What do these four men have in common?
# 1 An Australian, educated in Tasmania, recently living in Cambodia, now in Europe, playing in a Phnom Penh-based rock band called The Cambodian Space Project, writing poetry and novellas (age 44).
# 2 A Scot living in Poland, a CELTA-qualified teacher of English as a foreign language, who has also been a self-employed motor trader and warehouse worker in the Netherlands and plays the guitar and bass (age 34).
# 3 An American living in Mexico, teaching business and English, previously a story writer for a daily newspaper in the Eastern United States with beats that included business, higher education, tourism, crime, and outdoor (age 29).
# 4 An Englishman, living in Sunbury-on-Thames, working as a leading magazine sub-editor with expertise in proofreading and layout, working extensively with European and South American journalists, and playing guitar in a rock band when he isn’t cycling or playing tennis (age 44).
The answer: character
Well, perhaps we should ask a slightly different question in order to clarify what we are trying to say:
Do you remember A Few Good Men, a Rob Reiner movie stacked with stars like Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon and Keifer Sutherland?
A Few Good Men is a memorable movie about developing and sustaining remarkable integrity and character – honour, boldness, responsibility, respect — a movie worth seeing twice if you’ve only seen it once!
Scott Bywater (“Scoddy”), Tom Burchick, Josh Boatwright, and Jon Dolan are undoubtedly A FEW GOOD MEN of Way With Words Transcription
Let’s hear what they say about themselves in terms of their character and their transcribing:
# 1 Scott Bywater:
Boldness. Well, I’ll never die wondering, it seems. I’ve tried many things, including running my own businesses in Tasmania, working at big ugly corporates on mainland Australia, freelancing wherever, studying art history and law, writing books and songs, living in Cambodia… my latest bold move has been to relocate myself to Europe, where I can use the wonderful flexibility of online transcription work to fund travel and more guitar playing in exotic places. At present I am autumning boldly in the south of France, where long rolling Mediterranean thunder leaks through my headphones and trying to toss-up between Barcelona and Rome for Christmas. Outside they all speak French, but inside I transcribe English from all over the world.
Responsibility. I spent much of my 20s and 30s being responsible and domestic, making sure income was flowing and stepchildren were taken care of. Now my responsibility is fairly limited, mostly to meeting transcription deadlines, getting up in the morning, and to upholding personal creative values. Not too shabby.
# 2 Tom Burchick:
Responsibility. I try not to bite off more than I can chew but if I commit to do something, I make every effort to get it done on time and do it properly. It can give a sense of achievement to meet nearly all the deadlines wherever possible. Even finally getting my income tax together brings a certain grim satisfaction!
Boldness. I wouldn’t be in this line of work if it hadn’t been for boldness, even though it was sort of accidental. I’d gambled on finding teaching work in Poland two years ago but that didn’t happen. So I fearlessly decided to rely on my keyboard skills, such as they were at the time, got accepted for
training by Way With Words and without even the aid of a wrist rest (definitely not recommended) or safety net, soon found myself transcribing a Jerry Springer show. I’ve never looked back since.
# 3 Josh Boatwright:
Responsibility. This is one of those ideas that changes through different phases of life. When I was a boy, it only seemed to relate to finishing homework on time or doing chores. And indeed, now that I am a professional transcriber, it still means ensuring that I get my work done on time and that the finished product is high quality. But being responsible used to mean just doing what I was told; now it means making good decisions in both work and family life and knowing that those decisions are mine alone. So, I’m responsible for making good choices about where I live, what I do with my time, and whether or not a colon or semicolon is appropriate in this or that sentence in my transcripts; my managers know their grammar, but it’s my responsibility to make my own sound grammatical decisions.
Character. A difficult thing to define. For me, it’s not just about making the most obvious right choice, but taking the time to really think decisions through. It’s also about making choices that are good for people beyond me. I try to demonstrate good character in my work by taking on jobs that can be challenging. On the flip side, I try to be wise about not pretending I can do more than I can, so I can be certain that what I do is my best work. Character is about making the extra effort to try to discern words in a transcript that I don’t immediately understand, but also having the honesty to say I don’t know what’s been said if I don’t.
# 4 Jon Dolan:
Character. I’d say my characteristics are diligence, patience, attention to detail, seeing a job through to the end no matter how long it takes, and being very tenacious. Being an excellent transcriber, I would say, needs attention to detail above all else, and I have that.
Boldness. Well I can sometimes be blunt with people, but it also is a positive thing, having a belief or drive and then making sure you follow that conviction through. Boldness helps in transcribing confidently.
We are proud to have A Few Of Our Own Good Men transcribing for Way With Words Transcription, men of character–boldness and responsibility and honour and respect—adventurous men who are so different from one another in so many ways, and yet so alike with their commitment to transcription excellence. Good men we are proud to have with us.