Every once in a awhile I have a tendency to forget what it is I am supposed to be doing when I survey a piece of property. I tend to fall back on the measurements. Mainly because this is the easiest of the chores that make up this profession. I focus hard on the math of the system and over look obvious signs that I am headed down the wrong road. This became clear to me recently when I was approached by a colleague from the metro-phoenix area whom had taken on a survey in my neck of the woods. Long story short; he found monuments that I had missed. The monuments he found basically shifted the property I had surveyed about 10 feet; it was planar shift so no area was compromised. After looking at the evidence he presented me; it was clear that I had to amend my survey and explain it to my client. I guess at this point I need to explain that my client has been a family friend since I was a toddler. My father had surveyed for them for decades and had passed the torch to me. So my relationship with client wasn't exactly cut and dry. So first I verified what the other surveyor found and corrected my survey. then I took my client to the property and walked the boundary and explained where I had failed. I showed my client where my monuments were and where they were supposed to be. then as they watched I pulled the erroneous monument and placed the correct one. Of course I have to pay for some fence to move (that I gladly offered to pay for) and at first the was shocked. However when I explained that moving a fence was cheaper than a court battle that they would surely lose; they became appreciative of the fact that I had come forward instead of trying to hide it. That struck me as odd. Why would I hide such a thing? I believe my integrity is more valuable than a fence and the although my pride took a well deserved hit. I would rather be a "stand up" guy than a sneak. In a small town like this you cannot gamble with your reputation. Making things "right" is far more precious than the almighty dollar.
Having the respect of a community as local expert is priceless. My father once told me that the goal of every surveyor should be to gain the respect of his family first, peers second, and the community third. Although my pride took a hit; I believe I took at least a step in that direction. My client actually thinks better of the situation now than when they did before. Sometimes you learn more from being wrong than being right and although the ego may get bruised in the process the lesson becomes solidified. At this point, I would rather the people who live in my area; think highly of my work than be concerned about my fees. I am starting to get there and it feels fine. Having a honest reputation, a strong work ethic, a professional attitude, and recognition from the community is the true meaning of success in my book. My mentor drilled that into my head and to some extent some of it took. Or at least that is what i was told by my client. Who gave me hug and bought me lunch. That don't happen everyday; but when it does its nice.