The Case for a Fresh Start After Freelancing

Like the dawn of each new day brings a fresh start, so too may a court reporting career be re-created anew. After seven-plus years of self-employed deposition reporting and a brief stint doing CART work for a college, accepting a position as an official court reporter in 2019 has once again invigorated my love for stenography. For example, I’ve co-facilitated an A to Z intro to machine shorthand class to promote our profession, and it was successful, so there’s already a second session scheduled in 2020. Extra dictation practice while preparing for my RMR certification has improved my speed, and I’ve had the opportunity to build my dictionary & fine-tune my writing style since arriving at the courthouse.

I’m aware of the negative talk in the depo world about big box agencies, page rates, contracting, etc., and after speaking with a brilliant reporter down the hall, we agree that there’s a simple solution, and that’s for veteran freelance reporters to give serious consideration to filling a vacant officialship. In Wisconsin, where I work, there are currently at least 13 openings, and putting qualified stenographers in those offices will go a long way to uphold the value of the skill set that we possess.

At the risk of this starting to sound like a persuasive essay, the good pay, health benefits, vacation time, interesting subject matter, and daily interaction with amazing coworkers make me wonder why I didn’t take the leap sooner. It’s still a bit surprising how enjoyable this new opportunity is, especially considering that as a student and new reporter, I never thought I'd work in court. Things often happen for a reason, though, at the exact, right time as we are guided along our paths in life.

People who have a meaningful reason to get up each morning often do so cheerfully. I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of new experiences, having weekends truly to yourself, and making a fresh start as we uphold this important profession.