Appreciating that it takes a little guts to venture down a less-traveled path, we always enjoy hearing how some- one first begins providing CART services. With CART as their chosen career on completing school, these reporters threw all their energy into this special field. Carol-Joy Harris from the San Francisco Bay area and Mona Lieberman from Bergen County, N.J., were willing to share their stories.
“The first time I heard about it, I knew that was what I wanted to do with this skill,” says Harris. “Now when I tell people about my job and how perfect I feel it is for me, I say that it’s a win-win-win: I help people, I learn about all kinds of things that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I get paid for it!”
Lieberman recalls when she first became aware of CART services being offered in the classroom. “After being in my court reporting program for two years, I ran into a high school friend who was now an administrator for a school district that provided CART services just six miles from my home. I was able to shadow a CART provider one day for several classes, and from that moment on, I had an interest in becoming a CART provider,” she says.
LAND THAT FIRST JOB
Doing most of the research about the field on her own, Lieberman’s focus as she finished school was “speed, speed, speed.” Today, she still practices diligently. Lieberman landed a job working for one school district providing CART for several high school students. Starting with history and economics classes, she quickly found herself also working as a sub covering all subject areas.
When asked if she felt prepared as she started her job or if she encountered unexpected challenges, Lieberman says, “Nothing was a surprise. I took each challenge as it came. If I couldn’t resolve something on my own, I was able to ask coworkers for help. I know this is a never-ending learning experience. There is always something new to learn. I plan on becoming better acquainted with the software. I’ll also continue practicing to become a faster and more accurate writer every day so that I can be the best CART provider I can be for my students. I love what I do, and I want it to show through my work.”
Harris’s self-propelled research led her to her first job. “I was lucky enough to be able to take an evening course from a local CART and captioning agency owner, which was wonderful. Through that class, I met the CART coordinator at one local university, where I started working right from school. At the same time, I heard about an opening at another nearby university and immediately began working there, too. They had never used CART before, so there was a learning curve for everyone,” she says.
ASK FOR HELP AND ENCOURAGEMENT
At the start, Lieberman found software and user setting help from supportive colleagues, and Harris reached out to several sources. “Yes, I had different people for different things. For example, I had one person for technical questions and another for pep talks,” Harris said.
As for one surprise, Harris summed up perfectly what many of us found out too. “This might sound funny, but I didn’t realize how out of touch I was with the youth of today. It’s been 40 years since I graduated from college, and things are so different now, from dress and behavioral standards to prevailing instructional methods and so on. I really enjoy working in the academic setting, though, much more than I thought I would, and much more than court, where I worked briefly while still in school.”
By pursuing additional learning opportunities outside of their traditional court reporting curriculum, both Lieberman and Harris have succeeded in securing a career that is interesting and enjoyable, as well as one that they both take much pride in. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Colleen Platt, RPR, is a freelance reporter and CART provider residing in Lincoln Park, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.