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Typical Day

Sam Stakemaster slurps his morning coffee, spilling the dark brown liquid down his freshly washed, tan shirt. "Oh well," Sam thinks, "it's cold out so I'll be wearing a couple more layers, anyway. Nobody will notice." Sam turns his attention to his dinged-up tablet, which contains the day's survey projects and punch list.

First on the list: a slope survey after last night's torrential downpours. "That can't be good," Sam thinks. After that, he's got a slew of office work and a trip to another job site to resolve some discrepancies. Sam gobbles the rest of his breakfast, throws his plate and coffee cup in the sink, and heads out the door. "Warming up the truck was a good idea," Sam thinks. Working outside in near-freezing weather is not something he especially enjoys.

Sam arrives at the job site after a slog through puddles and standing water on the city's streets. Just as he thought: The slope is a muddy mess worthy of a low-budget reality show. Unfortunately, he and his survey tech have to find a way to climb the hill, with their survey equipment, so they can get the measurements they need. The result isn't pretty, with both men splashed in smelly brown mud, and drenched from the persistent morning showers. However, they finally get their data without losing their survey equipment. Best of all, they only wipe out once, sliding partially down the hill until they snag a shrub that stops them.

Sam decides that's enough punishment for the morning, and announces an early lunch break so the men can change their clothes and warm up. He springs for lunch at a local diner with hot, stick-to-the-ribs food and dirt-cheap prices. This popular eatery attracts a large crowd of construction workers, landscaping workers, and other poor saps stuck out in the cold on a day like this. After everyone has cleaned their plates, Sam drops the guys off at the morning's job site and heads downtown to his office.

After spending a few minutes responding to emails, Sam logs into the survey database for some intensive research. He hates researching past survey records after lunch, as it puts him to sleep inside of 10 minutes. Pages and pages of plats, some of which are so faded they barely scanned at all.... "This is interminable," Sam thinks. And that's not the worst part. Because the county mapping office has fallen way behind in their scanning work, he'll have to sift through hundreds of pages of survey records that haven't made it to the computer yet. "The mapping office's old wooden chairs sure won't do my keester any favors," Sam thinks. Not today, though. Sam has a 1:30 meeting with his company's survey and planning manager.

The meeting doesn't go especially well, at least not for Sam. He listens as Chuck leans back in his chair and rattles off a list of new survey projects the company has scheduled for the next few months. John, the firm's owner, is happier than a tomcat in an endless field of catnip, at least according to Chuck. Chuck is a bit less excited, since he knows the company won't hire any additional surveyors or survey techs to handle this increased workload. Because John is very uncertain about the economic climate in general, and specifically about the construction industry's future, he doesn't want to put any more employees on the books right now. That means the firm's existing employees, including Sam, will have to work overtime hours until the jobs are finished. "There go this semester's welding and woodworking classes," Sam thinks as he shakes his head.

Sam finishes his less-than-uplifting meeting with Chuck. Sam checks his email one more time, and then hops into his truck to head to another job site across town. He's gotten some questionable data from the survey techs, data that doesn't seem to fit with the other reports Sam has on the location. Arriving at the job site, Sam notices that the techs are glancing at each other with panicked looks on their faces.

After Sam takes a few measurements and compares them with the techs' results, the source of their panic is clear: They've been fudging the numbers so they could get their surveys finished and head to the sports bar. Clearly this is not acceptable behavior. Sam reads them the riot act, adds some disciplinary actions for good measure, and states that they will be fired if they do it again. Hopefully that will get through to them, he thinks as he prepares to redo the measurements himself.

Finally, Sam wraps ups his measurements and heads back to his office. At 5pm, Sam's day is still not over. He spends a couple more hours researching survey records for several current land transactions. As boring as this research is during the day, it's 10 times worse at night. Sam fights to stay awake as he transfers the land records to his tablet for tomorrow's survey work. He wraps up his day around 8pm, treats himself to a nice Italian dinner at the restaurant across the street, and finally hits the sack around 10. His alarm is set for 5 in the morning, and it's only Tuesday.