President Jean Gonzalez of South Coast College answers the question:  “What Makes a Successful Court Reporter?” (Please read these questions in order 1-10.)


Most people would make the assumption that once that person passes the CSR examination, all court reporters are equal.  Unfortunately, not all judges, lawyers, teachers, doctors, musicians, actors, sports figures, nor court reporters are equal.  Not all people have the same enthusiasm to continue the pursuit of perpetual boredom.  What makes a great court reporter is the willingness to continue to develop his/her skill. 


Dustin Huffer, a recent graduate of South Coast College, visited me recently.  He was the female, Candice Guerra.  He finished the court reporting program at South Coast College in less than two years, close to the amount of time taken by Candice Guerra.  He discussed with me how everyone said that he was a natural.  He said, “There is nothing natural about practicing 12 hours a day.” 


I thought that was a significant comment but even more significant, he told me that he continues to practice every day now that he is a court reporter.  How many other recent court reporters continue to practice every day to increase their level of competence?  Are all court reporters equal?


When I observe that a student has developed the capacity for boredom, I know that that individual will be successful in completing court reporting school.  However, I have to interview the student a year or more after leaving school to determine whether they will be successful as court reporters. 


South Coast College is very lucky to have a constant stream of alumni visiting.  The successful court reporters are the ones who not only had a capacity for boredom while becoming a court reporter but who continued to channel their capacity of boredom into court reporting after becoming a court reporter. 


I saw Kathy DiLorenzo, Past President of NCRA, one of the premier captioners in the country, write for 15 minutes realtime in front of an audience of teachers and court reporters where her writing was being displayed on a monitor.  Every word came up perfectly translated.  Undoubtedly, she did not develop that skill in court reporting school.  She developed that skill by continuing to perfect her writing. 


Kathy DiLorenzo, like Tiger Woods, is someone I admire in our field because she continues to pursue the greater development of her skill to the highest level.  I also have a special place for her in my thoughts because she learned the Roberts, Walsh, Gonzalez theory.


To be successful in court reporting is no different from becoming successful at anything that you wish to do.  It requires that you continue to channel your capacity for boredom to your career.  If you choose to continue your pursuit, you are going to be successful. 


At one South Coast College orientation of new students, I asked incoming students to tell me what they did prior to deciding to become a court reporter.  The one student told me that she had been a pharmacist.  Knowing that it takes seven or eight years to become a pharmacist, I asked why she was changing fields.  She said, “Do you know what a pharmacist does?”  I said, “Not exactly.”  She told me that a pharmacist puts little pills in bottles.  Obviously, her ability to endure boredom while attaining her goal did not carry over into the career itself.


An orthodontist friend of mine also once told me that an orthodontist is really a factory worker.  I thought about that, and he was probably making an accurate statement, as I saw him with his little orthodontic tools moving from one patient to another making adjustments in one patient after another in his orthodontic clinic.  He has music playing and he and everyone whose mouth isn’t pried open is singing along with him.  He is a great orthodontist who understands that to be great one must develop this capacity for boredom.


The willingness to continue with your pursuit of boredom is what will make you great – regardless of what field you wish to pursue.  If you wish to cut out the boredom and go to something more entertaining, you will never be great at anything.


I once had a student who became a CSR.  She told me that she did not like reporting.  She was going to go back to school to study criminology.  After completing her BA in Criminology, she worked at a local jail.  A few years later, she returned to see how she could brush up her reporting skills and learn realtime.  She increased her skill level.  She is now a reporter in the Orange County Court. Later, she told me that she did not realize what a great job reporting was until she tried doing something else.  What changed?  She chose where she was going to channel her capacity to endure boredom.