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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:27PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Tell-us-how-you-really-feel dept.

from AlterNet

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a wage slave typing: "I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job," on a keyboard, for ever. That's what a Manhattan court typist is accused of doing, having been fired from his post two years ago, after jeopardizing upwards of 30 trials, according to the New York Post. Many of the court transcripts were "complete gibberish" as the stenographer was allegedly suffering the effects of alcohol abuse, but the one that has caught public attention contains the phrase "I hate my job" over and over again.

We've collectively been around the professional block many times. What's the most spectacular flameout you've seen?

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by oodaloop on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:40PM

    by oodaloop (1982) <{jkaminoff} {at} {zoho.com}> on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:40PM (#32637)

    Look at what he had to type all day!

    --
    Many Bothans died to bring you this comment.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:43PM (#32640)

    On what evidence did they fire him?
    I mean, it could just be that one day there was a judge that really didn't like his job!

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:49PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday April 17 2014, @01:49PM (#32645)

      Exactly. This is total BS. This guy is the court stenographer, so if he typed it, we have to assume it was said in court. Who are these other people to say his transcript isn't correct?

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by opinionated_science on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:01PM

        by opinionated_science (4031) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:01PM (#32649)

        and what's really sad is it is a *very* important job to record what is said in a court, for all parties.

        Perhaps this job should be like one on a car production pipeline, everyone does it one day a week...?

        Disclaimer: I know nothing about this working environment, this is a hypothetical....

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by Grishnakh on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:13PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:13PM (#32652)

          Perhaps this job should be like one on a car production pipeline, everyone does it one day a week...?

          The problem here is that it's a very non-trivial job. Can you type as fast as people talk? I can't. Now, not only do you have to learn to type fast, but with an entirely different keyboard, and using a totally different language (basically a type of shorthand). It takes a lot of training to be a steno, so there's not many people who enter the profession.

          Why they even bother any more in this age of cheap recording devices, I have no idea.

          • (Score: 1) by ButchDeLoria on Thursday April 17 2014, @04:03PM

            by ButchDeLoria (583) on Thursday April 17 2014, @04:03PM (#32719)

            Same reason law firms have to deliver and receive some legal documents with fax machines.

          • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:20PM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:20PM (#32775) Journal

            Why they even bother any more in this age of cheap recording devices, I have no idea.

            In most US courts there is a audio recording as well as the steno.
            But the audio recording can't be quickly "read back" when a lawyer requests it hearing what a previous witness said before lunch break. The tape will contain coughs and footsteps and all sorts of noise (sometimes covering the testimony), that the stenographer (usually seated close to the witness) isn't bothered by. The steno will indicate who said what, the tape often can't distinguish one voice from another, or a viewer's gallery remark.

            Stenographers have an un-spoken signal system with the Judge (quick turn of the head, tap of the earlobe) to prompt for in-ability to hear, and the judge will ask the speaker to speak up or repeat something. The tape on the other hand, can go for hours with a defective recording heads and nobody might notice it.

            Also the Steno software now days comes with computer aided software that allows the capability to quickly convert the shorthand to text, with a minimal amount of human intervention. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenotype [wikipedia.org]

            Only in some minor proceedings will you ever see Tape recordings as the only recording method, and even in those cases there is usually still a person (still called a stenographer) who is listening to a playback via a second set of tape heads to make sure the record is audible. This doesn't save much because it still has to be transcribed.

            There are also voice stenography technology [cjonline.com] coming into play in some places.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 2) by Maow on Thursday April 17 2014, @07:21PM

              by Maow (8) on Thursday April 17 2014, @07:21PM (#32800) Homepage

              Thanks - highly informative.

              I still think it might be worthwhile to have a pair of audio recordings, taken from different locations, as backups to the sometimes-fallible stenographer.

            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday April 18 2014, @12:45AM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday April 18 2014, @12:45AM (#32911)

              Very informative, but as the other responder said, it seems like they could do better. Our recording technology is pretty good these days and it should be possible to use multiple microphones and DSP processing to isolate what people say. Have mikes at the judge's desk, the witness stand, the defense and prosecution desks, etc., and it should be pretty easy to see who said what. With good software control, it should be possible to make an easy-to-use GUI that lets you select a mike, go back in time, and play what that mike heard (with other noises filtered out).

