From the Protect Your Record TikTok I was alerted to the existence of a December 1986 Caligrams publication from the CCRA. California, at least, was experiencing shortage. We can see that their President at the time seemed to feel that speaking negatively of the profession and failing to promote it were big problems.
Interestingly enough, the shortage of 1986 wasn’t the only one. There was something going on in 1970, as revealed to me by another reader.
Perhaps what has changed is not the viability of our field or the importance of our work, but how we think about it. When we thought of the shortage as a thing to be solved, this profession survived. What happens when we think of our work as something to be improved? What happens when my East Coast friends are not making less than 1991 rates adjusted for inflation? What happens when my West Coast friends are not carrying gigantic accounts receivable and being kept on the work treadmill of survival and collection? This field’s problems would solve themselves in short order because everyone would be talking about it. Become a court reporter! Field would probably double its numbers inside five years. This field gave me so much and I want to make it better for the people entering it today. When you see me write about that stuff, it’s about making sure we’re not training students to be chewed out by companies that don’t have an interest in their professional growth or development.
The only thing that changed in me over time was my willingness to do what needed to be done and say what needed to be said. Some might look at this and say I’m acting against the advice of history here. “You’re not being very cooperative when you use your blog to attack XYZ firm.” No, but it was a different time with different challenges. We did not have a small league of corporations using every ounce of their effort to push the narrative towards “there just aren’t enough stenographers, honest.” Even if we solved the shortage tomorrow, I very much doubt they would stop promoting their alternative version of reality. They haven’t stopped promoting digital despite clear evidence it’s a losing horse.
To expound some, US Legal has made a LinkedIn recruitment blast for digital reporters each day since my last article about the company. They can’t do one for stenographers? They can’t acknowledge that digital is a harmful modality for consumers and workers? Of course they can, they just aren’t. How privileged I am to be the person that gets to raise the alarm. I’ve shown you all how weak the big companies actually are. I come out swinging with words like “fraud” and “attack on minority speakers,” and US Legal can’t be bothered to do anything. Not a cease and desist email, not a phone call, nothing. Maybe they’re afraid I’ll draw on it and blog about that too.
Maybe they should be afraid. It’s not every day someone says to a group of 27,000 “hey, you know this recognizable name in our industry? There’s a good chance they’re lying about your future.” Until I did it, it wasn’t something that was done. Now that that’s done it’s not going to be long before court reporters realize the weakness and silence on the side of digital reporting proponents and everybody starts taking shots. That’s 27,000 people that can say damn near anything supported by the evidence I published over the last month. I become a magnifier and shield for those 27,000. “Chris Day published evidence of fraud.” Why not? US Legal’s already shown its cards. It’s not touching me. When it was your job on the line, “nothing else we can do.” When all the things they can do were dragged in front of them and their hypocrisy was exposed, things got real quiet and they just kept on pushing to recruit digital. That’s called an agenda, a mission, or a deception, and all evidence points to the fact that the agenda has no intention of bowing to reality.
Ducker told us that over the next 12 years a large percentage of this field will likely retire. The next few years, we get to repeat the history of 1970 and 1986. We decide whether to survive or die as a profession. Things are looking good since we come from a long history of “survive.” The corporate line of “simply not enough stenographers” turned out to be an exaggeration or lie. I’ll be doing what I can to recruit and educate. I hope you’ll all join me. We don’t need to wait for the big companies to promote us. We will promote us and watch this field grow over the next decade in opposition to the forecasted decline.