Sometimes, growing up, I wondered what it would be like to live in a family of nine to five workers. My friends’ parents had jobs like that – one was a hairstylist, another was an engineer, and then there was the butcher (my first taste of deer bologna. Urgh.), the substitute teacher, the gas station clerk, etc.
My best friend’s mother stocked shelves in a grocery store. Every day she would come home to a nice snack, and her mother would inquire about her day at school. She’d do her homework, have a home cooked meal, and get tucked into bed: a pretty picturesque life if you had asked me then.
Dear Reader, I grew up in a court reporting firm office, and let me tell you. It was strange. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
My family didn’t go on a vacation until I was eleven. No Movie and a Pizza Sundays. A lot of legal jargon.
We spent more time together as a family working than say, watching TV, or eating at the dinner table. In fact, many nights we ate takeout at our desks. Breakfast, too. And there were more all nighters than I can count, and I’m only 19.
Some of my earliest memories are of my grandfather, Al, geared up in a suit and tie, pulling his steno machine behind him. I remember passing notes with my favorite office manager, Miss Donna, and drawing enough pictures for our staff to wrap around the office, twice over. There was always Vince’s Shrimp Salad in the fridge in summertime, and always work to be done.
All my life I’ve associated the concept of hard work with my father. He has spent more time behind that monitor producing transcripts than should be legally allowed. And it isn’t just nine to five, it’s an on call at all hours, time consuming job. We’d be at Starbucks, or watching a movie, and if a job came in, he’d have to high tail it back to the office.
My grandmother’s job convinced me I am not to be an accountant, very early on. (She is our CFO.) She was the one who always made time for me in the office. We’d go for walks, and read books, and late at night, when I was home in bed, she would finally finish her work.
My childhood also exposed me to things that seem to fade into the background for most of my generation, like court reporting, short hand, and the legal field. I remember putting together my first transcript. (Backward. Or course.) I remember struggling through various production software, and learning the Analyzer. I spent a lot of time, especially later, with reporters, lawyers, and of course our staff, which made me more comfortable in the adult world, and helped me to mature.
And then, suddenly, I was a teenager, Digitizer of Exhibits and Chief Getter of Various Drinks. I handled the office filing system, and our graphic design projects. My first crush was on a member of our staff (cringe) and another became, and remains, one of my closest friends.
Today, I manage our marketing department and web presence. It has been an irreplaceable experience for me. Working along side my family has afforded me not only tremendous work opportunity, but great life experience as well. I still enjoy a shrimp salad sandwich in the summer time, and long walks with my grandmother. I’ve learned a lot from my grandfather’s can-do business attitude and my Dad’s work ethics.
It short, growing up ABA has made me who I am, and though I am not an aspiring reporter, or lawyer, or secretary, or anything involving paper and a desk, really, I know and respect that #CourtReporterLife.
And besides, Dear Reader. I don’t think that nine to five grind is for me, anyway.