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by SecurityGuy on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:36PM

            by SecurityGuy (1453) on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:36PM (#32779)

            Even if they record, this stuff will have to be turned into text at some point, and there will still be a place for error or sabotage to happen. A related story:

            When one of my kids was born, he spent a decent bit of time in the hospital nursery. Some of the nurses were strangely cold. Seeming to giving me us dirty look now and again. At some point, I noticed two abbreviations on the label of my son's bassinet. One was EtOH. I forget the other. I worked in the medical field and knew what EtOH was. Ethanol. The kind of alcohol you drink. The other, I had to ask about. A was told, rather stiffly, that those were codes indicating the mother had abused alcohol and narcotics during the pregnancy. I was embarrassed, angry, and demanded they be taken off because it was completely false. They refused, claiming that's what the medical record said. That's what the DOCTOR said. I demanded they check again, and they did. What they found was a transcription error. The medical transcriptionist dropped one word: "No." It was enough to change "No history of alcohol and narcotic abuse." to "History of alcohol and narcotic abuse."

            They fixed the record and the label once they found the error, but it took them a day or two to find it.

            • (Score: 1) by Joe Desertrat on Friday April 18 2014, @01:45AM

              by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Friday April 18 2014, @01:45AM (#32923)

              Hopefully speech to text software will continue to improve and stories like yours can be avoided in the future.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Blackmoore on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:14PM

          by Blackmoore (57) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:14PM (#32655) Journal

          Just like an assembly line worker, people get stuck in jobs where they feel they do the same damn thing day after day.

          And you begin to hate it. and frequently you have no way out. Noone will hire you to do anything else. not even if you have background - as HR wants to keep you in the same damn job as last listed on your resume. and after enough time you start to hate yourself too. slack off on the job. start posting stuff on reddit, and soylent news. just going through the motions and waiting for death, or some kind of zombie outbreak.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by multisync on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:12PM

    by multisync (4002) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:12PM (#32651)

    makes Jack a dull boy

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:28PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:28PM (#32666) Homepage

      The worst I've seen actually happened last Friday, when an employee threatened to shoot up my department and wasn't joking. Spend the whole latter half of the day giving statements to HR (Yes, it's being handled, so don't cry "terrorism" to the Feds just yet).

      The backstory was that the guy liked to hop jobs every few years, and he'd been with us for a few years and decided it wasn't his thing, so he found another position -- however -- this time, his wife (who wears the pants in that family) didn't let him leave, and compounding that were financial problems and the difficulty of a first-generation immigrant assimilating into an alien culture. He had become paranoid, accusing people beforehand of moving and stealing his shit, and he had been yelling at bosses for no reason as well. In the 4 or so years he's been here, he's never taken more than 2 days of vacation at a time because his wife didn't like him sitting around at home.

      I wasn't here for the last time that happened at this company, when somebody who doctor-shopped and ate cocktails of prescription drugs threatened to shoot up the building while in a stupor. There was court and a restraining order and everything.

      At another company A disgruntled Florida salesman sent us an expensive piece of equipment packed in an oversized box and padded with nothing but...a couple shovelfuls of beach sand. We later found out that he was on his way out.

      And at yet another company, they hired this buzzword blowhard middle-manager who was supposed to turn the place into a "lean" manufacturing environment. All he did was sit around while everything under him crumbled and ground to a near-standstill, and the funniest part was that they let him walk around the building before firing him, he was shaking everybody's hand and actually saying, "Yeah, your bosses are stupid assholes, fuck this place, hey who wants to come work for me at my next job?"

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:38PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:38PM (#32670)

        he's never taken more than 2 days of vacation at a time because his wife didn't like him sitting around at home

        If his wife couldn't stand him, why did your company hired him?

