Niles Rivers wakes up at 7:30AM. He wipes the sand off his eyes and checks to see if he was bit by any scarabs in the night. Looking around, he realizes he was dreaming about Egypt again. He's in his comfortable bed at home in America.
Niles works at one of a handful of universities with an Egyptology department; most don't have one at all, and some simply lump it in with ancient history or classics.
As a non-field Egyptologist, he spends his days teaching, writing papers, and giving thrilling—he thinks anyway—lectures. Over his breakfast of eggs and toast, he goes over today's notes. They're fairly easy to understand.
As he gets to campus at 9:00AM, Niles says good morning to the security guard of the humanities department building. Naturally, since he's worked there so long, he has a relationship with most of the people in the building. Even better, Niles has tenure—with more than a decade of study, he's earned the position. And the job security.
After dealing with some emails and before his first class, Niles gives his old mentor a call at 10:30AM. Like many other Egyptologists, he got his job when his advisor retired.
Most of his classmates weren't so lucky, and are either teaching part-time, writing and presenting articles for academic journals, consulting with museums, or finding other careers. He knows what got him there, so it's always good to check up on the old man to see how he's doing from time to time.
Right on cue, he starts going into plot holes in Raiders of the Lost Ark again. He's fine.
At 11:00AM, he heads in to his first lecture. Niles's specialty is Egyptian philology, or the study of hieroglyphic language. Today, he spends class time with his graduate students discussing the descriptive techniques of the Middle Kingdom. Afterwards, Niles assigns an entire book for them to read by Thursday.
After lecture he has lunch in the cafeteria, then at 2:00PM starts polishing an article for next week's symposium on subject-verb agreement in Late Egyptian accounting dockets. Don't worry, he doesn't find it all that interesting either, but the knowledge will come in handy during the class on buying and selling bundles of grain on the Nile delta.
Around 4:00PM, he drops in to the research library to pick up a copy of the latest journal, so he can laugh at an ex-colleague's latest report about some inscriptions he's restoring in the tomb of Babs-hotep. Many archaeologists have taken less linguistic classes than their academic peers, so there will be long arguments about translations of texts on site.
The archaeologists will often be accused of "doing it wrong," and once the site is catalogued, the academics will put out a "better" translation of the site with all kinds of footnotes.
The rest of Niles's day is filled with university paperwork, planning the next faculty mixer, and more editing on that symposium article, after grading last night's papers and a short meeting with two dissertation candidates.
At 6:00PM, he finally turns off his office light. As he heads out the door he sees the ancient talisman one of his students brought him from a dig in Thebes. Apparently the talisman is supposed to bring good luck. Niles may study Egypt but he doesn't exactly believe in curses and superstition.
But as always he rubs it on the way out. You know, just in case.