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Typical Day

Ugh. (Source)

Jane Atoms is a nuclear engineer by day and avid science fiction reader by night. When she hears alarm bells, her first instinct is to start running—as though the nuclear plant she calls her job is about to melt down. Like this morning, she has to remind herself every morning that an alarm bell just means it's 6:30AM. Time to get out of bed.

She sits up and a book topples off of her. She fell asleep reading again.

After her usual routine of yoga and yogurt—not at the same time, obviously—Jane gets ready for work. She throws on a comfortable shirt and a pair of pants, all of which will be covered by her engineer's coat when she gets to work. 

She puts her hair up in a bun, which will get hidden under a protective white hat. Jane skips the jewelry; besides the fact that it'll be hidden (and therefore pointless), she'd prefer not to put anything on that could get her ears or fingers sliced off, thanks.

At 8:30AM, Jane says good morning to the security guard and drives into the plant's parking lot. On her way to the office, she says good morning to three more security guards. 

Besides the constant possibility of some terrible accident happening, there's also the slight possibility that something nefarious and premeditated could happen. Jane's thankful for the added protection (though if it comes down to it, she totally knows jiu-jitsu).

She checks in with her division manager at 9:00AM. They go over the reports from last night; it seems there was a small fluctuation in the coolant during the night. She'll have to check the calibrations later. Right now, it's her favorite part of the day—paperwork.

Just kidding. Jane hates paperwork, just like the rest of us.

After a morning spent turning turbines and rotating rotors (in addition to the paperwork), Jane breaks for lunch at 12:00PM. She sits down in the plant's break area to have a relaxing meal, when all of a sudden she hears the last sound any nuclear engineer wants to hear: an alarm in the nuclear reactor.

Jane drops her sandwich and runs. Now's not the time to worry about ham and cheese; if she doesn't get down to the control room as soon as possible, millions of people may be eating their final meals.

No really, I'm fine, how are you? (Source)

Getting downstairs, she discovers the problem: there appears to be an issue with the cooling apparatus. Cold seawater that enters the plant to prevent the reactor from getting too hot isn't getting where it's supposed to go, and the reactor is starting to overheat. Jane has literally minutes to figure out where the problem is and figure out a solution before things really start to get bad.

Eight minutes and a whole lot of engineering mumbo-jumbo later, the alarm is finally and mercifully turned off. Jane solved the problem, the reactor temperature is back to optimal levels, and all the seawater one could possibly want is going exactly where it needs to. Crisis averted, high-fives all around.

Jane could use some time away from the office, and thankfully at 3:00PM she gets it. Today she's offsite with members of local law enforcement to talk about nuclear safety and what to do in case of an emergency at the plant. The timing seriously couldn't be better. The officers are all very responsive (they listen more than the kids at her college lectures, anyway) and it seems like they know their stuff.

They probably would have done well had today's issues not been resolved, but they don't need to know that.

At 5:30PM, Jane heads out to a much-needed dinner with some of her friends. It's kind of a routine; she and her three closest friends have been getting dinner like this once a month for years. As usual, Sandra the event planner has an incredible story about her latest A-list wedding this past weekend. Jane enjoys the story with everyone else—there's no need to steal Sandra's thunder.

With the alarm reset for the morning—maybe this time she'll remember it's not a nuclear meltdown? Probably not—Jane curls up with her book in bed at 9:45PM. After the day's excitement, she needs something calming to take the edge off, and there's nothing better than a gritty space combat novel. She gets about ten pages further before she's out like a light.