I have always been a planner. I enjoy making lists and feel a certain satisfaction checking things off my lists. I am a single mother of two teenage boys who seem to be involved in EVERYTHING and they do need to eat, right? Not to mention my part-time job as a taxi driver, which I don’t get paid for and just seems to cost me money. Let’s just say I am busy and planning is a must.
Life as a freelance court reporter is not conducive to my planning nature. Every day in the life of a court reporter is different. When I get a job assignment, I find out the who, what, where, when about my day either the day before or maybe an hour before it’s going to happen. It’s typically not where I was yesterday or last week or maybe ever. I don’t know how long a job is going to last until I hear those three magic words, “No further questions.” When I chose the profession of court reporting, I think a part of me wanted the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants lifestyle. Maybe I was sick of the mundane, go to the same job, do the same thing at the same time every day. I wanted to take a walk on the wild side.
So how do I balance my inherent need to plan with the need for flexibility in my career? Stay ahead of the game. This means fast turnaround. I try my best to turn in my jobs as quickly as possible. Having a transcript to do is kind of like homework. I never liked homework hanging over my head, so I get my “homework” in ASAP. When everything is all done, wow, I might have some free time. Which leads me to my “free” time. Here is where my planning comes into play. I plan for the next time I will be busy. One thing I do is I cook like a madwoman. I freeze meals so that on the days I’m running through the door trying to feed my two starving teenagers I can just pop something in before it’s on to the next activity. I do everything I can to make sure things are in order and easy for the next avalanche of work. I clean, do laundry, go through paperwork, organize, anything I can do in advance to be prepared for when I don’t have time for it later.
I love my job and not knowing what’s going to happen from day to day. I am forced out of my box on a daily basis. I meet new people constantly. I learn new things regularly. It is truly exciting. I have found a way to incorporate planning into my unpredictable career, so I truly have the best of both worlds.