Court reporting can be a fun, interesting and lucrative profession. But anyone who tells you it’s easy is talking in circles. The fact is, court reporting can be challenging mentally, physically or even emotionally. The Stenotype Institute offers tips to help you manage the common ills of a growing industry.
Mental stress is the biggest factor in a court reporter’s burnout, particularly for those who cover high profile court cases and trials. Accuracy and thoroughness in your report can make a huge difference in the lives of the parties involved. Cases can fall apart over mistakes or gaps in transcripts and that pressure can mount, particularly for newer, lesser experienced court reporters. Plus, court reporters working trials can expect long days in court, followed by long nights preparing transcripts. And this can go on for months, depending up on the complexity of the case.
Manage stress by exercising, getting enough sleep and making sure that your life isn’t all work and no play. Of course, these things might be tough to accomplish when you’re in the middle of a long, complex trial. Focus on your task and take full advantage of any opportunity to take a break. Clear your thoughts, stretch and breathe deep before getting back to work.
Another factor is the emotional toll that can court reporting can take. Cases involving murder, sexual abuse and child or animal abuse can be tough for anyone to listen to the first time – leave alone going over it all a second time to prepare transcripts. And tagging evidence and exhibits, which can include gruesome crime photos or even blood-stained clothing, can strike a nerve.
To help combat the emotional stress, court reporters must learn to turn off their emotions and focus strictly on the job at hand. Many court reporters practice meditation or pray to help clear their minds of disturbing testimony. Whatever works for you, gird up your emotions and do it if you’re facing a tough trial.
A little easier to address are the physical ailments that can happen to court reporters including carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain. Sitting and writing for hours on end can take a toll on your body. Be sure to sit up straight, lower your shoulders, adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with your stenography machine and avoid flexing your wrists to type. During breaks, shake our and stretch your wrists and if possible, take a brisk walk. Remember that a healthy body can better take physical demands, so adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, good nutrition and plenty of rest.
Start your court reporting career with a call to the Stenotype Institute at 800-273-5090. We have campuses in Jacksonville and Orlando, plus you may qualify for our online program.