More Free Time … Samantha’s Story


More Free Time … Samantha’s Story

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By Barbara Lynch

Atkinson-Baker Nationwide Court Reporters – DepositionsMore free time, less stress AND more money?  That doesn’t seem right, does it? Aren’t being stressed and having no free time two of the sacrifices that are necessary for court reporters to make if they are to earn more money?

The answer is definitely no.

The idea for this article came about when I recently met someone at a mutual friend’s bridal luncheon in Pasadena.  During the luncheon, after I got back from the buffet with my delicious baked salmon lunch, Samantha sat next to me and introduced herself.

We started with small talk, but, by the time the cheesecake cart came by, it was as if we had known each other for years.  Our conversation went from the general idle chatter to the depths of family, career and balancing the two. Myself, having been a court reporter, wife and mother of two for over a decade, and Samantha, reporting for only two years, newly married with a newborn at home, ended up having quite a lot to talk about. We also both enjoyed the decadent food during our time together just as much as the fruitful conversation, so it was definitely a mealtime to be remembered.

Samantha entered the court reporting field because she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom who could substantially supplement her husband’s income. Their California lifestyle includes owning a second home up the coast, enjoying recreational sports, and traveling as much as possible.

When Samantha started reporting school four years ago, she knew that for a while her education, on-the-job training and defining her daily routines would be very challenging. However, she knew that marriage and motherhood were on the close horizon. So she buckled down and, with the support of Tom, her now husband, took on the tough challenge. Unfortunately, she was ill prepared for how the next couple of years were to play out and it almost got the best of her.

At this point during our conversation, I was so riveted with her story full of honesty and determination, that I felt myself empathizing and connecting wither, not only as a fellow reporter, but also as a woman who is still trying to attain a healthy balance in life – even after ten years of reporting. (I also knew Samantha’s story was deeply affecting me because I didn’t take one bite of my salmon for about fifteen minutes!)

Samantha was married and had a baby within eighteen months after being certified. Yes, being a wife and mother were her priorities, but she wanted and needed to continue the momentum of reporting for fear of losing ground and not being able to get back to where she needed to be in the field later on.

And so, she pressed on.

She was fortunate in the, despite her being a new reporter right out of school, a couple of agencies provided consistent work that quickly grew into several jobs a week.  Samantha had everything she had hoped for – a loving husband, child, career and a beautiful home – but her life was very busy, hectic and scattered.  As a result, she was very run down.  It was taking its toll on her.

She felt like all the elements in her life were there – they just didn’t have any substance or meaning.  “I was hopping from on e thing in my life to the next instead of lingering and enjoying them,” she said.  “It felt like I was only skimming the surface of my family and home life instead of relishing them deeply which, for me, makes life worth living.”

Samantha knew she needed to make a change, so she took advice from a friend and hired a proofreader/scopist.  Up to this point she had only heard people’s bad experience and negative perspectives about scopists which included loss of income, not being reliable, poor work quality and slow turnaround. So she immediately dismissed the idea.  Now, however, she was desperate to try anything.

She hired someone at first to help with proofreading with the hopes of relying on that same person for scoping as well once she was comfortable with their work and dependability. Yes, it did take a few months to build a relationship with her scopist that was rewarding for both of them, but Samantha said it was worth going into uncharted waters and letting go of the fear of not being in control of her work.

Collaborating with a scopist has not only not cost her any more money (now she can take jobs in lieu of scoping herself when she needs to) but has given her amazing flexibility of free time to spend with her family.  “The combination,” she said, “is priceless!”

Samantha’s life isn’t hectic anymore: she enjoys weekend family getaways, full nights’ sleep, the chance to be spontaneous, and a peace of mind.  The peace of mind she now has is a result of knowing that her transcripts are turning around at a great pace, her scopist is there when she needs her and, most of all, she’s living life she intended to all along – in a healthy balance.

That bridal luncheon was so much more to me than a celebration of my friend who was getting married. Listening to Samantha’s story uplifted and encouraged me at a time when I had been feeling haggard and stressed for over three years. I was desperate, too, but didn’t know it.

As I got into my car to go home, I thought, “If a young woman fresh out of reporting school could find wisdom and use it in such a life-changing way, so can I!” As I write this today, I have a newly budding relationship with a proofer/scopist that came highly recommended, and I am already reaping the rewards that Samantha found herself being so thankful for.

Now I am very thankful and so is my family!

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