Thursday, August 26, 2010


That's how you write "steno machine" in steno. Crazy, I know. I recently took some pics for a friend of her steno machine. Since I have given up my career for the time being, it's been a few months since I've seen my steno machine. This little, expensive gadget was my life for 13 years. From 1996 when I started college to learn how to use the crazy thing, until 2009 when I semi-retired, the steno machine was how I made my living. I loved my job. It was hard work. It was the perfect job for me bc it was so detail-oriented and let me use all of my Type A tendencies. I'm a good listener and prefer to blend into the background; that's what this job required. I remember in college, my instructor telling us, "You're nothing more than a piece of furniture in the room. However, your job is to get every, single word that's spoken during your hearing or deposition. Every word. You don't decide what's important. You just write it all down. But remember, you're just a piece of furniture." That was so encouraging. Not.
I heard lots of crazy, sad, freaky, hilarious, heartbreaking things in those professional years. I also met my fair share of great, friendly attorneys and, also, plenty of which were obnoxious and scared me to death. I do not miss the late nights spent preparing the verbatim written transcript. I don't miss the next-day trial dates either. My everyday life revolved around my schedule of depositions and getting those transcripts prepared. I especially thrived on this as a single adult. I was never into partying and going out, so my weekends were often spent just at home proofreading transcripts and then spending the money that I earned. Foolish. I was so materialistic then.
Then I became a mom. It quickly became obvious after Cal's birth that there wasn't really room in my life for the steno machine anymore. At least not on a regular basis. (This was the best choice for us; I have no judgments for the moms who can juggle both. I just couldn't. They are really supermoms; I don't know how they do it!) Lola's first few years were spent being hauled to a sitter (thanks, Mom, for all you did -- you have no idea...) and shuffled here and there all for the sake of my job. I wasn't doing a great job at either one. We knew we didn't want that to be her life anymore and now that Cal was here, he deserved better too. We'd cut back everywhere necessary to make that happen. December was the last time I did a depo. There are moments where I miss aspects of it, a few of the people I worked for, but nothing compares to the satisfaction I get from being here daily with my kids. I'm on a new journey now and I'm loving it.

I'll continue to maintain my license and certification. I just don't have a plan for when I'll break out my machine again full-time. If ever. Homeschooling is something I'm learning about and that may be how I spend a chunk of my time for the next decade. Who knows.

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