"Still Processing And Snowglobes… Court Reporting and The Path"
This article was originally published in NCRA’s, Journal of Court Reporting, JCR, under my Beyond The Comfort Zone column.
“Still Processing And Snowglobes… Court Reporting and The Path”
By Monette Benoit
Copyright 2006 by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
“You’re processing; you’re not stuck,” began my correspondence with Janet Tilly, a student who contacted me. She had written, “I am currently stuck trying to attain 170 words per minute.”
My April 2005 ‘Beyond The Comfort Zone’ article and Monette’s Musings Blog, www.monettebenoit.com, detailed how one sentence I shared shifted had changed Janet’s processing. Less than one year later (after being ‘stuck’), Janet entered our profession with determination, processing and captioning, court reporting CATapult CD material.
Janet recently emailed, “Still processing! I completed school. I discovered I have something new to process. After reading your words about processing, I never looked at school the same way. You took the time to go beyond my questions about your CATapult product. You took the time to address the root of my problem, which turned out to be a problem of perception and mindset.”
Janet shares: “I thought most of the ‘processing’ would be in court reporting school. I knew transitioning from school to work would be taxing, but I didn’t realize I would process now more than ever.
“My second deposition reflected my processing had just begun. I can’t express how grateful I am that you, Monette, pointed out the mentality of processing. I don’t think I could get up every morning, facing unknowns without having it all in perspective. Life is one big learning experience; court reporting is part of my life, so I shouldn’t expect this to be different than other things I learn each day.
“To all students: Finishing school is not the end of learning, it’s the beginning. Prepare on the front end; don’t be surprised by opportunities to process once you graduate! Like Monette’s sister-in-law Wenny wrote, whenever we are down, we have to get up, ‘try harder; each time you try harder.’ Your sister-in-law Wenny blessed me with a mantra from the January 2005 ‘Beyond The Comfort Zone’ article, “Try Harder; Each Time ‘You’ Try Harder!” (This article about Wenny, January 2005, and Janet’s April 2005 article may be accessed on http://www.crrbooks.com/ http://www.catapultdix.com/ and blog Monette’s Musings)
“I‘m now out of school; sometimes it feels like I’m in a snowglobe that keeps getting shaken. Working was exciting, but scary. I had interned as often as I could. The reporters I interned with were fantastic. Reporters answered any questions, pointing out things I didn’t know to ask about. And I was nervous! I can’t remember praying as hard as I prayed before my first deposition. (My prayers were answered when I held it together during readback.) After, I was walking on clouds; you would have thought I had orchestrated world peace.
“The next day, I was confident, still walking on clouds. This is the first time my snowglobe was shaken. The doctor specialized in otolaryngology; I know this because everyone said it as often as possible. He detailed thyroidectomy, parathyroid, cricothyroid fascia, isthmus and thyroplasty. My saving grace: The witness spoke slowly, enunciating well; attorneys took notes, pausing between answers and questions. This wasn’t the scary part — that happened when the deposition ended.
“I was realtiming for myself, recording audio on my laptop. The firm owner proofs my work. Because I am new and paranoid, I also had a digital recorder. Into the deposition, I realized I had not turned on the laptop audio. At first pause, I turned it on. I started obsessing: “Did I drop?” I knew the recorder was on, but couldn’t stop the mental process. Then someone mentioned otolaryngology snapping me back into the moment. I stopped the panic, sure I’d written well, worked to continue doing so.
“Long story short, there were several minutes when the attorneys stopped the depo, then needed to go back on the record where I had no audio. No audiosync, plus no digital recording! I pressed the wrong button on the digital recorder, twice! “Once I saw the recorder had not recorded, I thought about the depo, still confident I’d written well, verbatim. Days later, I started worrying.
“Editing, I remembered, while packing at the end, the attorneys were talking to one another; I overhead their conversations. Editing, I remembered things I knew were said, but were not in my transcript. Since I was new, I started obsessing. What if statements I were remembered were ‘on the record’ and not conversations? I couldn’t have dropped all that. No way. Wait a minute; what about in school when I knew I’d passed that test, but didn’t? Here I knew I’d written well on the job.
“This argument went through my head all night; the next morning I was throwing up. I was sure I’d never report again. Mentally, I turned an ant hill into Mount Everest. I don’t have words to describe how far out of proportion this had been blown. I called the firm owner. She calmed me saying this was going to be okay. She said she’d help me; we would look at the transcript, see what we thought. After talking with her, I began to think rationally.
“Thinking clearly, instead of worse-case-scenario, I realized I was borrowing trouble. I had concentrated so hard on writing, my head hurt, I ached all over. I had felt good until I let my imagination run away with me. I printed the transcript; it was good. Well, it was good after it had been proofed by someone else and corrections were made. Who knew commas would challenge me at age 36?
“This story can be picked apart backwards, forwards. You bet I haven’t made those mistakes again; there have been others, but not those. This is somewhat embarrassing, but maybe someone will benefit from it. I have more days where I left jobs walking on clouds than I have feeling like I was in the snowglobe. I’ve made mistakes; I’ve beat myself up over them, but when finished, I filed them, taking what I learned, leaving negativity behind. And the next day, I processed, tried harder.
“I’ve been so lucky; my instructors, fellow students were the best. I interned with experienced reporters who, I’m sure, had better things to do than answer my questions.
“To the people who shared in forums and have written JCR (NCRA Journal of Court Reporting) articles, thank you! Several times I encountered situations and knew what to do because I’d read about it. I wish I could thank everyone who helped me. The only things I know to do to begin thanking them are to continue improving and to one day help new reporters. Bless you all!”
Monette: Spoken like a veteran, Janet. We are never stuck unless we choose to be.
We process, building experiences and wisdom from within, sometimes alone, sometimes with others. Yet when we process, “trying harder each time,” perhaps our snowglobe is not blurry. Perhaps it is a remarkable globe we may view with sparkle and wonder.
The snowglobe on my desk, gifted by a student, now court reporter, is a ballerina atop pink heart-shaped flakes, arms folded in prayer. Large print reads: “Lord, Keep Me On My Toes.” Still processing, Janet, you have helped thousands, seated and on your toes.
Monette Benoit, B. B.A.,
Certified Court Reporter, Certified Reporting Instructor, Certified Program Evaluator, Paralegal, Columnist
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test-Prep for the Court Reporting, CART/Captioning Industry
Blog: Monette’s Musings, Monette’s Musings
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