Melissa Picture

Professional Integrity Begins Now

By Melissa S. Lee, A.S., CCR, CRI

In this day and time of self-indulgence, quick fixes, and instant gratification, where we stand in front of our microwave ovens tapping our foot because our four-minute dinner is taking too long and so many in our society have a sense of entitlement, have we begun to overlook the shortcuts taken to get to the top with the idea in mind that the end justifies the means?

Our Internet, TV, e-mail, and newspapers are saturated with stories of celebrity idols and political leaders among us who have been dishonest, at best, in their climb up the ladder of success and repeatedly rewarded along the way with reelections and renewed contracts. Should it be any surprise that the youth among us, looking at those rewards resulting from shortcuts and dishonesty, would find it an example to emulate?

You, our future graduates entering our court reporting community, have aspired to a higher calling, one where you will represent not only yourself, your school, its former graduates, and your court reporting community as a whole, but the integrity of our judicial system itself. You are entering a profession where your name and reputation for honesty can carry you far or stop you dead in your tracks before you begin.

With that said, building your reputation must be taken seriously and begin in your student career. You must remain above reproach. You should develop a “zero tolerance policy” regarding issues surrounding your integrity. Remember that when one is dishonest or tries to cheat the system, it not only casts a dark cloud on that specific event, but it casts a shadow on any other achievements one has earned and an eye of suspicion on any future success that comes one’s way.

Remember: One day future employers will call to inquire as to the type of student you once were, so be sure to leave your past with the reputation you want to take into your future. Approach your studies with all the dedication and intensity you would if you were being paid to do so. Remain honest in all your work submissions and tests taken throughout your student reporting career. Don’t look for the shortcuts to get by, as short-term solutions often have long-term consequences. Be true to yourself, and your community will be true to you.

As your instructors, we have a vested interest in each of you individually and your future successes in your field of choice. You are an integral part of the reputation your school has built through its students and graduate. We wish you great success, lucrative careers, rewards achieved from jobs well done, and a reputation built on honesty that carries you soaring into your future which begins now.