Welcome to CSR Nation
I was talking to a videographer yesterday. We've worked together for over a decade and are good friends. We just started talking and he told me he has seen at least ten reporters cry in the middle of a deposition.
I was shocked. I couldn't believe a reporter would do that. I have cried one time that I know of in the last ten years; it was a German scientist with a broken accent and I struggled all day. I went into the bathroom once and had a "pitty party" for myself. I never did it in the conference room in front of anyone.
Don't get me wrong, there has been many times where I felt overwhelmed with an accent along with the terminology. I've always been able to keep it together and be professional and just deal with it except that one time I went to the bathroom.
I was just a bit surprised that these reporters don't have the wherewithall to know to take it privately if you can't keep it together. Very unprofessional.
I'm not talking about sad events on jobs and you cry because it is "sad." That can happen to any of us. I'm talking about the terminology being too difficult and crying.
Anyone want to weigh in on this issue?
Kelli, when I first saw the post I thought you were going to be talking about crying about a sad case or something. I cried one time a long time ago, two years out of school. It was a really tough medical or expert depo of some sort, can't remember,
and I had asked the attorney to slow down or repeat something, can't remember (which was hardly ever even necessary 30 years ago) and he bit my head off. So I kind of hid my face, looked down so he wouldn't see I was upset, but he knew. He apologized and was sooooo nice to me after the depo was over. I think he felt really bad.
I have never cried in a depo because I was stressed... but I've been real stressed. I have cried a few times because the testimony was very sad. One time the witness, both attorneys and I was crying during the depo. I would never cry because of the stress though, I'm too stubborn for that. But I cry easily when I'm emotionally touched. Just hard to control that.
I heard comments about a voice writer in Miami crying over a medical malpractice (death) depo. The attorneys were emailing each other saying they would never use her again.
What is equally bad as crying, is lack of confidentiality. Whether it's crying or lack of confidentiality, it must be a young age thing or lack of maturity thing. I can't imagine crying over the stress of the job. It was too damn hard to get through court reporting school and pass that RPR.
We as reporters are supposed to be impartial; you cannot cry in a trial or a deposition, especially a trial because it could sway the jury. That is a serious no-no. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the fire. Don't be in court if you can't handle it.
This post was more about not being able to handle the testimony not in an emotional (sad) way but meaning it as overwhelming and too difficult and that's why you were crying.
When I was very young (20s) and in second year of reporting (in the late '70s before computers, audiosync or writers with light touches) I was put on a very tough continuing job. I was always the only woman and the youngest person in the room. They were under time constraints on how long they could examine the witness and so came extremely prepared, basically read into the record. They were very stingy with breaks and one day they were just killing me. I went in the ladies room and hid, running my hands and wrists under water and trying to revive myself.
One of the male attys actually came into the ladies room to get me and was very rude about me holding up the proceedings. I somehow made it through the day feeling like I was holding onto the side of a cliiff with my fingertips.
They all knew they were a$$ wholes, and at the end of the depo one of them said, "Let's hear it for the reporter," and they all stood up and gave me a standing ovation.
I started crying just from being so overwrought and embarassed. Believe me, I was not even a little bit flattered from their patronizing applause, and soooo mad at myself for showing weakness.
So I say, hey, it happens, we're human. I've never cried since, but I have developed a very smart mouth, which I use instead of tears. It's good to have a few catch phrases handy when they are dishing out abuse.
Just like "there is no crying in baseball," there is no crying in court reporting. Too bad we are not automatons. It would make the job easier.
Maybe 15 years ago, I took a Chinese software engineer. It was videotaped. We started the depo, he said maybe four words and I said can we go off the record. I said, I'm sure it's just me, but I'm having a hard time understanding the witness. Everyone said they understood and that they had been taking depos with similar witnesses for a while, so they were kind of in tune, but they don't have to hear every freakin syllable and decipher it and especially when it's terminology I had never ever heard of...it was software coding and codes. He was saying C plus plus, which is a code, and all I heard was see pla pla. It didn't matter that it was videotaped, no matter how many times I listen to it, it's not going to get any clearer. Anyway, I made him repeat stuff over and over and the attys, who of course, had been involved with the case knew what he was talking about, would say the words. He would repeat C pla pla to me and the attys would say C plus plus. That was only one of the terms from the whole day. I made it through the all day depo. After a while, you kind of get they say the word the same way, but after the depo, the videographer said to me sympathetically good luck. Everyone left and as I'm packing up, I started crying, thinking this is the one I lose my license over. Of course, I didn't and did a lot more depos in the case. I just wish I had started with the other witnesses first then I would have had a little inkling of what I was hearing terminologywise. But I admit it, I cried, even if it was after everyone left.
I feel for you. I do so much patent infringement, I would have known that was C++ and gotten it right away. I can get the Indian accents but the Asian accents I just struggle with. It's tough. We all have our moments. I know we are human.
If you think you seriously cannot handle the situation, you need to speak up and say, "You need to get an interpreter. I cannot certify this transcript. I cannot understand what this gentleman is saying" or something to that effect. Per the CSR board, if you know you're over your head, you have a duty to speak up. If not, then deal with it and get through it. If you're crying in front of clients, then you should have spoken up earlier to say you're out of your element.
Speaking of crying, I did a hearing where the attorney cried in my presence. I think we were in the bathroom but I could see she was shaken and nervous during the hearing. She worked for the State of California, some agency. I can't remember if a male attorney ever cried in my presence, but I've seen them act kind of crazy yelling, screaming, face turning red, wrestling with another attorney physically.
I have had the same thing with Asian speakers spewing out computer or other technical terms. Absolutely brutal. Indian is possibly the worst.
I didn't cry in front of the clients...Everyone was gone and I was packing up. I spoke up within the first 5 minutes. When i told them I was having a hard time understanding the witness, we came to an agreement that I would clarify on the spot and that's what I did.
Some attorneys get mad when you clarify. My girlfriend had a depo about six months ago where she had to interrupt all day long because she could not understand the witness. The attorney complained and told the office to never send her back. Unbelievable.
When I first started reporting at age 22, I had a depo of a Chinese man. I couldn't understand a word he was saying. I came so close to crying. I had to get a grip and tell myself, "You are in a professional environment. Do NOT cry." I managed not to. I can still remember the attorney. Funny how a little thing like who the attorney was has stuck with me. Nowadays I usually want to cry in court just because they won't shut up!