? Is technology going to take over the industry? Am I too old?”
I always answer these queries honestly and with thought. I ask what the person is looking for, if they are a disciplined-type person, and promise there is work and will be work, BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE GREAT!
Reading through the Harvard Business Review blogs, I came across an article, “Stop Worrying About Making the Right Decision.” The author, Ed Batista, paraphrases Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and its CEO for 22 years, who said, “It’s important to make good decisions. But I spend much less time and energy worrying about ‘making the right decision’ and much more time and energy ensuring that any decision I make turns out right.”
Believe me, I know the decision to go
When making the decision, I suggest one should ask:
- Will I be committed to practice? Being a court reporter is liking being a professional athlete. It takes focus, practice, practice, more practice, and a strong desire to succeed.
- Do I have a natural talent? If you are able to play the piano well or type fast, you might have a natural ability. People with a natural ability are able to get through school quickly sometimes.
- Do I have a lot of things going on in my life, and am I easily distracted? If you can’t spend time with the machine and truly focus on speed and accuracy, you will never get out of court reporting school.
- Am I willing to spend the next two years (or more) going to school and practicing, practicing, practicing? While in school I likened the practicing to becoming one with the machine. You have to learn to write with no thought; the words flow through your hands.
- Will there be work in the future? What about speech recognition and tape recorders? I went to school in the late ‘70s and people were asking me what I was doing – tape recorders! I promise that tape recorders cannot provide real-time transcripts; people speak poorly, at the same time, and with accents. Speech recognition is not an issue.
- Will there be work? The average age of court reporters in the USA is 55. Court reporters who have been working for 30+ years are physically getting tired and don’t want to do the all-day, long depositions. I foresee a tremendous need for great court reporters in the next four, five years everywhere. The shortage is imminent.