I think I always knew deep down I was going to be a transcriptionist. Every time I saw one of those commercials (“Train and earn your degree in 9 months! Medical billing and coding, accounting, etc.”) when I saw transcription, I always kind of gave it a double-take. Probably a lot of those things were scams, but it’s happened a lot in my life, that something gives me a kind of internal “Ping!” and then turns out to be relevant later on.
I spent my late teens and about all of my 20s housebound. I was diagnosed agoraphobic after high school and put on disability. I was my niece’s nanny, until I became so drained by the job that I attempted suicide. After that, I just sort of existed. I hated myself, my endless days of doing nothing. When I saw my 30s approaching, something snapped in me. I applied to and was accepted by an online school that has since become disgraced, I think, but I got a medical transcription degree out of it (though they refused to give me my diploma until I paid off my debt to them, which I have not done). I somehow put together a resume, sent it to a million places, and began to lose hope. I will be autistic until I die, but I didn’t want to be disabled forever.
CarolLee Kidd, the CLK of CLK Transcription, responded to me, seemingly uninterested in my resume, and simply asked me why I wanted to do transcription. I don’t remember what I said, but I expect it was that I couldn’t do much else, that I needed to work from home and had some training in the kind of work her company does. I found medical transcription daunting and stressful, and here was a chance to try general. She took me on, which I will be eternally grateful for, and gave me a chance, and I hope, really hope, that she’s found me nearly as valuable as I find her. I made a million mistakes, and started out really slowly, but found such a welcoming environment at CLK. I feel about my colleagues there just as a neurotypical might bond with people in an office.
Transcription means so much to me. I think most people don’t realize how hard and intellectually-challenging it is. My grammar and spelling was always excellent, but I had to become an expert Googler, a short-term expert in whatever the topic of each file is. And I think people don’t realize how important it is. Our work helps create entertainment articles that people read to escape their stresses, books that educate people on everything from fly-fishing to astrophysics. I’ve typed about celebrity scandals, Common Core, medical drug trials, the Kuiper Belt, politics, and the sniping that goes on between “Real Housewives.” I get to help produce, in my little way, a TV show in which people explore their ancestry. Some of it means nothing to me. All of it put together means everything.
I’m a very busy person. I work full-time, attend college (a real one now) part-time, help run a household, and help care for my young nephew. The most stressful days I have are better than any day in my past when I had nothing to do and nothing was expected of me. When people ask me what I do for work, yes, I have to explain what a transcriptionist is EVERY SINGLE TIME, but it beats saying I’m disabled. I’m now empowered. And it was largely my much-loved job that made me who I now am.
Amber G. IC for CLK 4 years and counting!