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday April 17 2014, @03:32PM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday April 17 2014, @03:32PM (#32705) Homepage

          That's the thing about hiring, anybody can put on their game-face and interview well but turn out to be a big piece of shit on the floor. Or, worse, have buried murderous tendencies which could be brought to the surface anytime, as a result of any trigger personal or professional.

          Unfortunately, corporate interviewing is mostly automated screening for keywords and then HR, and then some simple testing and cursory questions that gives no real indication of a person's ability to have a good work ethic, think on their feet, or even solve "real-world" problems. Not every corporation is a Google or Microsoft.

          Military veterans are no different. We've recently been hiring a lot of them because of the tax-beaks and other benefits employers get, but similarly you had your nose-picking and crotch-scratching shitbags who cruised and spent 10 or 20 years doing jack shit, you had your outstanding hard-workers worth their weight in gold, and everything else in between. We're pretty good at getting rid of the shitbags during their probation period, but it might be harder elsewhere because the supervisor who signed the hiring papers may have his pride on the line.

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:02PM

          by Tork (3914) on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:02PM (#32765)
          "If his wife couldn't stand him, why did your company hired him?"

          Heh. What'd you expect him to say? "We ignored the advice of the prophets."
          --
          Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @07:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @07:01PM (#32786)

      No beer and no tv will make Homer something something

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @11:14PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17 2014, @11:14PM (#32887)

        Glad someone got the reference

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @03:46AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18 2014, @03:46AM (#32955)

          Its actually a reference from The Shining. Even better with this story since Jack writes a "book" thats simply "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" repeated over and over again for hundreds of pages.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20 2014, @06:48PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20 2014, @06:48PM (#33675)

            Um, yeah I know. And the person who replied to me did so with a Simpsons reference that was a reference to the Shining reference I made.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by M. Baranczak on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:13PM

    by M. Baranczak (1673) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:13PM (#32653)

    Keep in mind that the only source for this story is the NY Post. For all we know, it could be complete bullshit.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MrGuy on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:13PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:13PM (#32654)

    I get the desire to have a written transcript of what was said at a trial.

    However, I question whether the current system of relying on a small, largely unmonitored pool of stengraphers capturing that written record in real time is the right solution.

    There was a time when recording gear was sufficiently primitive where trained stengraphers were the only option available. That's far from true. Video and audio recording technology is really, really good these days. Have two systems for redundancy. You don't NEED real-time (other than for dramatic laywering "please re-read the question for the record," and you can do playback for that if you really want). If you need a written transcript, you can transcribe later (heck, have two people transcribe it and compare if you're paranoid about accuracy).

    Not willing to go that far? Fine. Just have video to back up the humans. It's reasonably cheap insurance for exactly this kind of issue.

    In this day and age, it's inexcusable for allowing one disgruntled human with no oversight the ability to sabotage the system.

    • (Score: 1) by SuddenOutbreak on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:23PM

      by SuddenOutbreak (3961) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:23PM (#32662)

      In this day and age, it's inexcusable for allowing one disgruntled human with no oversight the ability to sabotage the system.

      The court system still clings onto Latin; I think swapping in electronics is a stretch.

      One possible reason for live bodies; an independent witness in case things go funny. Tape recordings get "lost" all the time. Also: many trials are confidential or have confidential components. Video or audio recordings can all-too-easily end up widely distributed.

      • (Score: 2) by fishybell on Thursday April 17 2014, @05:02PM

        by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 17 2014, @05:02PM (#32738)

        I was in a court room, supporting a friend at his hearing, where when the judge walked in he told everyone that the recording equipment wasn't working that day and that anyone who cared could reschedule their hearing. None of the prosecutors or defendants' lawyers seemed to care all that much. Hearing after hearing after hearing went through before my friend's; no one ever voiced concern over the problem. Admittedly it was mostly hearings, but there were a couple of pleas and a at least one sentencing that I remember. Considering that typos [businessinsider.com] can land you in jail for years beyond what you were sentenced to I would sure want the recording equipment on.

