Thumb drive? Email? Floppy whatzits? Cell phones? We had no such things when I started out. #2, #4 and #6 pencils, drafting tables with big sheets of paper and a so-called drafting machine with 45-90 and 30-60-90 triangles, French curves and that green snake for other curves. One learned how to think ahead because once you started a drawing you had better be able to finish it without starting all over on a different scale. Copies were either letter size from a crappy little copier or blueprint sized. Nearly everything was drawn on paper. A cemetery lot plan survey was one of the few times we attempted ink on linen. Some area determinations were made with a planimeter. Topos using plane table, alidade and stadia.
I feel like if you don’t value what you have worked on/the time you invested in it then it must not have meant much to you or you might not have given it your best effort. So in that instance you probably don’t keep it or don’t care to know how to locate it again down the road as you place very little value on it
But for many of you in this predicament where surveyors can go back to the courthouse to obtain copies or scans of the work rendered then I can see why keeping a hard copy or even digital records might not be your first priority (not sure I’d let go of field notes or my notes on local control though in case you pick up an adjacent project). For me there’s nothing more valuable than the raw field data, various calculations, preliminary sketches, the CAD files, the permit applications, the PDF’s of the approved plans/maps & all submittals made as well as the other pertinent data related to a project’s completion. There’s very, very few projects that I ever worked on that I considered insignificant enough that I wouldn’t want record of what I did on the project.
I’m fairly young at 31 but sadly it’s tough to remember what I did or ate yesterday - much less a couple years ago or more. My time dedicated to land development projects (anywhere from months to say half a year or more total time depending on project size) means a lot to me. If I was able to either learn a better way of how to do something from another person or make a break through in my own career on how to do something, then I owe it to myself, my bottom line & my future clients to be able to effectively/accurately remember how to do something & in a more expeditious & economical manner. Dan Beardslee’s book points out the story about how you as a professional should be charging for experience & liability rather than just the time/effort spent. My career portfolio in my mind is directly tied to that experience/liability & as others have pointed out its justification to your client the ability you possess whether they ever care to see it or not.