A huge thank you to Chelsea Adams for featuring a Q&A with me on her website. I was truly flattered when I was asked to be the subject of her blog post. So for those of you who want to get to know this side of me, READ ON!
Court reporters have to keep track of a lot of details. (And I mean a LOT!) Whether you’re cataloguing exhibits or jotting down correct name spellings, there’s no end to all that you must remember. So wouldn’t it be nice if there was a planner and blog geared specifically toward your (incredibly detailed) job?
Well, meet Alexa Goldman. Court reporter, blogger over at The Stylish Stenographer, and creator of a handy dandy planner just for court reporters, she’s one busy lady. But that doesn’t mean she has no time to do her job with style. I sat down (well, virtually sat down) with Alexa to chat about the court reporting world: organizing, planning, and just generally adding a bit of flair to your day!
Tell me a bit about yourself. How did you get into court reporting?
I was born in Colombia, adopted, and raised by my awesome family in South Florida. While I was in school at Boston University for a degree in Spanish Language and Literature/Elementary Education, I interned at a children’s literary journal and then at Putnam Publishing in NYC. Immediately after graduating, I wound up being hired there to work in the children’s marketing department for two years. I loved that job the most because I got to write and be creative and meet authors and illustrators! Later, I moved back to Florida to be closer to my family – my mom had breast cancer, and is a survivor to this day – and got into non-profit fundraising and then real estate. (I hated real estate!)
I had just had my daughter and saw my marriage failing, so I left my husband and was searching for a career, not just a job. A long-time patient of my dad’s suggested I get into court reporting, as she raised her two boys doing it and had flexibility with her schedule. (She left out the part about late nights scoping and proofing!) I’ve sacrificed a lot to get to where I am today, and I’m proud of my accomplishments.
You create and sell planners made just for court reporters. How did that come about?
I used to scribble notes on my notices to keep track of my jobs with appearances, orders, exhibits, etc. Then I came up with a format to write in small notebooks the main details I needed. I thought I was so clever saving printer ink and more paper! 🙂 Then I later created a worksheet based on my notebook format for my jobs. I loved crafting, so I got all dorky and laminated nice paper and printed out those worksheets, hole-punched, and bound them just for myself. Other reporters at my office took notice and asked me to make notebooks for them. As time went on, I added little envelopes to hold business cards and stickers and other doo-dads to have everything I needed at my fingertips (different colored Post-Its, flags to mark what’s a rush and what’s regular delivery, etc.).
In 2016, I decided to make it a business. I restructured the worksheets, added calendar pages, expense trackers, and job logs. I’m a perfectionist. I’ll keep revising until I’m totally satisfied. I also welcome suggestions from people actually using the planner so I can understand the “system” they use for keeping track of jobs. And there’s definitely a few more surprises in the works right now… 😉
What’s your advice for staying organized as a court reporter?
I created these planners so reporters can manage their time, which was a challenge for me for. I wanted a way to block out time to be on jobs and work on transcripts. But most importantly I wanted to block out “me time” so I could be with my daughter, plan a great dinner for us, get my nails done, or even splurge on a much-needed massage! I think many reporters don’t take advantage of their off hours during the day. They wait until after dinner or whenever they’re at home. That would usually mean staying up past midnight rushing through jobs because I was helping with homework.
It’s so helpful to keep work for during the day and use that time effectively so you can later enjoy time with friends and/or family or just watching the latest episode of Outlander or Game of Thrones! (I’m a historical fiction lover. 😊)
You also blog about the court reporting lifestyle. How did you come up with the Stylish Stenographer persona?
When I get to work, I put my reporter hat on and get ready to work. I’m an outgoing person, and I’m a firm believer in self-promotion and maintaining great working relationships with attorneys. I have a number of attorneys who prefer to only work with me, and I know about their families, vacations, workload, and what their expectations are of me as their number one reporter.
My Stylish Stenographer blog posts and persona is just a regular reporter who wants to share my experiences and love for my career and my clients. I’m working with an agency and staff I adore. But a day in the life of a reporter is always different, never entirely boring, and keeps your brain working on overdrive, just the way I like it.