  • (Score: 2) by dotdotdot on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:19PM

    by dotdotdot (858) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:19PM (#32659)
    Here are a few ... playable Mario game [farbs.org] ... graphic designer [behance.net] ... Star Wars crawl [youtube.com]
    • (Score: 2) by MrGuy on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:26PM

      by MrGuy (1007) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:26PM (#32664)

      Don't forget flight attendant [youtube.com].

    • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:39PM

      by JeanCroix (573) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:39PM (#32672)
      About fifteen years ago, I had a coworker who went on a two-week vacation. After four weeks, he still hadn't returned to work, and our employer was seriously considering reporting him as a missing person case to the authorities. But then word came back through the professional grapevine that he was alive and well, and had started his new job with a competitor about two weeks prior. He never gave notice or anything. I'm not sure how the specifics of the resignation/firing worked out after that...
  • (Score: 2) by metamonkey on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:40PM

    by metamonkey (3174) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:40PM (#32673)

    I have come to realize how fortunate I am to have the job I do. I do database programming for a not-for-profit hospital, so nobody's trying to squeeze me to death to "maximize shareholder value." The people are nice and friendly. My boss is great, I have an office instead of a cube and people leave me alone to do my work (or post on SN). The pay is good, the benefits are amazing. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for giving me a job I don't have to hate going to every day.

    --
    Okay 3, 2, 1, let's jam.
    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Thursday April 17 2014, @03:35PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday April 17 2014, @03:35PM (#32708)

      I've had similar improvements after going from for-profit businesses to an academic institution. There's some incompetent coworkers, of course, there's stupid budgeting procedures, but none of the craziness (involving switchblades and significant quantities of alcohol) that existed at some of the businesses I've worked for.

      It also helps that I'm paid hourly though - that means they're highly reluctant to have me put in overtime and weird night hours without a very good reason.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Friday April 18 2014, @08:20AM

        by evilviper (1760) on Friday April 18 2014, @08:20AM (#33003) Homepage Journal

        I've had similar improvements after going from for-profit businesses to an academic institution.

        I've had the opposite experience. At an institution, EVERY DECISION gets wrapped-up in heavy, strangling bureaucracy. Budgets get approved for all the wrong reasons, only if you're going to do the popular thing, and may suddenly disappear at any moment after approval. It's sort-of a lightweight version of government work, where the incompetent stay forever, nobody has real power to do anything, etc., etc.

        --
        Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 2) by randmcnatt on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:55PM

    by randmcnatt (671) on Thursday April 17 2014, @02:55PM (#32689)
    PACER [pacer.gov] has been making recordings [pacer.gov] of District Court proceedings available for several years for just $2.40 (£ 1.32). Many other courts are turning to recordings, too. Check with the appropriate clerk of court.
    --
    The Wright brothers were not the first to fly: they were the first to land.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by michealpwalls on Thursday April 17 2014, @03:19PM

    by michealpwalls (3920) on Thursday April 17 2014, @03:19PM (#32700) Homepage Journal

    After reading this, the only thing that came to my mind is:

    Why can't we replace this guy with a $20 microphone [radioshack.com] hooked up to $35 Arduino [arduino.cc] running the $5 BitVoicer [bitsophia.com] library?

    Could even find complete guides and tutorials [instructables.com] on how to put it together.

    At first I was going to suggest a little $8 Electret Microphone [sparkfun.com] for the Arduino, but I'm not sure if that will be sensitive enough to cover a court-room.. Unless you buy 6 of them and put them all over the room.. Eureka! :)

    • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Thursday April 17 2014, @05:01PM

      by egcagrac0 (2705) on Thursday April 17 2014, @05:01PM (#32737)

      In the courtrooms I've been in, the microphones are already in place.

      There's one for the judge, one for the witness, one for the jury fore, one for each party, one for the phone, one for the recorder (steno)...

      So basically, you just need to cover the area where a lawyer might walk around while questioning a witness, or where the bailiff might stand when swearing people in.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:01PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday April 17 2014, @06:01PM (#32764)

      It will be packaged in a shiny box by someone's brother, and sold for $50k per courtroom, with a $5k/room maintenance contract.